Which fingers touch which piano keys?

Piano fingering on the treble and bass staves.
Fingering for both the right hand (top staff) and left hand (bottom staff). Image © Brandy Kraemer

Question: How do you know which fingers touch which piano keys?

Answer: It’s common to wonder – even at more advanced skill-levels – where exactly your fingers should go on the piano keyboard. Technically speaking, there are no official rules on finger placement, simply because there are so many hand shapes and finger-lengths. But, there is a lot of guidance that will prove quite helpful.

Piano fingering is a universal system of numbered notes used to guide your fingers to the right keys.

As a beginner, it’s best to adhere to these suggestions so you can develop this skill and turn it into second nature.

Finger placement is indicated by the numbers 1-5 written above or below notes, which correlate to the five fingers. The thumb is always 1, and the pinky is always 5.

Some scales and beginner songs are written with piano fingering, but it’s also seen over tricky passages in advanced pieces; a composer might suggest specific fingering over a quick or difficult series of notes.

Continue Learning About Piano Fingering:


How to Start Playing Piano:

The Black Piano Keys
Get to know the piano "accidentals," and why they are laid out on the keyboard in a specific pattern.

Comparing Major & Minor Chords
Major and minor chords (and scales) convey very different moods, but they are built using almost the exact formula.

Learn their differences.

Finding Middle C on the Piano
Locating the piano's middle C can seem like a tricky endeavor at first, but it can become second nature very quickly with these tips.

Find Middle C on Electric Keyboards
It can be much more confusing to find middle C on an electric keyboard of a smaller size, because C4 won't necessarily be in the "middle." Learn how to find it on four of the most common keyboard sizes.

Chord Types & Their Symbols
Learn about the different chord formulas, and how they are abbreviated in notation.


Reading Piano Music
 ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
 ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
 ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
 ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
 ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

Piano Care & Maintenance
 ▪  Best Piano Room Conditions
 ▪  How to Clean Your Piano
 ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪  Signs of Piano Damage
 ▪  When To Tune Your Piano

Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
 ▪  Buying a Used Piano
 ▪  Tips for Finding the Right Piano Teacher
 ▪  Musical Keyboard Comparison Guide
Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords