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Piano Fingering - Guide to Piano Finger Placement

Learn Where Your Fingers Go on the Piano Keyboard


Piano fingering on the treble and bass staves.

Scale fingering for the right hand (top staff) and left hand (bottom staff).

Image © Brandy Kraemer

What Is Piano Fingering?

  • Piano fingering refers to finger placement on the piano keyboard, and the hand techniques used to play the piano.

  • Fingered piano music marks each note with a number that corresponds to one of the five fingers.

Reading Fingered Piano Music

You will see numbers 1-5 written above or below notes in scales and songs. These numbers correspond to your five fingers, and tell you which finger presses which key. Finger numbering for both hands goes as follows:

Thumb: 1
Index Finger: 2
Middle Finger: 3
Ring Finger: 4
Pinky Finger: 5

When you begin playing with your left hand, you’ll notice that the fingering is often the same for both hands. Look at picture #2: The same fingers play the same notes in both triad scales, but the numbers are inverted.

Fingered Practice Scales

Good fingering is a valuable skill to have as a pianist. When you practice piano fingering, you’re enabling your fingers to execute new techniques, master awkward positions, and exercise speed and flexibility. Practicing fingering may seem tedious at first, but stick with it; your fingers will adjust quickly.

Continue This Lesson:

Notes of the Piano            | ► Left Hand Piano Fingering
                                             | ► Piano Chords With Fingering

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