C#/D for Dummies - fingerings for a few simple tunes.

by Han Speek
(Copyright © 2005)


While most tunes based on the D scale are pretty straightforward on the C#/D system, it often still pays off to carefully think out the fingerings you are going to use. By working out the optimal places to move your hand to a new position right when you can start learning a new tune, you can work on playing the tune properly right from the beginning.

First tune - The Butterfly.

Here's a tune to get you started, a well known slip jig called "The Butterfly".

The Butterfly

The trick in the first part, last bar, is that you have to move the 1st finger to the button where the 3rd finger was before, and back again. The 3rd finger plays the 'B' note on the first beat of bars 1, 2 and 3. It is tempting to use it for the 'B' again in bar 4. But if you do, you will have to play the next note, the 'D', with your 4th (little) finger. And since this note is repeated, you would normally want to cut it - but you've run out of fingers ! So, to free up a finger you have to move your hand. Since the 2nd finger is occupied playing the last note of the 3rd bar, the 1st finger will have to do the jumping. And it moves to the button over which the 3rd finger was still hovering, ready to play that 'B' again.
Three notes later there's again a 'B' note, and since the 1st finger is still over it, you can use it. But since you know that the hand has to go back to it's original position for the repeat of the phrase, we use the next note, 'A', to move our hand, by using the 3rd finger instead of the 1st. This way the next 2 notes fall right under their proper fingers, and we're ready to repeat tha phrase.

Coming into the second part from the repeat of the first part, we have to repeat the movement we just learnt, 1st finger moves to button under 3rd finger. That puts your hand in the right position for the first 2 bars of the second part. However in the 3rd bar, the tune goes one note higher, and to not run out of fingers you have to move the 3rd finger to the button where the 4th finger was just before - so you play the drawing note with the 4th finger, and the pressing note on the same button with the 3rd.
Then the reverse happens in the 4th bar - you play the pressing note with the 3rd finger, and then the drawing note on the same button with the 4th. You will find out soon enough that if you do not do this, you will end up one finger short in this part, and then you will probably end up playing 2 consecutive buttons with the same finger. Not a good idea, as this will hold you back when you try to speed up the tune later.

Right at the beginning of the third part you have to change fingers again. If you played the second part as I decribed it, you will have ended it with the 1st finger on the 'A' note. Since we want to play a roll on the first note of the third part, we can't just use the 1st finger again, but have to switch to using the 2nd finger on that same button for the 'B'. You can play it without the roll at first, but when you're ready to try the roll lateron, you'll have a finger above and a finger below free to do it.

You can play the entire third part without any further change in the fingering. However, when you go back into the first part, you again have to do the 3-to-1 move, so the 3rd finger moving to the button the 1st finger just played. Then you have your hand in the right position again to start from the beginning.
Alternatively, you could already move to using the 3rd finger on the last note of the 3rd part (only on the repeat of the part !), so play the 'B' with the 1st finger and the 'A' with the 3rd finger.
Try both solutions, and decide for yourself which suits you best.

Good luck !

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