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What do you think about fingering of diminished scale on piano RH, C Db Eb... 1231 2134? In one forum I read that standard is 123 13 123. But didn't see "my" fingering anywhere. What do you think about that? Does my fingering have any drawbacks?

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  • You mean the C diminished scale: C-Db-D#-E-F#-G-A-Bb? I would also go with the standard 12313123. Your fingering does not have much consistency with the intervals, sometimes you use consecutive fingers for "large" key steps (1-2 for E-F#) and sometimes non-consecutive fingers for short steps (1-3 for G-A). Finally you end with a 4 on the Bb which is a bit awkward to continue with 1 on the next octave. But at the end if that works for you it is fine.
    – hirschme
    May 20 '20 at 21:22
  • One reason the half-diminished scale is so popular is because of its relative easy fingering. I use them all the time, and sometimes I use finger 3 on F#, sometimes 2. It depends on what you'd like to play after the scale. Now, the altered dominant scale is a different story altogether, because that requires careful fingering to get it flowing... Jul 10 '20 at 15:23
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The short answer

Your fingering is fine as long as it's comfortable for you and allows you to accomplish your musical goals.

The longer answer (Note that @hirschme's comment on your question sums this up quite nicely.)

Ultimately, fingering depends on context. But for the purpose of running scales, your fingering (versus the standard fingering you also presented) has two problematic segments for my hand, primarily affecting execution speed.

  • The 3 - 1 - 2 - 1 on Eb - E - F# - G requires my hand to travel a bit further than 3 - 1 - 3 - 1.

Hand positioned for Db - Eb - E Hand positioned for E - F#
Notice finger 2 travels all the way from Db to F#, and my thumb is no longer tucked, thus needing to travel further, in relation to the rest of my hand, to its next note.

versus

Hand positioned for Db - Eb - E enter image description here
Here finger 2 travels only from Db to Eb, finger 3 is naturally in position for F#, and my thumb remains partially tucked, making for an easier transition to it's next note.

  • 2(or 3) - 1 - 3 - 4 on G - A - Bb has two disadvantages for me.
    First, I find the finger position awkward and harder to be accurate with the A.

enter image description here
finger 3 in a narrow space.

enter image description here
finger 3 curled, finger 4 extended (ouch)

enter image description here
Just right (for my hand)

Second, were I continuing up the scale, I find the 4 - 1 transition from Bb - C is less comfortable and more error prone than 3 - 1.

I do find an advantage to your fingering, as long as I'm only playing up to Bb. The 2134 segment, once comfortable, allows for faster execution than does 3123.

The long answer

In addition to the above, there's an issue when playing the scale with two hands. Finger 4 really doesn't fit well into the left-hand scale. Having an "extra" finger to keep track of in the right hand makes playing a hands-together scale less intuitive.

Further...

There are three distinct diminished scales W = Whole-step; H = Half-step:
C(H/W) = C - Db - Eb - E - F# - G - A - Bb
C(W/H) = C - D - Eb - F - F# - G# - A - B
C#(H/W) = C# - D - E - F - G - G# - A# - B
All of the other diminished scales are permutations of these three.

Consequently, there need only be three fingerings, one for each diminished scale, with permutations of that fingering being used for the corresponding scales.

C(H/W) = 123 13 123 provides an easy-to-remember pattern.
C(W/H) = 123 123 13 also provides ... a permutation of the C(H/W) fingering.
C#(H/W) = B(W/H) = 13 123 123 wait a minute...!

Your proposed fingering is also portable, but not as intuitive: two unique segments of three fingers vs. three unique segments of four fingers.

C(H/W) = 123 12 134
C(W/H) = 134 123 12
B(W/H) = 12 134 123

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