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Arpeggios beginning on black notes

Six out of the ten black note arpeggios use the same fingering system and feel very similar under the hands. This fingering system is based around the 2nd and 4th fingers of both hands spanning a perfect 4th on black notes. This is a comfortable shape under the hands and it is worth becoming familiar with it:

Ex. 1
Example 1
Ex. 1 in Braille

In the black note arpeggios these black-note perfect 4ths come between the dominant and tonic of the key, as in the following examples in D flat major and C# minor:

Ex. 2: D flat major
Example 2
Ex. 2 in Braille

Major black note arpeggios that use 2-4 shapes: E flat major; A flat major; D flat major

Ex. 3: C# minor
Example 3
Ex. 3 in Braille

Minor black note arpeggios that use 2-4 shapes: F# minor; C# minor; G# minor

The majors and minors feel very similar under the hand, indeed the only difference between them is in the position of the thumbs - a semitone lower in the minors. One major and one minor from these two groups should be practised each day to ensure the accurate placement of the thumbs.

A good practice technique with the above arpeggios is to play the 2-4 shapes as chords. This method emphasises the close symmetry between the fingering in the two hands. Played like this the thumbs play together and the 2-4 chords are played together. Given that the first and last notes are played with thirds in both hands there is total symmetry in the fingering - a great help when learning to coordinate the hands.

Ex. 4: D flat major
Example 4
Ex. 4 in Braille

Ex. 5: C# minor
Example 5
Ex. 5 in Braille

Of the four remaining black note arpeggios two consist entirely of black notes. Whereas in the previous examples thumbs on black notes were avoided, that is not possible here and so the fingering adopted is the same as for white note arpeggios.

Ex. 6: G flat major (LH uses 3)
Example 6
Ex. 6 in Braille

Ex. 7: E flat minor (LH uses 4)
Example 7
Ex. 7 in Braille

Finally we come to B flat major and minor. These arpeggios each have fingering patterns and, therefore, shapes under the hand that are unique amongst the black note arpeggios.

Ex. 8: B flat major (RH uses 4)
Example 8
Ex. 8 in Braille

Ex. 9: B flat minor (RH uses 3)
Example 9
Ex. 9 in Braille

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