Updated: 2 days ago
Piano major scales
The importance of practising piano scales
Studying the most important and mandatory in piano practice, mastering the execution of scales of the most different types is essential for a musician, whatever the instrument. It is through this succession of notes that fundamental techniques are developed to improve the sound and agility of every pianist. And, as they are the raw material for most of the composition for the instrument, the study of the scales helps to understand the harmonic-melodic structures and gives the musician elements for improvisation.
Not recognising this importance and all the benefits that the study of scales can bring, most piano students underestimate this practice, considering it repetitive and lacking in musicality. This apparent "waste of time" makes them look at other studies that give them more pleasure, such as repertoire pieces. What they often do not know is that since the pre-baroque period, through periods such as classicism and romanticism, scales played a fundamental role both in composition and in improvisation or the search for the perfect technique.
MAJOR SCALES PATTERNS AND FINGERING
What is a major scale ?
If you want to play a major scale, the first thing you have to learn are intervals. Intervals are distances between keys. To determine the scales, we only need to know two: tones and semitones (whole tones and halftones in American English).
The example below shows how a semitone goes from one key to another without any key in the middle. For example, E to F is a semitone, B to C and F to F# as well.
The tones comprise two semitones, so, for example, D to E is a tone, E to F# or F# to G#.
With this new information, we can present the formula of all major scales:
Let's see an example on c major scale:
Now, let us add the finger numbers in a one-octave scale (this means that we are just going to play eight notes).
FINGER NUMBERS for the RIGHT HAND:
The first thing we notice is the numbers on top of the keys. In the case of the piano, we name our fingers with numbers. Let us look at the graph below:
If you see the graph above, you will notice that the finger 1 plays at the beginning and as well the F note. This means we must execute "the passage of the thumb."
What Does It Mean?
It means that to play this major scale; it is necessary to pass our thumb below our wrist to get to, for example in the case of the right hand, from the third finger playing the E to the F played by the first finger again.
FINGER NUMBERS for the LEFT HAND:
Something similar happens with the left hand, in which the third finger goes over the first finger to play the next note, A:
Do not forget that we play the same notes but with different fingers, depending on the hand. Here is how it looks when we compare the fingering of the right and left hands:
MAJOR SCALES NOTES ON THE STAFF
After learning the structure or "formula", the notes and fingers, the next step is to see how we write the notes on the music sheet or "Staff":
VIDEO TUTORIALS - STEP BY STEP
RIGHT HAND - ONE OCTAVE - ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
LEFT HAND - ONE OCTAVE- ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
HANDS TOGETHER - ONE OCTAVE - ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
RIGHT HAND - TWO OCTAVES - ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
LEFT HAND - TWO OCTAVES - ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
HANDS TOGETHER - TWO OCTAVES - ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
TECHNICAL TIPS FROM THE SCARAMUZZA TECHNIQUE TO PLAY THE SCALES:
1. Elbow should always be loose. Relax them. 2. Keep your wrist always straight and slightly higher than the level of the keyboard 3. The thumb should be always relatively curved inwards 4. The hand should not bounce on each note. 5. We should keep a certain distance from the keys.
Learn all about Minor Scales with our post on WKMT Blog too!