Price $ 1.25 net.
Copyrighted 1907 by Ernest Hutchesoo.
English Copyright Secured
THE Q. FRED KRANZ Music Co.,
327 N. Charles Street,
PNINTftD IN U. A.
Many of the exercises contained in this little: work
are purely preparatory in nature Others are for occasion-
al or special ute Only about twenty are permanently
eNBcntial. All are necessary at some stages of study or
to some pupils, but the teacher should not hesitate to
omit as many as can be spared in each individual case.
Preparatory exercises, for instance, such as Exs. 1,2, 11,
1ft, 20 - 26, etc., may be discarded (except to correct re-
lapse*) when once they have thoroughly served their
It has been my aim to reduce the exercises to the
greatest possible simplicity and to give the most ex-
act directions for practising them properly. The form
of an exercise, however, may often be modified with ad-
vantage to suit peculiar needs.
'Advanced'' technique is altogether excluded, because
I disbelieve in the necessity or expediency of spending
time on it. To the pupil who has really mastered the
elements of technique, the studies of Cierny and other
composers supply all that remains lacking in mechan-
The "Notes to the Teacher" perhaps require some
apology. I have given them for the sake of the many
teachers who, not claiming to be accomplished perform-
ers, gladly recognise the value of occasional hints from
a practical pianist. These notes, it is hoped, will also
be of benefit to advanced students.
It is not for a moment pretended that this short treat-
ise is in any respect startlingly original. No particu-
lar "method" is advanced or defended. I have merely un
deavored to bring the best ideas contained in a large
number of modern works into a small compass, discarding
everything unessential and repetitive. Some of the books
which have been consulted are:_
Zwintsehcr, Technical Exercises.
Kullak, School of Octaves. Buok I.
Maria von Unschuld, Die Hand des Pianisten.
Malwine Bree, The Groundwork of the Lcschetisky
Moszkowski, Ecolc dcti Doubles Notes.
Schmidt, Das Pedal dex Pianoforte's.
i, Notes on Backs "Well -Tempered Clamekord'.'
GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR PRACTICE.
1 Sit before the middle of the keyboard, about so high
that the elbows are on a level with the keys, and for-
ward in your chair. The chair must not be too near
2. Do not stoop. The upper part of the body, indeed,
may lean slightly forward but the shoulders should
not be rounded. Do not make faces.
3. Watch your fingers as you practise.
4. Listen to every note you play, and judge whether it
sounds well or not.
5. Try to improve whatever you are studying, not
merely to repeat it mechanically.
6 Nearly all the exercises in this book are written out
for the right hand only- The left hand is to be played
an octave or two octaves lower, as the teacher directs.
7. Nearly all the exercises are meant to be transposed
into different keys, keeping the same fingering. Those
not intended for transposition are marked C. It is a
good plan to choose a new key every week, or every
three days if preferred.
8. Practise slowly, and usually with only one hand at a
time, at least until you know the exercise thoroughly.
Hand- position, Finger- action, and Touch Exercises.
Place the fingers on the notes-.
1 Curve the fingers so that they touch the noteswith
the tips. Hold the nail -joint of th- fingers firm,
and in vertical position
2. Keep the wrist low and ^lightly oifttcagd from the
3. Keep the knuckle* rather high and firm, so That
the hand will be slightly arched.
4. Do not let the hand slope downward toward tn>-
5. Hold wrist and arm loose, and let the weight of
the arm rest on the finger-tips, keeping the notes
6. Separate the fingers from each other. Hold the
thumb well away from the hand, turning only the
This may be called the Normal Hand -position.
1. Lower the wrist at n, raise it at V : (these signs
will be used in the same sense throughout the
volume) Exaggerate the wrist movements at first:
afterwards moderate them.
2. Keep the weight of the arm on the key*, holding
them down steadily with the fingers.
8. Hand -position UK before
This exercise is meant to combine looseness of wrist
with correct hand -position.
I Lift and drop the fingers with the greatest pre-
cision (see end of Note 4 . counting"! and 2 and
3 and 4 and" Keen the fingers well curved.
'I Hand position as before. Read again the direc-
tions for Ex 1
3 Avoid stiffness The wrist may occasionally be
raised or lowered to ensure relaxation, but not
with regularity as in Ex 2.
A correct performance of Exs 3 and 4 is often so
difficult to beginners, especially to children, that it
may be necessary to use the following preparatory
Exercise 8. A.
Exercise 3. B
o r K i
These exercises should be discarded as soon as Ex.
3. can be played without stiffness.
Other good methods of avoiding excessive difficul-
ty at the outset are:
1. Omitting the thumb in Exs. 1 and 2.
2. Practising Exs. 1-4 very lightly at first gradu-
ally increasing the weight of the touch
1. Hold down all the fingers except the one about
to play. Keep them curved, and watch them.
2. Play legato. Practise slowly. Begin softly: lat-
er, increase the tone, always avoiding stiffness.
3. Lift the fingers with precision. The fourth and
fifth fingers may be lifted more than the others,
but the thumb should be raised very little.
Exercise 5. (Portamento.)
1. Drop the whole arm (not merely the fore-arm)
on each note: raise it at the rests. Be sure to
let the elbow rise and fall.
2. The wrist must be very loose and yielding. The
fingers should move very little, always staying
quite near the keys.
3. There must be a great deal of weight in the
touch. The tone should be strong but sweet: lis-
ten to it carefully.
1. The same as for Ex. 5, but take care that all three
(or four) notes of each ehord arc equally strong.
2. Hand -position as usual.
3. Practise first with each hand separately. Observe
the fingering, which is the same for all keys.
i X 23 34 4 S
Drop the arm on the first note of each bar ; lift it
after the second note, but do not shorten the second
note more than necessary.
