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  • Adam Hope

Essay on keyboard fingering

Updated: Jan 31, 2021


An excellent essay on the history, technique and aesthetic principles of keyboard fingering techniques since the Baroque.

"Keyboard Fingering and Interpretation: a Comparison of Historical and Modern Approaches" by Jeffrey Swinkin.


Here is an interesting extract from the article, which reveals some of Chopin's idiosyncratic practices in finger and keyboard technique:

Some of Chopin’s preferred fingering techniques

1. Using the thumb on a black key

2. Changing fingers silently on a single note

3. Crossing the thumb under the pinkie

4. Sliding or repeating one finger across multiple keys

5. Crossing 3, 4, and 5 over each other instead of crossing with the thumb

6. Repeating a finger on the same note


Just goes to show... if the way that you produce the desired music interpretation, it doesn't matter how you get there! Learn the rules, for sure: but don't be afraid to break them when you need to.


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