Guide to Learning Piano:
Arpeggio Fingering Chart
Robert T. Kelley
Note: The following chart contains the standard accepted arpeggio fingerings. It is important to remember, though, that not all hands are created the same size or with the same flexibility. You may find substituting 3 for 4 or vice versa much more comfortable given certain circumstances. For competitions, however, revert to the accepted fingerings.
- General Fingering Rules
- The fingering pattern repeats every three notes, so that every octave has the same fingering.
- The thumb always stays on the white keys, except when there are no white keys (F# major and D#/Eb minor).
- The fifth finger is only used at a starting place, a stopping place, or a turning-around place.
- The fourth and third finger are often interchangeable in the patterns. Use whatever is most appropriate given the individual circumstances in the literature. The fingerings given below represent the "official" accepted uses of fourth and third fingers.
- In the literature, it may be appropriate to put the thumb on a black key for the sake of execution, but crossing to the thumb on a black key from a white key (or from the thumb on a black key to a white key) should be avoided whenever possible.
- When practicing arpeggios, don't worry about maintaining a legato touch. Occasionally in the literature arpeggios have to be played with a smooth legato, but repeatedly passing the thumb such extreme distances can lead to injuries.
- Try to avoid a accenting every three notes. Because it is natural and easy to play arpeggios in threes, but not in fours, one's focus should be on getting a convincing four-to-a-beat arpeggio sound (sixteenth-notes). (Arps can also be practiced in fives.)
- The Fingerings
- These are just the fingering patterns: Feel free to use 5 when appropriate (first note, last note, turning around).
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