Exercise 7 is a combination of portamento and legato,
and is particularly instructive (though far from dif-
ficult), because it contains the germ of proper phrasing.
Exercise 8. (Legato.)
* 3 4 S
t * a 4
1. The binding most be perfect. Observe the differ-
ent fingerings and use them all in turn.
2. Attend carefully to hand - position and finger -
action. Watch the fingers to see that they lift and
curve properly. When the curve is sufficient, the
player cannot see his finger - nails.
3. The tone should be pur; and singing. Gradually
increase the strength, always avoiding stiffness.
4. Practise slotcly. Only d) should ever be played fast.
This is a most important exercise, and it should be
practised daily with the greatest eare.
Exercise 9. ( Hand - ttaccato . .
(f \tiir\rrrrtf ti
1. Use the whole hand, letting it fall sharply and
rebound rapidly. Make the notes as short as pu
sible. Practise lightly, without weight
2. Hold the wrist and elbow a trifle higher than
usual. They must be perfectly loose.
3 The fingers should hardly move.
4. Practise a) in octaves also. In b) and c) the two
notes must be exactly together and equal in tone.
Exercise 10. (Finger-staccato.)
[?-*-==* P T
Keep the hand quiet. Use the same finger-action as
in Ex. 3, but short and sharp. Lift the fingers more
Exercises for the Use of the Wrist in Legato Playing
Exercise 11. Metronome J: mo.
V nV nV n V nV
Lower the wrist at the sign n, raise it at V. Do not
make the movements jerkily. Preserve the legato care-
fully, and try to produce a full, round, singing tone.
The fingers need not be lifted very high.
Exercise 11 has two objects, looseness of wrist and
production of singing tone. All legato melodies are
played with more or less of this up-and-down wrist
motion, which maybe exaggerated for purposes of study.
The tone should be produced by the weight of the arm,
the finger-tips resting firmly on the keys.
Continue as in Ex. 11, but with less up-and-down mo-
tion, and add a slight outward movement of the
wrist"at the points marked 3. The combination of the
two motions imparts what may be called a "rolling"
action to the wrist. Do not exaggerate this.
V 4 ft a i
* -f i I
Exercise 13 should also be practised with different
It may also be used in the following variations:
In all cases, observe the different fingerings, and
do not forget transposition into other keys.
The following variations of Exercise 15 (and others,
if desired) may be used;
In practising Exercises 12 - 15, do not forget what
has already been learned. Keep a good hand- position;
use proper finger-action, attending particularly to the
curve and lift of the fingers; hold the arm and wrist
loose; and listen to the tone. Gradually develop strength
*> That is to say, turn it a little farther out from the body than usual.
We cone now to a form of action which is often
a great difficulty to beginners, vn., the Tremolo
The following preparatory exercise is useful
At at, raise the thumb ax high as possible after
each note by tnrntng the hand and vrist bod-
ily, holding the little finger down as a pivot. At b),
raise the little finger in a similar manner, holding
the thumb down as a pivot.
In Ex. 17, when playing slowly, combine the motions
of Ex. 16 a) and b). The whole arm will turn slight-
ly to and fro on its own axis, it must be perfect-
ly loose. Increase the speed and diminish the move-
ments until the fingers hardly leave the keys and
the exercise is performed entirely by a slight but
rapid shaking of the arm The fingers need not be
so much curved as aiual
Practise until great velocity and complete ease are
attained. Small hands may substitute the folluwing;-
Thin very "stupid" exercise is included because it
shows a form of Tremolo -action very common in Mo-
lart's and Beethoven's works and often troublesome to
The peculiar difficulty of scale -playing is the put-
ting of the thumb under the hand and of the hand
over the thumb. This difficulty may best be attacked
by Meant of the preparatory exercises Jios. 20 - 26.
*) Ijterelse* marked C are not to be transposed
1. The wrist must be held well outward from the
body, and must preserve this position in all the
scale- exercises and in playing scales. The hand
must not move during this exercise, but it must
not be in the least decree stiff.
2. Count four. In Ex. 20 a), play C at the first beat;
place the thumb on P, touching the note, at the
second beat, play F at the third beat; and let the thumb
return to C, touching the note, at the fourth beat.
Treat Ex. 20 *)., c), ana d) similarly.
3. Do not lift the thumb from the keys; let it glide from
note to note. The motion, must be very rapid and pre-
4. Keep the fingers properly curved.
5. The small crosses indicate the moment at wnich
the thumb must move; they will always be used in
this sense in future exercises.
6. Play each repeat many times.
Exercise 21. C.
The same as for Ex. 20. The thumb must always
prepare its next note at the sign x.
Exercise 22. C.
n 128132 1 1 2 3 4 1 4 3 2 _ j
1 5 3 ! 1 ^ , |2 3 4
3 * 1
As above. Be sure to retain the outward position
of the wrist throughout. Curve the fingers and hold
them in position exactly over their proper notes.
Preserve looseness and good, even tone.
Exercise 23. C.
*t : " 1
- *fl U JiJ
1 " '
1. In this exercise the thumb is immovable.
2. In Ex. 23 a), play jj at the first beat; move the
hand to its second position (the fingers over A )
at the second beat; play A at the third beat,- and
return the hand to its first position (fingers over
g) at the fourth beat. Treat 23 b\ c), and d)
3. The movement of the hand must not be made by
twisting it to and fro, but the wrist must, be held
as far outward in the second position of the hand
as in the first. Observe this point most carefully,
for the correct movement is not easy. The thumb
must yield readily as the hand passes over it.
4. The moment at which the hand should move to
its next position is shown in this and the suc-
ceeding exercises by a small circle (o).
Exercise 24. C.
