8. Learning & Practicing Major Scales and Arpeggios

Published by Jason Yang on

Major scales - two octave and two octaves - Jason Yang Pianist

Introduction

This post is essential for the efficient practising of all major scales.

When practising, please ensure you use the correct fingering, keep your fingers curved, and play one note at a time. As well as this, make sure your wrist is higher than the white keys, do not overlap notes, and practise as staccatos as well.

Beginners should learn the scales in the recommended learning order below. The fingerings for 2 octaves of each scale is also given in this recommended learning order.

Once you have learnt all the scales in this recommended learning order, practise in chromatic order. Do the same for arpeggios and practise everything without looking at your hands.

Finally, once you are comfortable playing these 2 octave major scales in chromatic order, you should try practising as 4 octaves.

 

Fingering

C, G, D, A, and E majors 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
Left Hand 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

 

B major 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
Left Hand 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1

 

F major 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Left Hand 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

 

Bb and Eb majors 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4
Left Hand 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3

 

Ab major 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3
Left Hand 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3

 

Db major 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2
Left Hand 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3

 

Gb major 2 octave fingering

Right Hand 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2
Left Hand 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 3

 

Learning Order

The above fingerings are in the recommended learning order. The following video is in the same order of: C, G, D, A, E, B, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb majors.


Practise Order

Once you know the fingering of all your 2 octave major scales, you should begin practising in chromatic order. Going through all the scales chromatically saves time and makes sure you know all white key and black key major scales equally well.

Remember to practise in descending chromatic order every few days as well.

Arpeggios

Arpeggio fingering is quite straight forward. Viewing the following video at half speed should be more than enough to learn the correct fingering.

When practising, please remember to start tucking your thumb in as soon as you press your second finger down.

 

4 Octave Practise Order

Once you are comfortable playing your major scales as 2 octaves, practise as 4 octaves. Once you know your scales as 4 octaves, you should try practising using the following pattern:

  • 2 octaves ascending
  • 2 octaves contrary motion
  • 2 octaves ascending
  • 2 octaves descending
  • 2 octaves contrary motion
  • 2 octaves descending


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