Logo for Piano Play It

Piano Fingerings

Home » Piano Technique » Fingerings

Earlier in our piano lessons we've learned about the basic C position.
First, we placed only the right hand on the piano and then we added the left hand.

Mind the Gap - Streching Fingers

When we're playing in fixed hand positions we assume that a piece is made out of five notes in each hand. The each finger remains fixed on a specific key through the whole song.

It's a different story however if a melody is combined of more then these five notes.
Let's take Twinkle Twinkle little star for example.

Streching finges in Twinkle, twinkle little star.

In this piece we have to reach the A note quite in the beginning. If we were to stick to playing G with the fifth finger we wouldn't be able to play the A note since we'd be out of fingers.

Therefore we actually have to plan our piano fingering a bit in advanced. By replacing the fifth finger with the fourth finger on the G note we can over come this problem.
We call the this piano fingering stretch.

When the melody is going down from G to F we can simply continue to descend until we reach D with the first finger. What can we do then?

Two options are possible; again planning in advanced might help here.
After landing on the fourth finger when G is played in the long note we can lift our finger and replace the fourth finger on F again.
Then we'll have fourth finger to finish the descending line going to middle C.
By doing that we basically change the hand position at the end of a musical phrase.

Changing the hand position at the end of a musical line in Twinkle Twinkle.

Another option is to reach D with the first finger and then to perform a cross over.
We'll speak about that in a moment but first here are a few exercises that will help you to practice different gaps.

Performing a cross over in Twinkle Twinkle.

As you proceed with your study you'll get there automatically; but remember that anticipation is essential in improving in this field. Try to read a few notes further when you play. Have a look at a piece before and explore its piano fingerings to save some troubles in advanced.

These next few exercises deal with strectching fingers. I believe you'll find them very usefull in bringing that technique all together in your system.

The ExercisePdf FileMp3 File
1. Fingers Stretch Download
2. Fingers StretchDownload
3. Fingers Stretch Download
4. Fingers Stretch Download
5. Fingers Stretch Download


An arpeggio is a broken chord in which the individual notes are sounded one after the other instead of simultaneously.

When you play an arpeggio you basically have to play a few piano fingerings stretch at once. It takes an advanced planning in order to perform the optimal piano fingering.
If we take a C major chord in its root position but we'll add the root on top as well we'll have to perform some changes in our hand position.

So if usually the third finger played the E note in the C position now the second finger will play it to allow the G note to be played on the third note.
Why? Since we have to leave free fingers for the jump from G to the upper C played by the fifth finger.

Piano Fingerings stretch in Arpeggios.

Switching Hand Positions

From a certain level, we will play pieces that demand a change in our hand position. There are three ways to switch between hand positions. The first one is by jumping to the next hand position.
The second way is by replacing the piano fingerings when a note repeats and the last one is by the cross over or cross under.


In this beautiful piece by Bach called Menuet we have to switch the hand position from the G position to C position in the third bar. The second bar ending in staccato allows us to lift our hand from the keyboard and replace it on the E note in the beginning of the next bar in a musical and elegant way.

Jumping to a different hand position in menuet by Bach.

In this next Sonatina by Diabelli we have to switch hand positions in from bar six to bar seven through a jump as well. The jump is performed again by lifting the hand and falling to the next chord which gives the chord more emphasis through the weight being activated on the key.

Jumping to a different hand position in a sonatina by Diabelli

Changing Piano Fingering on Repeating Notes

Check out the sonatina by Diablli again. Notice that in bar three the C note repeats. That's a great oppurtunity to replace the piano fingering from the 3rd finger to the 1st finger. That will allow us to have more finger (four instead of two) as we move in the ascending line to E.

Cross Over

Crossing 2 over 1

This is an important trick that makes it easy to play 6 notes with 5 fingers and to switch a hand position without lifting your hand.

When the second finger cross over the first finger the wrist should be kept high, and straight and the twisting of the hand should be avoided in the cross over.

A crossing 2 over 1 piano exercise.

Here's an example of a piece with a cross over in the Pathetique Symphony by Tchaikovsky.

Crossing 2 over 1 in the pathetique symphony by Tchaikovsky.
The ExercisePdf FileMp3 File
1. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise 1Download
2. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise 2Download
3. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise 3 Download
4. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise 4 Download
5. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise - London Bridge Download
6. Crossing 2 over 1 exercise - Boogie Download

Playing scales and scale like phrases - cross 3 over 1

Performing a descending scale with crossing 3 over 1.

Let's take the C major scale and play it in an descending manner.
We start with the fifth finger on the upper C, and then we descend until we reach the F note with the first finger, then what?

In order to move to the E note we can simply cross over the third finger above the thumb while keeping the wrist high and straight.

What we actually did was moving from the F position to a C position.

Performing an ascending scale with crossing 3 over 1 in the left hand.

We can do the same by playing an ascending scale in the left hand.

Crossing 3 over 1 in The Evening Star by Richard Wagner. Here's an example of a piece perform with the cross 3 over 1.

Passing 1 under 2

Passing 1 under 2 in the 4th Invention by Bach.

In this next invention by Bach we had to find an original way to overcome the problem of playing a six notes pattern with only five fingers.

There we start with the second finger and on the next note we pass the first under it which gives us an extra finger that will allow us to complete this musical phrase.

That's a common piano fingering. Here again, planning in advanced is the key to success.

In bar four a passing of the thumb under the second finger is performed in the imitation in the left hand.

Passing 1 under 3

By passing 1 under 3, we can play 8 notes with 5 fingers.
This makes it possible to play a complete scale with hand, ascending and descending.
Passing 1 under 2 in the 4th Invention by Bach.

Here's an example of how we could use the passing 1 under 3 in heavenly Aide by Guiseppe Verdi. In this piece we basically switch the hand position for D position to G position.

An Image of me (David Yzhaki) Recommending the Rocket Piano Ultimate Learning Kit. Many students told me that they would like to improve their fingering dexterity and their piano fingering technique. Hear and Play made this handy Finger Exercises Course that will help you to improve with it. It is based on playing some great technique exercises made by Hanon, (Who wrote the most effective book that deals with piano fingering technique) and all it takes is 15 minutes a day. Click here to buy the Finger Exercises Course Now!

How To Play Piano by Chords

The Piano By Chords Piano Learning Kit


The Ultimate Piano by Chords Learning Kit
Check It Out Now!

Piano Play It on Facebook

Piano Play It Twitter Page

Piano Play It on Instagram

Piano Play It on Tumblr

Piano Play It on Pinterest

Piano Play It on Linkedin

"Your entire site is simply fantastic. I really loved it. Now I am learning the basics of piano by myself, with your really great help. Thank you very much!"

Jaime C. from Brazil

"I only started to play about six weeks ago but the last hour of watching your videos about chord progressions has been something of a revelation. You're brilliant!!!!"

Stephen Roberts from U.S.A

"I'm a beginning keyboard player and your video's are an excellent guide. You're absolute not in a hurry, and take time to explain. I'm sure I'll follow all your lessons to get the hang of playing the piano/keyboard!"

Wouter E. from the Netherlands

"Thanks for all your work ( tuto and others ). You're doing a really great job, You're the best internet teacher I know."

Anthony Hassen Cohen from France

[?] Subscribe To
This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Newsgator
Subscribe with Bloglines

Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?