3 1 2 1
In each section of the exercise, keep the thumb im-
movable over its note. Avoid twisting the hand, and
move it promptly at the sign o. Let all the fingers
keep proper positions over the notes next to be
w f K i
Exercise 25. G.
i s i 4 * t
As above. Keep the fingers curved and the wrist
loose, always well outward. Play with good, even
tune. Do not raise the thumb.
The next exercise combine* the hand and thumb
movements No new direction* ore required. but A!) those
given for Exercises 2(i-2f> must be remembered
Exercise 26. C.
I a 1 4 1 1 4 2 1 .1 <
1 , 4 1 t 1 L ' 4 1 1
t < 4 1*X tdXl 4
The complete scale may now be attempted By this
time it should present little or no difficulty.
Exercise 27. C.
Below is shown, by means of small notes, the exact
position of every finger of the right hand through-
out the scale.
Exercise 27 sA*'
The student should now proceed to practise major.
melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales in all keys,
at first slowly, in two octaves only, and with each hand
The fingering of the thirty- six different scales is
usually a source of much distress to the beginner. And
yet it should not be very difficult, provided that scale -
formation is understood. To begin with, do not think
about the thumbs or where they come in the scale.
If you only remember when- the fourth finger falls
you know the whole scale, for the fourth finger is
used but once in each octave.
The easiest rules for Scale - fingerings are, curi
ously enough, little known among teachers and stud-
ents In fart, I havo never seen them given in print
except in Carl Faeltcns "Rhythmical Scales." They are
1 In scales beginning on a white key < except the
scales of K take the fourth finger on the seventh de
grce of the scale.
'i. In scales beginning on a black key (and the scales
of F) take the fourth finger on Bt> (or A$ ).When
tncre is no B? (or A? ) in the scale, take the fourth
finger on the tecond deforce.
1. In scales beginning on a white key (except the scales
of B take the fourth, finger on the second degree
of the scale.
2. In scales beginning on a black key 'and the scales
of B) take the fourth finger on Ft 'or <?!>. When
there is no ft (or Ok) in the scale, take the fourth
finger on the fourth degree.
These rales are compressed by Mr. Faclten into a
clear and simple formula, of which I give a slight
'' Quoted (with a ltgt>l alteration) from Mis* von Un*chuld book. "Die Hand de* Puuiitcn."
6 V K I
E. H. 4*. h Finger.
White notes (except P)
Black notes (and P)_ .
L. H. 4 f . h Finger.
White notes (except B)
Black notes (and B) _ .
jBfc (A |)
There are only two partial exceptions to the above
rules, both occurring among the melodic minor scales.
R. H. Ffl minor (ascending).
L. H. Bt> minor (ascending).
These are fingered as follows.
It will be observed that both these scales follow
the rule in descending.
It is quite unnecessary to have the scales written
out and fingered for study. After a little prelimin-
ary explanation, all that the pupil needs is a slip of
paper with a copy of the formula. For the sake, how
ever, of teachers who prefer to keep to old methods,
1 give the scales in full at the end of the book.
The irregularities of fingering in beginning and
ending scales are so convenient to all players that
they are never a source of trouble. 1 mention them
for the sake of completeness.
1. In all scales following the white key rule, the
fifth finger is used for the final note in the
right hand and the first note in the left hand.
This avoids unnecessary putting under of the
2. In all scales beginning on black notes, thr first
note in the right hand and last note in the left
hand are taken by the second finger. This avoids
using more fingers than necessary. For exam-
All the scales should at first be practised with
each hand separately, then with both hands together;
at first slowly, then faster,- at first with medium
strength, then louder. When they can be played fair-
ly easily with both hands together, they should be
practised with varying accent and speed, say thus:
0. KK 1
They should also be practised piano and forte, crescen-
do and diminuendo (usually crescendo upward and dimin-
uendo downward) Staeeato, both of hand and f inn rr.may
occasionally bu used. Finally, they muM be practised in
The diatonic scales must be practised daily. Their im-
portance in technique cannot be over- estimated, and ev-
ery pupil should have them literally "at his finger's ends':
THE CHROMATIC SCALE.
fingerings arc in common use:
1 1 t 8 4 i 8 3 I 8 * 1 1 :\ 1 .
1 8 < 1 4 8 S
8 t 1^3' X :l 4 1
a. a i. 8 < i 4 t a i i 4 a s
* 1 S 8 41 S3
$ 1 81 l
l t jl8t 818*
1 8 *.
U J lj
1 t jf 8 1 8 *
i i i t 8 t * \ * i
* 1 8
Of these fintferinirs. No. I, in which the thumb is
placed on every other white note, ir> far the best.
No. n is useful in a moderate tampo when great strength
n n n
CHORDS AND ARPEGGIOS.
V V V V etc.
Exercise 33. *>
F r Wt)&> *' #
Directions for the above Exercises:
1. Let the fingers remain on the keys throughout.
Use the wrist as indicated by the signs n and V
in Exercise 29, most frequently as at a), occasion-
ally as at b i
2. The chords are to be held as long as possible, not
to be played staccato.
3. Practise the chords forte and fortissimo. In the
fortissimo, use the arm as well as the wrist.
4. The tone must be good, and equal for all notes
of each chord. Sometimes, however, the chords
may be practised with the highest note of the
right hand stronger than the others.
5. Avoid stiffness.
6. Transpose into all keys.
7. The fingers can be held perfectly curved in Exer-
cises 29-31. In Ex. 32, they cannot be kept
quite so curved as before, and in Exercises 33
and 34 the pupil must grasp the chords as best
1. This is a preliminary exercise for broken chords.
It is to be studied similarly to Exercise 3 (see
Section I), except that the fingers cannot be
held quite so curved except by large hands.
