broken chord example

The left hand should be played two octaves lower, or at any octave that feels comfortable.

It is very important that the student learns to use the 4th finger where marked, for the following reasons:

It is easier for the hand to remember the chord shapes, when playing at speed, if it has become a habit to finger a third with 4-5 and a fourth with 3-5.

Broken chord fingerings are the basis for all arpeggios, or inversions of them, which start on white notes (and, of course, those which have no white notes). In faster playing the comfort of the hand in the basic chord position is more important than a fingering which makes it easier to pass the thumb under (e.g. it feels easier to pass the thumb under the 3rd finger than under the 4th, but the fingering 123 for, say, the second inversion of C Major in the right hand, would put the hand in a less comfortable position than the fingering 124 when playing at speed). In any case the thumb movement becomes ever smaller as the speed of the arpeggio increases — to the point where it is no longer relevant.

Directional fingering is very helpful in faster playing. If a root position C Major broken chord (or arpeggio) is fingered for the left hand with 5321, the 3rd finger is forced to play at an angle to the keyboard which makes the horizontal movement of the arm along the keyboard actually pull it away from the key as the E is being played. If the 5421 fingering is used instead, the angle of the hand at the wrist can be arranged so that the finger is pushed into the key, which is mechanically highly advantageous.

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