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As I said, it's a well-known principle of piano fingering.

Ah, you must be using "well-known" in the sense of "completely unknown". I've noticed that sense is unusually common on USENET. Hopefully the dictionaries will catch up soon.

I also use this as a rule of thumb (hah!). If I'm learning a piece, and I find I'm using my thumb on a black key, I'll look for a better alternative fingering. Sometimes there isn't one, but usually there is, and when there is, it's well, better. And alternative.

Not a black-and-white rule (hah!), but worth bearing in mind.

The two work together - you can phrase more fluidly if you're fingering comfortably. The thumb on a black key is usually, but by no means always, an indication that you could be more comfortable with a different fingering.

John H
Yorkshire, England
Yes, but its symbol is +, whereas the other fingers ... '1' (which is the left index finger for guitar players).

And in blues guitar, the left thumb is a finger. (Bad technique in classical, of course.)

I'm not a guitar player, but I'd understood that the left thumb was often used for classical pieces, particularly Spanish ones.

Spanish classical pieces, that is, not necessarily Spanish left thumbs.

John H
Yorkshire, England
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I also use this as a rule of thumb (hah!). If I'm learning a piece, and I find I'm using ... better alternative fingering. Sometimes there isn't one, but usually there is, and when there is, it's well, better. And alternative.

The difference between what you're saying and what Areff is saying is significant, to me. He says, "the rule is that you should avoid putting the thumb on a black key"; you're saying "thumbs on the black keys are uncomfortable, and the rule is that you should be comfortable."
It all depends on what you're playing and even more importantly, what you're playing next. Phrasing is key; fingering derives from that.

The two work together - you can phrase more fluidly if you're fingering comfortably. The thumb on a black key is usually, but by no means always, an indication that you could be more comfortable with a different fingering.

Right, but that's different than saying, 'avoid the thumb on the black keys'; at least, to me it is.
-=Eric, possibly in the silent minority on this one
Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and Usenet is NOTHING like Shakespeare. Blair Houghton.
If you ever publish these lists you make, Donna, I'll ... assume already has one I came across again yesterday: "miniseries").

Did it refer to biopic miniseries?

It should do. We sufferers of biopic miniseries need all the help we can get.

John H
Yorkshire, England
"Fingering" for the piano inevitably includes thumbs, but when I ... finger. Nowadays the symbols are 1-2-3-4-5 starting with the thumb.

When was that? It was 1-5 when I started taking piano some 35 years ago, and I'm pretty sure it was 1-5 on the music my dad learned on when *he* was a kid. I don't think I've ever seen "+" and 1-4.

I have some very old piano sheet music in my possession containing fingering markings, and it uses '1' for the thumb. This is stuff from the 1920s or earlier.
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the

I wonder who should "avoid" the black keys for thumbs, and now pinkies. The performers or the composers?
I think, according to Arref's ban on black keys, the composers should be considerate of the performers' efforts and not subject them to stenuous gymnastics on the keyboard.
Take the easiest example, the very beginning of the Moonlight Sonata: can you imagine using both index fingers instead of thumbs for the first notes? For the left hand it would be almost impossible. Beethoven, himself a pianist, should have known that and be kind enough to either compose the sonata in a different key, or a different tune altogether to avoid the thumbs and pinkies touching the black keys.
I also use this as a rule of thumb (hah!). ... is, and when there is, it's well, better. And alternative.

The difference between what you're saying and what Areff is saying is significant, to me. He says, "the rule is ... black key"; you're saying "thumbs on the black keys are uncomfortable, and the rule is that you should be comfortable."

I don't see where he said anything about comfort, but maybe I missed it. I have tried to make clear that this is not some black-letter law type of rule, but an important guideline or principle. I don't know to what extent it is, in practice, deviated from but it's sort of a starting point when you're trying to work out a good fingering for something.

I think part of it, too, is that the naive approach is often to start off right away with a fingering that involves the thumb on a black key, because, I think, we like to give the thumb pride of place or whatever. So the "avoid the thumb on the black keys" principle acts as a corrective.
There are plenty of idioms and sayings that include the word "thumb". From the top of my mind: "green thumb", i.e. a passion for gardening.

Strangely, I've only ever heard "green fingers" for that, and it's not so much a passion as a talent for gardening.
"She grows cactuses around her pond - she must have green fingers".
John H
Yorkshire, England
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I think part of it, too, is that the naive approach is often to start off right away with a fingering that involves the thumb on a black key, because, I think, we like to give the thumb pride of place or whatever.

I've never noticed that at all, but I tend to fall in the second or third deviation on most things, so that's perhaps not too surprising.
So the "avoid the thumb on the black keys" principle acts as a corrective.

I can't say I've ever noticed that it needed correcting, but okay.

-=Eric

Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and Usenet is NOTHING like Shakespeare. Blair Houghton.
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