2. Use corresponding exercises in the inversions of
3. Various positions of seventh -chords maybestud-
ied in the same manner.
Exercises 33 and 34 must b omitted by younff pupils with small hands.
The same as for ordinary legato exernses Turn
the wrist slightly outward in approaching the notes
1. Drop the wrist slightly at the first notrof each
group or figure. Turn the wrist outward when
the fifth finger is used.
2 Exercise 37 should be practised with varied ac-
cents, thus -
3. The following variations are alt>o useful.
Exercises 36 and 37 may easily be adapted to chords
of the seventh, either dominant or diminished.
The following exercises, preparatory to extended
arpeggios, are analogous to NOB 20 - 26 in the last
Exercise 38. C.
Exercise 39 C.
1 _ 1
1 i *
U PK 1
1. Exercise 38 may be omitted by pupils with small
hands, but not without a trial, for it is far less
difficult than at first appears.
2. If the instructions for scale- preparation bt; re-
membered (see Exs. 20-26), it is only requisite
to consider the modifications made necessary
by the greater stretch in Exs. 38 - 40. The
wrist must be held very far out from the body,
and even the elbow must be held further out than
usual. Some little twisting of the hand will be al -
most unavoidable. The fingers cannot be curved
quite so much as in the normal hand -position, but
the curve should be the best possible.
3. Exercises exactly similar to Nos. 38-40 should
be used for the other positions of the chord:-
The arpeggio may now be practised with varying ac -
cents and speed, thus:
Exercise 41 is to be transposed into all keys r subject
to the following _
Rule of Fingering.
Always put the thumb on the first white note
of the chord in the right hand and on the last
white note of the chord in the left hand (ascend-
ing). In the chords of G flat major and E flat min-
or there is no white note; in these cases keep the
fingering of Ex.41.
In studying arpeggios, proceed as usual, from one
hand alone to both together, from slow to fast, from
soft to loud. Contrary motion need not be used. Cresc-
endo upward and diminuendo downward may be freely
The following exercise is so useful, and contains a
technical passage so frequently found in piano music,
that it cannot be omitted:-
Exercise 42 a).
The above fingering is to be used whenever the notes
are all white or all black, that is, in C, F, G, and F
sharp major, and in D, E, A, and E flat minor. Finger,
ings for the other keys are as follows :-
*3*5 B^ 3 25141 3 as 52314162^*!=^ 6 2 3 -
(For D, A, E, and B major and C, F, and G minor.)
(For Dl>, Al, Ei? major and B, F#, C#, G|t minor.
(For Bb, major and minor, only.)
Left Hand -
(For D, A, 8 major, and 0, C, F, E\> minor.)
(For D>, A>, Bt>, B-> major and F|, C|, 0| minor.)
(For B, major and minor, only
A. THIRDS AND SIXTHS.
Practise as in Ex. 3, taking care to play the two
note* exactly together.
Take cure that the two notes are played together
and with perfectly equal tone.
1*1 . 1 *
S 4 S I i 4
I Hold the wriM slightly in toward the body in the
first measure, particularly at the point marked c.
This makes the very <iifficult legato easier. In
the v-tund measure, a perfect legato is impossible
unless the fourth finder can be put under the
third. This is so difficult that it is probably better
to put th<- fcurth finger over the third, holding
the wrist outward and concealing the slight gap
in the binding as skilfully as possible.
'i. Some of the transpositions of this and the next
exercise, and of Nos.49 and 50, are very far from
easy. IJul they should at least be attempted.
i ft 4
Conceal the breaks in the binding as well as po -
Bible. Use the wrist in any way that is helpful, but
Proceed similarly in the following exercises: -
j 4 3 4 5464 3454
fiii, 2 i 2 i 11*1.
1111 2 I 2 - - * -
3434 5 4 5 * 34 8 4
1*1 * * ?
* 5 4 5 4 B
* 5 ' 3 4 8 4 '3 * 4 1 '2 'l \ 2 I \ '| 1
1 * f 1 a i * 8 1 * * 3 4 5 4 3 5 4
Young pupils with small hands may deferthe prac-
tice uf exercises in legato sixths until the stretches
In connection with the above, the following "bind-
ing" exercises may be studied. They will be found
helpful later on in legato octave - playing:
Exercise 52. C.
11 11 , 1 1
7Cx ^L y
Here the thumb must slide from note to note.which
is easy from a black note to a white, fairly easy
between two notes both black or white, but diffi-
cult when the first note is white and the second
4343 4 4 3 434 3 , 4843
546* 5 4 , 5 4
Here the long fingers must be put over the short
fingers, and the short under the long (3 over 4, 4
over 5, 3 over 5, 4 under 3, 5 under 4, 5 under 3).
The wrist must be held inward, and may be moved
slightly up and down, - always up for the longer
It is very useful to practise Exercises 47 and 51
in broken thirds and sixths in all keys, as below:
1 3 2 4 36 1 a _______
saa** i i i i i i i i i i i i T r-r
\a .2 4124 1241 *^_i
a.Z 4 2 1 42142142
A 4 2 4 5 2 4 fi 2 4 ?
I a. 81341 3418 *,
tf. F K. 1
i i *_5_1
4 1 4 6 >
> , . gigliA^ili i i
In the next group of exercises. Nos 59 and 60 must
be omitted by young pupils with small hands.
> i ^r mwm ^m m^ ami
. mmi^^mmm itmt mmw nt n (i^ mi it i^
For chromatic work in double notes the following fin
gerings are an excellent preparation:
Exercise 61. C.
t~t it f , , s t i t i *
^ j_ ^ _*_ -1__._4 . - ^% . _ * *
r rh* |J|J ^^ |J JJ .
