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I'm learning a song on piano (the "Dungeon Theme" from The Legend of Zelda) and I'm having trouble with one particular section because I'm having trouble moving my fingers fast enough to play the passage, and the placement of the keys means I can't just keep my fingers on the keys, because I can't reach all the notes at the same time.

The way I am currently playing the passage is to have my thumb on the F♭, my index finger on the G, then move my hand slightly so I can play the D with my ring finger and the E♭ with my pinky. However, this is very awkward and I am wondering if there is a better way to play this passage. I am pretty new to playing piano so I don't know much about proper technique when it comes to which fingers play which keys or things like that.

In short: What would be the best way to play this passage? What fingers should I use to play each note in order to play it quickly?

Here is the passage in question. The part I am having trouble with is circled in red.

The passage in question

  • You're fingering it correctly. Maybe you are keeping your wrist too rigid. You need to rotate it as you play. – Old Brixtonian May 4 at 1:29
  • I've 'fingered it correctly' and still can't reach! Without seeing the l.h. and hoping the Fb could be played with l.h.thumb, there's no way I can play this. – Tim May 4 at 7:51
  • @Tim I added a new image that includes the left hand part, if that helps – mprogrammer May 4 at 18:21
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Yes, this is a relatively awkward passage to play. If you try things out with the right hand, it seems the only valid options are 1-2-4-5 or 2-1-4-5 (and possibly 2-1-3-5 or 2-1-3-4). You could also use your left hand thumb to play the F♭.

If you can do 1-2-4-5, but just barely, then the awkwardness is probably in going from your index finger to ring finger, since that is quite a stretch. The idea here is then to rotate/move your wrist (this might be easier said than done). Not necessarily in an exaggerated, huge way, but just such that it helps you make the stretch and so that your hand isn’t rigid. If you’re interested, you might want to watch some videos on wrist movement (and/or ask your teacher, if you have one).

If you choose to do 2-1-4-5, it will require turning over from index to thumb to ring, and also there is quite a leap from pinky to index when repeating the four-note sequence. This will require some dexterity and is also not so easy, especially if the piece is fast-paced.

Using your left hand thumb to play the F♭ might be easiest, but some might disagree with this approach. In particular, it can be hard to make the passage sound smooth/equal because you’re using two hands (and also because the thumb is usually a lot easier to play louder than the other fingers). So, I would say that while this approach might be technically convenient, it could make the musicality/musical interpretation harder, but not everyone cares so much about that especially if they “just want to play the piece”.

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I think you should use 5,4,2, and 1. (Pinky, ring finger, pointer finger, and thumb.)

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  • Only if s/he is using his left hand! – Old Brixtonian May 4 at 1:30
  • But not necessarily in that order! – Tim May 4 at 7:25
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    Hi A.Nonny.Mouse - can you provide a bit more info please. As commented, it appears you are using your left hand, which could make the stretch from the G to the D simpler, but as Tim pointed out, without seeing the left hand on the notation, we can't be sure that this is possible. The OP is using their right hand, which seems more logical but is a stretch – Doktor Mayhem May 4 at 12:36

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