Piano Technique: Fingering: Finger Numbers

The standard convention for communicating Fingering in written music is to number your fingers 1 through 5, as shown below:


Simply put, your thumbs are “1” and you count to “5” as you work your way out to your pinkies! This convention is worth knowing for two reasons:

  • It will be used throughout our web site whenever the question of fingering comes up.
  • It is very commonly used in written music, especially in classical music.

Fingering Example (Clementi Sonatina):


A Word of Caution regarding fingerings written into published music: Always take the fingering shown as a suggestion, not a requirement. Use your own judgment regarding what works best for you — based on your awareness of your own body and your knowledge of sound Fingering Principles.

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