^ i^w y T*CT
r r r
These would be combined, say in chromatic minor
Exercise 62. C.
Hi t . I t S. i
L t 1
4 8 5
_ i Z,
-2 I Z 1
I i its*
8 4 8 5
V 2 'i
1 2 '1
Octaves occur so often in piano literature that they
demand more notice than we have given to other forms
of double notes. They should first be practised stac-
cato, as in Ex. 63.
1. Bend the tip of the thumb inward when playing
on a white key, so that it cannot strike two
notes. The little finger must also be curved, for
the same reason. The middle fingers should be
held well above the keys, so as not to touch them by
accident; they should be at least somewhat curved.
2. The fifth finger may be used throughout No. 63.
If preferred, the fourth finger may be used on
black notes in c) and d).
3. In alternations of black and white notes, play the
white notes farther up the keys than usual, so
that the hand will not have to shift its position
greatly when moving to or from a black note.
4. Take care that the elbow is loose-, it is very apt
to stiffen in octave playing.
Exercise 64. C.
Exercise 65. C.
Exercise 66. C.
V ". V, n
V, n i V, n V
Exercise 67. C.
_ V n V r
n , V. n V,
n i IM *
Exercises 4-7 are to be played legato. After what
has been said in regard to Exercises 52 and 53 they
should require no further explanation. In No. 65, the
slide will be helped by drawing the hand sidewise.
Diatonic scales in octaves may be practised with the
up-and-down wrist-movement, up for black and down
fur white as a general principle No fixed rule of fin-
gering can be given, but the following examples may
serve as illustrations.
These fingerings are for /egato. of course IB
ttaceato use the fifth finger throughout or the fourth
on all black notes.
The concluding exercises. Nos. 68 to 71, are of
general usefulness. Take the fifth finger with every
oetave, and practise staccato.
Large band* may sometime* use the tUird finger in legato octaves.
For weak knuckles.
1. Hold the finger perfectly straight and stiff.Keep
the knuckle as high as possible and force it still
higher (!) by pressing upward from the finger.
Never mind if everything is stiff; but remember
that you allow this only temporarily, to work out
a gymnastic, not a musical problem.
2. Practise with the fourth finger also; with the
others only if necessary, and in no case with
the thumb .
For Double-jointed Thumbs.
g *i;rr rrrr
1. Practise as in Ex. 16.
2. Hold both joints of the thumb well away from
the hand, bending only the tip inward. But keep
the wrist well outward from the body. These
two points are difficult in combination.
S. If necessary, help at first by holding the thumb
in position with the other hand.
Exercise 74 may be practised in octaves as well as
" ins i
As in Ex. 73, but practise portamento.
It is also very helpful to watch the thumb closely
in practising chords.
*Z /a I & & I
Fingerings:- a, 3,i-
Easy Fingerings : 2,8
Less Easy:- !, 3, 1.
Easy Fingerings: ",*
Lew Bay:- JJ
1. Swing the whole arm freely. 10 that the elbow is
high and far from the body at the sign /, low and
near the body at \ . This is for the right hand; re-
verse the signs for the left hand. Of course the
hand cannot remain horizontal, but will slope liberal-
ly in the direction of the lines / and \ alternately.
2. Choose from the various fingerings to suit the in-
dividual hand, not avoiding difficulty, but guarding
against too great a strain.
The stretch at 0) may be increased by one note for
Stretching power may alto be developed by holding the
hand in difficult positions until rather tired. A series of
positions from normal to very extended, say:
may readily be deviaed to uit the particular hand.
In all stretching exercise*, beware of over- strain-
ing the hand, for some little stiff nan is inevitable at
best, and the muscles may easily be injured by too
much work of this kind.
For Variety of Tone.
1. The number of notes played Is immaterial, but
the more the better. Make the crescendo and
diminuendo as gradual as possible. Take care not
to stiffen at the Jf.
2. Use all other fingers in turn, as in Bx. 8.
This excellent exercise gives great power of control
over the tone. It is not easy, and requires patience and
a considerable exertion of will.
Each bar at feast four times.
Similar exercises should be used to acquire velo
city in scales and arpeggios (see Note 23).
For Polyphonic Playing.
The following exercises will be found invaluable
as a preparation for polyphonic playing in general
and the Fugues and Three-part Inventions of Bach
a_aa. 12 a 2 ^ + i 1 *?* ft fifi ft
2 12 12 y ^ ^. V
r irf rnfr
1 21 e/c 12 12*' c
48 4 ~
f* * '
11 * * .
Q 3 4~~a 4
os rvo O, *i 3
I, f^ "(3 's_i 'J t - 1 ^O i O 1
1. Change the fingers silently after playing, as indic-
ated This can be done in a much quicker tempo
than one would at first believe.
2. Ex. 80 is to be played with other fingers also: 32,
48, and 64
Sliding fingerings (as shown for the thumb in Ex. 52)
and the putting of long fingers over short and short
under long (Ex.53) are constantly needed in polyphon-
ic playing. Any finger may be used in sliding from
a black key to a white.
Many beginners have great difficulty in "bringing
out" a melody when notes of the Accompaniment are
to be played in the same hand. I have found the follow-
ing exercises extraordinarily useful.
(With * and?)
1. Play the large notes as strong as possible, the
small notes very soft.
2. At first it will be a help to lift the finger about
to play a strong note and to let the other finger
rest on the key. Afterwards, however, try to pro-
duce the difference of tone simply by throwing
weight on the strong note.
* .J J *ll
j ,j I M
(With different fingering*, *nd In sixths also like Kx.88.)
(Accent the other notes in tarn, a* in Kx.84 >
Exercise 87, remarkable for its difficulty and inge-
nuity, is attributed to Carl Tausig -
\a a" * 1
I i 1
<s>* i *
3 1 .
rj ' J "
v r F r r P
I ^ ' i
"~~ -- H
r r r r
(inf time also, like No.88b.)
P r r r r
1. Simple as these exercises are. they contain the
whole principle of "syncopated" pedalling. They
should be followed up by a systematic applica -
tion of the principle to some simple piece or part
of a piece.
2. I have adopted the excellent system of notation
proposed by Schmidt-* for marking the use of
the pedal. It is the only really exact notation.
* ,,Das Pedal des Pianoforte."
For Poly rhythmic Passages.
_a a 222
Count 1 and 3
vr 1 J
e * c -
count 1 2 4ida
s a 'a - s t
") <\ Count
Count throughout. Do not let the ugly sound of
No. 91 c) and /) frighten you.
K.H. many time*
Exercise 92 can be applied to many passage! like
the well-known one from Beethoven's Rondo in C, which
in the original is.
r r r r
On the principle of Ex. 92, this would be shown
The Least Common Multiple' method of combating
polyrhythmic troubles is very mechanical, and should
be used as a hist resort only But it is very certain
Taking the example already quoted, the manner of
practice would be:
Count 1 2*466128466
1. Use all fingerings in turn, f inl-
2. Let the arm shake slightly as in the Tremolo ac-
tion (see Exercise 17).
Some of the best fingerings for trills are subjoined:
> feffsr * - |jg
For trills in thirds, the best fingering is usually
3 4, but the following are often useful:
i * i a i
i a i
821321 821 821 etc
1. Draw the hand directly outward from the key-
board at the first note of each group.
2. Use the finger-staccato; but in these exercises the
fingers may be allowed to slide off the outer edge
of the keys after playing, instead of being raised
in the ordinary manner. They will thus curl up.
so to speak, under the palm of the hand.
Vi a V,
Begin with the wrist low, and raise it a little,
rather sharply, at the last note.
Exercise 96 should explain itself.
Observe that repeated chords are played in the
same manner as repeated octaves.
NOTES TO THE TEACHER.
Rote 1. Hand -petition.
Common faults of hand-position are:
1. Straight fingers.
2 Bad position of the thumbs, sometimes due to
8. Weakness of the knuckles.
4. Want of firmness in the nail-joint of the fin-
5. Bad position of the wrist, often due to the el-
bow being held too near the body
0. Hand sloping down toward the little finger.
7. Stiffness of wrist and arm.
The curving of the fingers is very important. It
should be constantly insisted on in five-finger exer-
cises, scales, and studies, even at the risk of" nagging
Special exercises for the remedy of double -joint-
ed thumbs and weak knuckles will be found in the
The nail-joint should always be held in vertical
position. It must be quite firm, never yielding or
"breaking" inward. This is another point requiring
great insistence on the teacher's part.
The outward position of the wrist throws the weight
of the hand behind the weak fingers, thus supporting
them. It is therefore of distinct use even In five-fin-
ger exercises, while in scales and arpeggios it is
Note 2. Relaxation.
Nearly all pupils are stiff at first. Many suffer
merely from the mechanical difficulty of new and
unfamiliar muscle-actions. Some, however, have not
even a proper conception of relaxation, and cannot
tell whether a joint is stiff or loose at a given mo-
ment. The teacher should in such cases be tireleits
in demonstration. It is easy to make stiffaem sens-
ible to the pupil, for only if a joint is relaxed can
it be moved easily. The wrist, for instance, is be-
yond doubt rigid if it does not yield readily to a
slow push upward or downward.
Relaxation in itself is not difficult to acquire.
The beginner's trouble lies in the necessary combin-
ation of loose wrist and firm finger (the finger-
tip supporting the weight of the arm). When there
is sufficient weight in the touch and sufficient loose-
ness of wrist and arm, the wrist and elbow may be
moved in any direction without causing the fin -
gen to leave the keys. This is a most useful test
of good touch, especially as the pupil (practising
with one hand at a time) can himself apply it in
There are, however, many other methods of show-
ing a pupil the difference between supple and rigid con-
ditions of the joints. Every teacher has his own tcr-
orite devices. Very often the idea of relaxation
must be presented in various garbs or forms until
one particular method of presentation happily reaches
the pupils apprehension. Some teachers, for instance,
achieve success by making the student consciously
stiffen the whole arm for some time and then, in re-
laxing, feel by sharp contrast the blessedness of
suppleness. The Virgil methods may also be cited as
In short, nothing should be left untried to cure
stiffness, for it is a deadly foe. It cramps all mo-
tion, quickly causes fatigue, and ruins beauty of tone.
Nor should the teacher be content with looseness
of wrist alone. The entire arm,- wrist, elbow and
shoulder, must be perfectly free
Note 3. Finger- act ion.
Common faults are:
1. Yielding or "breaking" of the nail-joint.
2. Straightening the fingers when lifted.
S. Curling up the fingers under the palm of the
hand when lifted.
4. Dragging the unoccupied fingers on the keys.
5. Jerking the wrist or arm at every note.
The teacher must carefully guard against all these
errors. Correct finger-action is a perfectly simple
lift and drop of the knuckle-joint; all other move-
ments of the fingers are unnecessary and disturbing.
It should especially be seen that the vertical pod-
ium of the nail- joint is maintained when the fin-
ger is raised.
Special attention should be paid to the weak
Note 4. Two Legato Touches.
Exercises 3 and 4, and almost all legato exer-
may be practised with two different kinds of legato:
A. With lifted fingers.
B. With close touch. In this, the fingers are
never raised enough to leave the keys, but al-
ways remain in actual contact with them.
