im struggling with playing tunes that are in especially 230bpm.
it seems to be in between where you can use finger technique or the weight of the arm. i have difficult getting these tempos to work.  
anyone have any practising tips ?  can anyone list any known recordings of maybe more modern pianists that are especially in 230 bpm.


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it's all relative. 230bpm is just a bunch of clicks. what are you trying to play?  

for example - all the things you are would not be difficult @240, but donna lee probably would.

if you're just trying to "solo" - start by playing less
i like having my thumb on the root (black note or not).

here are the two positions i use the most in this instance:

1st position: bb db eb e

5th position: f ab bb

(i name my positions by the scale degree that the thumb lands on)

often i'll finger 5th position with only the two notes (f and ab).
....and try thinking 120 instead of 240
another possibility is to use two 3-note positions:

1st position: bb db eb

#4 position: e f ab

which can work well with triplets.

in the case of "crossing" from the middle finger on ab up to the thumb on bb on an upward run, as long as your middle finger is deep enough in towards the backboard (ie. not at the tip of the black key), this is an extremely comfortable fingering.
remember, a lot of it is technique that your fingers are used to.  make sure you practice your scales and arpeggios at the tempo you want to play, then when it's time to jam at fast tempos, your fingers will be used to it.

then when you are jamming at fast tempos, a lot of times you don't need to think of the individual notes, instead keep a shape in mind, the shape of your melody and how you want to play it as far as dynamics go.
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here's what i use - i made it up myself though and it may not suit everyone.  
it took me a bit of getting used to, but i like it.

the pattern repeats every 2 octaves.

starting on bb and then ascending, the fingering is:
1 2 3   1 2 3 4   1 2 3 ... then repeat... 1 2 3   1 2 3 4   1 2 3 etc

left hand 2 octave pattern i use is:
4 3 2 1  3 2 1  3 2 1 ... then repeat... 4 3 2 1  3 2 1  3 2 1 etc
all of the above.

also, if you're going to play in 8th notes, start out by keeping your phrases short, just one or two bars, with two-three bar rests in between.  

another good exercise to help get the feel for a fast tempo is to play entirely in quarter note triplets for a while.

just off the top of my head, gonzalo rubalcaba is one example who can really cook at high tempos. also brad mehldau.
hmm, who else? joey calderazzo, perhaps.
incidentally i use exactly the same idea for ab minor / b major pentatonic. the pattern just starts at a different point.
for me, i've had the most trouble with keeping a solid groove on my own at high tempos. i would reccomend playing your scales and arps in 8ths and gradually increase the tempo. put your metronome at half the tempo and hear click as 2 and 4, or the ands of 2 and 4. are you turning the beat around at 230? are you losing the groove altogether. only you can decide. good luck.
also, i just read lee konitz new book, he says that he doesn't think it's possible to truly improvise at really high tempos. it's something to think about.
although it's usually recommended to avoid using 5 on the black keys, this might be an exception to that rule.  you might try using:



some of these are just plain awkward.

7, your example is a sixatonic:)
some great tips above. i would add a few more suggestions:

1. relax! play with a super light touch!
2. tap your foot on the 1 and 3, not on every beat
3. work on your double time playing (16th note lines) at medium tempos. then up tempo 8th notes will be easy.
4. work on your bebop scales. because they have 8 notes they swing really well at fast tempos, providing you place the chord tones on the beat.
5. think of groups of notes, rather then one note at a time. four-note groups are good for starters, whether scale- or arpeggio-based.

benny green is worth checking out for his lightning fast runs in two hands, and he really cooks. red garland and hampton hawes were both masters of  double tempo lines. and bud powell - although he's in a category of his own!
thanks for the replies. i forgot to mention it's just the right hand i'm concerned with (for now). and the starting note doesn't matter. it could just as well be a db major pentatonic.

paul, i tried your method and i think it could work if i can smooth out the crossing from the 4th finger to the thumb (on db and eb). i'll work on it.  

dr whack, your rh fingering is the same one i mentioned in my first post, but i'm glad to know i'm not the only one who breaks the "pinky" rule.

7, you put an e natural in there, but i'm talking about a straight pentatonic, not a blues scale.
dohp!! didn't notice that :)
that gets you to previous threads we had dealing with this in details............

just take the e's out and that's the fingerings i use most often.
here's a good book for dealing with this stuff-

i used it for a while and really recommend it(in fact all his books are good,search over there at music notes)
thanks smg. if i come across it i'll sneak a peek.  
i've come to discover that it's not just bb pentatonic run i'm having trouble fingering out. that same run in nearly all the other keys is quite a challenge.
hm, what's a run?
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