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I wonder who should "avoid" the black keys for thumbs, and now pinkies. The performers or the composers?

Why are you even bringing the composers into this? Composers rarely specify fingerings. Fingerings in general aren't part of the music, and it will be rare for there to be only one possible fingering for a particular phrase or whatever (even for a particular set of hands). It's common for editions of classical piano music to have dead wrong fingerings provided by some well-intentioned hack editor, but every pianist knows that these suggestions should be completely ignored.
I think, according to Arref's ban on black keys, the composers should be considerate of the performers' efforts and not ... very beginning of the Moonlight Sonata: can you imagine using both index fingers instead of thumbs for the first notes?

I can, but I have relatively large hands. Not that using the thumbs isn't the better approach there.
Some conventional piano music is impossible for people with sufficiently small hands to play. There are some people who can't play octaves, say, which feature a lot in prewar classical music. Octaves are a case where it would be difficult to avoid using the thumb on a black key, BTW.
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.

Are you sure you aren't the Steve Hayes of the piano?
I don't pay any attention to fingering. The rule of thumb is:

Practice, practice, practice.
After years of practice the thumb will fall easily on any key. Anyway, the thumb, and even the pinky, are both stronger than no.4.
Not a black-and-white rule (hah!), but worth bearing in mind.

Instead of burdening your mind with cosmetic "rules" like how to influence people and win friends, better start reading lots of piano scores. It will improve your 'prima vista', broaden your horizons, and in the process you'll gain fluency on the keyboard. Once you're fluent, all those 'rules' are useless.
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I don't pay any attention to fingering.

You should - it makes a big difference. Don't you think about, for example, the crossing-over, and how it might best set your other fingers up for subsequent notes?
The rule of thumb is: Practice, practice, practice.

Yes, I knew that at the age of seven. I'm 43 now, and I still know it.
After years of practice the thumb will fall easily on any key. Anyway, the thumb, and even the pinky, are both stronger than no.4.

It's not a case of strength. It's a case of control. We're talking about playing the piano, not bloody weight-lifting.
Instead of burdening your mind with cosmetic "rules" like how to influence people and win friends, better start reading lots ... your horizons, and in the process you'll gain fluency on the keyboard. Once you're fluent, all those 'rules' are useless.

I was more than a little annoyed by the patronising tone of your post, hence the arch ripostes in this post. You seem to be implying that you know more than me about playing the piano, yet you have no idea at all about how well (or how badly) I can play.

John H
Yorkshire, England
I don't pay any attention to fingering.

You should - it makes a big difference. Don't you think about, for example, the crossing-over, and how it might best set your other fingers up for subsequent notes?

True. My problem was that I never followed the fingering indicated in the sheet music. I always invented my own. The music teacher hated that.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
However, some people do insist just that, that the word ... this came about, to the extent that it ever did.

I'm particularly interested in how the difference is perceived. Is it something that people will notice once they start learning ... for now") or will you correct the child, just like you would if he had called his elbow a knee?

In fact, I believe there are a number of languages where, in normal speech, elbow and knee are not distinguished - in fact, some where a word meaning something like 'joint' is used for elbow, knee, ankle and wrist. Then, as you point out in the part I snipped, most Slavonic languages do not distinguish between arm & hand or leg & foot.
Rob Bannister
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
And I'm next in line to the throne of Japan.
Now seriously, I admit that there may be some merits to your rules of thumbs & pinkies.
When you do Czerny or Anna Magdalena Bach the fingering is very important, if not crucial.
But after you reach a certain level, say Boolean algebra, you forget the mnemonics that helped you through multiplication table.
I'm sure you know it, but do you practice what I preached?
After years of practice the thumb will fall easily on any key. Anyway, the thumb, and even the pinky, are both stronger than no.4.

It's not a case of strength. It's a case of control. We're talking about playing the piano, not bloody weight-lifting.

I think we both already know that only with strength you can control, and I'm only talking about fingers on the keyboard.No.4 is the weakest, or to use your language, the least controlling.
I was more than a little annoyed by the patronising tone of your post, hence the arch ripostes in this ... about playing the piano, yet you have no idea at all about how well (or how badly) I can play.

I'm almost sure you play better than me (or than I do?) since you seem to be the disciplined type. I was more like Skitt, never paying attention to fingering (I prefer the word digitation). That's why I've never made it as a pianist. My Zenith was in 10th grade when I played Beethoven 1st with the school orchestra. Only the first movement, sans cadenza.
When was that? It was 1-5 when I started taking ... 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.

That was the older English system, and I believe it was already starting to fall out of use a hundred years ago. Continental Europe has used all-digit fingering (so to speak) since before the piano was invented, so British pianists had to learn both systems in order to use music published elsewhere.

Roland Hutchinson Will play viola da gamba for food.

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When you do Czerny or Anna Magdalena Bach the fingering is very important, if not crucial.

Now that was cruel and uncalled-for!
But after you reach a certain level, say Boolean algebra, you forget the mnemonics that helped you through multiplication table.

I'm no concert pianist so I can't rey say, but I would think that any serious pianist has to work out precise fingerings in order to master or mistress any piece. It's all about economy of motion, whatever Schwartz tells you. Plus you do need to have some sort of consistent fingering, even if it's unorthodox.
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