Raised fingers give clear articulation in rapid play-
ing. Most teachers will probably prefer to teach this
touch first, "dragging" of the fingers being so common
The close touch is best suited to melodic playing,
where the most perfect legato possible is desired. No
other touch ever gives such sensibility to the finger,
such a feeling of really molding a melody as one plays
it. While the teacher, therefore, may insist on raised
fingers in technical practise, he should see that the close
touch is used, even in the first pieces studied, for all
The advocates of the close touch claim for it:
1. That it produces the purest -singing" tone possible
on the piano, because the sound of the finger fall-
ing on the key is eliminated.
2. That the placing of the finger on the key in pre-
paration of the note about to be played is the best
means of acquiring unfailing accuracy
These points can scarcely be disputed. On the other
hand, it is justly urged that "smudginess" often results
from over-indulgence in the close touch. Why. then,
should we not recognise two distinct forms of Legato,
one suited to melodic playing, in which the greatest
intimacy of binding is essential, and another preferable
for rapid passage-work, where clearness is most needed?
I may remark that in my experience it is easy to
acquire the close touch at a late period of study, but
difficult to train fingers to lift well unless one begins
The dangers of the close touch are best avoided by
taking care while practising scales and arpeggios to
lift the fingers from the keys after playing.
Cases of excessive raising of the fingers are some-
what rare. The second finger is usually the chief of -
fender. The teacher may always safely discourage a high
lift of the thumb (see Note 12 A).
The actual performance of Exs. 3 and 4 will be as
This way of writing, however, is obviously very com-
plicated and would puzzle pupils needlessly. Ex. 3 A
and B must of course be performed similarly.
Note 5. Tone-production.
Beauty of tone, especially in legato-playing, is the
great aesthetic difficulty of the piano. All pupils should
therefore be made to cultivate it from the beginning.
It may easily be shown that striking the keys pro-
duces hard, unsympathetic tone, and that pressure of
wrist or arm produces heavy tone. Finger-pressure
produces good tone, but not in sufficient volume for
all purposes, partly because the strength of the dif-
ferent fingers varies so greatly.
The author strongly insists on the necessity of us-
ing the weight of the arm in the production of sing-
ing tone. This weight must be concentrated on the
finger-tips, but entirely without effort exactly as the
weight of the body rests on the feet in standing or
walking. The following points are deserving of the
1. The use of weight is the most economical means
of tone-production, for no effort whatever is
2. The weight of the arm can be used in any quan-
tity desired to gain varied volume of tone. In
light accompaniments and very delicate pass-
ages it can easily be held back altogether.
3. If one depends on wpjght for tone, the differ-
ences of strength among the fingers need not trou-
ble the player.
4. Weight resting on the keys gives the nearest
possible approach to the flow of uninterrupted
sound produced by the violinist's bow or the sing-
er's breath. It is, moreover, easily distributed
in any desired degree to any part of the hand
(see Ex. 83-87).
With the most correct method, however, no pupil
will ever produce a really beautiful singing tone un-
less he listens to every note. The ear is the sole
judge between good and bad in tone, and its critical
power must be carefully trained.
Note 6. Exercise 8, etc.
A true legato is a continuity of tone, not a suc-
cession of tones. Merely "binding" notes together oft-
en results in a series of soft blows or impacts in-
stead of an unbroken stream of sound. The legato
of a good singer or violinist may be taken as a
standard for the pianist's effort.
It is. indeed, thtftretitnlly impossible to obtain an
absolute legato (except in diminuendo) on the piano.
But piano-playing is an art. not a science: a legato
appeals to the ear. not to the mathematical sense:
hence good players succeed in spite of theory
The legato is the most difficult and the most beauti-
ful of all touches. Accordingly, it needs and deserves
In playing slow melodies the tones may be allowed
to overlap very slightly- nerer enough to cause "blur-
ring The fingers need not be curved quite as much
The elements of Technique hand-position, finger-
action, and relaxation- are so far-reaching that their
importance can hardly be exaggerated. They should
be revised periodically to guard against relapses, and
it should be seen that they are put to practical applic-
ation in studies and pieces. The first studies und
pieces givtn should contain nothing more involved tlian
five-finger passages and simple chords. Scale-work
should come next, then arpeggio figures and mixed
passages, just as in the Technique itself. Easy studies
well played are preferable to difficult ones in which
the pupil violates all principles of good action.
Helpful as are the movements treated of in this
section, it is necessary to warn against exaggera-
tion, lest they supplant instead of merely assisting
good finger-action. Observe the metronome marking
in Ex. 11. and note that the wrist can be moved only
oncv for every four notes in rapid tempo.
In transposing exercises into other keys. th pupil
should be allowed and if necessary instructed always
to strike white keys on their broad part, not on the
narrow part between the black keys. This involves
frequent movement of the hand nearer to or farther
from the keyboard, but fortunately there is no dif-
ficulty whatever in the motion. In chords and arpeg
gio figures, of course, one must often play white
notes on the narrow part.
Note 10. Exercise 17
If the explanation of Tremolo-action is not easily
understood, make the pupil stretch out his arm with
the palm of the hand upward, then reverse the posi-
tion, turning the palm down. By repeating this pro-
cess rapidly a few times he will soon gain the right
The special exercises for Variety of Tone and Vel-
ocity may be given to pupils before they attack scales
Others of the special exercises may be used at any
time, those for pedalling, polyrhythmic passages,
bringing out melodies, and polyphonic playing, will
doubtless he suggested by difficulties arising in the
Note 12. Scale*.
A. The close touch may very profitably be used in
the preparatory exercises. The thumb should never
be raised from the keys in scales.
B. In ascending, the right hand may slope slightly
downward to the little finger: in descending it
should be tilted the other way. The slopes are the
reverse, of course, for the left hand. Do not let
the pupil exaggerate this point: often there is no
necessity to mention it at all.
C. The hand may perhaps be arched a little more than
usual, so that the thumb may pass under more freely.
D. If the pupil has trouble in subduing the thumb
sufficiently, the following method of practice will
give quick results:
P^*P^z, P P *. a a P * *r > f
i * a
E. A very slight up-and-down movement of the wrist
is permissible and even advisable in scales. When-
ever the thumb plays the wrist should be low.
Note \3. System <>f fingering Scales.
Without wishing to force the method given in the
text on those who may prefer other systems, I strong-
ly advise against teaching scale-fingerings by the
thumb-positions, of which there must be fun in every
octave as against one of the fourth finger.
Note 14. Alternative Scale -fingering*.
Many writers give the following fingerings of cer-
tain melodic minor Scales:
0. F K. i
F sharp minor.
* t 2 8. 1, 2
C sharp minor.
8 3 i a 3 *, i a . 8 i
G sharp minor.
8 1 8 ' z 1 48*
4881821 82 8
P . . i ! f-^^tP
' i 2 8 128 41
8 8 1
284 1 2 '3 * 2
The modern fingering of these scales is less re-
gular but easier.
Many of the scales might depart from the accepted
fingerings *o good advantage. As a matter of inter-
est, and without recommending innovations, I subjoin
a few examples of possible left-hand fingerings:
1 4 3 '2 1 3
4 3 2^1^ 2 T
8 841 2 8 'l i 34
l 4 3 2 1 3 2 i e 3 2
1 r J
(The fourth finger might fall on Kg In the scale of D al-
so, perhaps even in 6.)
6 * : '
4 3 2 1
3 2 1
23 12 '8 '4 12 3 4
(Similarly in C minor, G minor, D minor.)
Many a beginner would be gratified by these changes!
Note 15. Scale-practise.
Do not let the pupil practise scales always in the
same order. They should be played sometimes in theor-
der of fifths (C,G, D,etc.), sometimes in chromatic suc-
cession, and sometimes alternating major with relative
or tonic minor
Is it necessary to worry pupils with scales in sixths
and tenths? I, for one, think not. The conscientious teach-
er who differs from me most change the fingering
of certain scales when beginning on the third degree:
this is very little trouble.
In fast practise the scales should be played with
lighter, tone, in order to avoid stiffness.
Note 16. Exercises 29-34.
Of course the marking:
n n n n
n V n V n V n V
Exercises 29-34 may also be practised without re-
peating the chords, thus-.
in order to gain facility in moving from one position
Note 17. Exercises 31 and 32.
The teacher must see to it that the pupil does not
shirk the fourth finger in ehord-positions,whetherfull
or broken. Nevertheless, the third finger may be sub-
stituted for the fourth in the following chords:
II j I jiff I
and perhaps also in these:
Note 18. Exercise 34
The following fingerings will help small hands:
The teacher must bear in mind that the earring of
the fingers to the degree required in seale- playing is
unnecessary and often impossible in extended chord -
positions and arpeggios. The chief advantage of curved
fingers is clearness of articulation, and in scales this
is vital; but in arpeggios the effect is actually improved
if the tones run together. Hence one uses pedal in
arpeggios and avoiil- it in scales.
It is always well, however, to insist on the best curve
Note 20. Arpeggm fingf rings.
The rule given in the text holds good for arpeggios
formed from dominant and diminished sevenths.
As the first position of arpeggios formed from triads
iit the most difficult iu many keys, it is wise to sub-
stitute (in free playing) the fingering of another posi-
tion when there is room for choice.
Note 21. Exercise* 45 et seq.
The effective disguise of the slight breaks in legntn
necessary in moot double-note passages is an import-
ant point. A light use of the wrist in any direction
helpful at the moment (always avoiding undue exagger-
ation ) is the great requisite.
Scales in thirds and sixths are excluded from this
section, not being elementary technique. Ambitious pu-
pils may be. referred to Mosikowski's work on Double
Notes, and. for octaves, to Kullak's well-known treatise.
I'r.irtiral fingerings of scales in thirds and sixths are
to be found also in Zwintscher's "Technical Exercises".
Busoni Las made interesting suggestions as to double-
notes and octaves in his scholarly edition of Bach's
"Well -Tempered Clavichord".
Note 22. Stretch.
The idea of swinging the arm in practising stretches
is due. I believe, to Mr. Virgil.
The teacher should be very cautious in attempting to
enlarge a pupil's grasp. Much harm may be done by in-
judicious forcing. In the case of children, it is almost
always best to wait for the natural growth of the hand.
Note 23. Velocity Exercise*
Miss von Unschuld, in her exposition of Leschetizky s
principles of teaching, very reasonably advises the ex-
clusion of the thumb for final notes in exercises for
Scale -velocity. The series would thus be:
Similarly, of course, in arpeggios.
Note 24. Pedalling.
Observe that in Ex.88 the pedalling connects tones
between which there would otherwise be gaps. while in
Ex. Si* it prevents "blurring" of dissonances. Only "syn-
copated" pedalling fulfils both these conditions.
Note 25. Poll/rhythms.
Do not despise Ex 90 it is often a hard nut to crack
When pupils have once learned to play three notes
against two, other polyrhythms usually lose most of
their terror. Never attempt to use the"Least-Common-
Multiple ' method for three notes against four: the rem-
edy is worse than the disease. The ear is here the on-
ly guide, though it is useful to practise each hand sep-
arately in the full tempo as a preparation.
MELODIC MINOR SCALES.
a 4 4
HARMONIC MINOR SCALES.
4 12 3
2 8 1 8
8 454 3
The elements of piano
UNIVERSITY OF TORO