Chromatic Scales...what works for you? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I'm currently working on a piece where I have to play a chromatic scale. To be honest, I never practiced them much because they didn't appear in any of my easier pieces. How I wish I practiced them! I can make a decent sound while looking at my hands, but the teacher says I shouldn't be so dependent on looking at my hands while playing the chromatic scales. She plays the CS super fast with her fingers flat and close to the keys. I get good results playing with more rounded fingers, but once I take my eyes off my hands, everything falls apart! I'm curious to hear how others have mastered this technique. Thanks.

-- Cathy V. (, March 30, 2001


Chromatic scales do take time to master. Keep practicing! Your fingering might have something to do with your troubles. A lot of teachers use the 131312313131 fingering (starting on C going up with RH), but I find this awkward and slow becuase of all the thumbs. I use the fingering 131312312341. Having the 1234 pattern starting on the G really speeds things up and helps get it smoother. You could experiment with different fingerings. If you get better results with rounded fingers, keep using it. You could also practice lifting your fingers high and playing loud, tho in the long run you will probably want to keep your fingers close to the keys. Have fun!

-- Julie2 (, April 03, 2001.

I was taught to use the traditional fingering, with finger #3 on the black keys & finger #1 on the white keys. I used to play them with rounded hand shape, but find that I can play much faster, with the SAME fingering, with flattened fingers. I've tried other fingerings, but I don't like them too much. I guess you just have to experiment & find what works best for YOU.

-- Music Educator (, April 30, 2001.

I agree with the Music Educator. The fingering she mentions is the standard fingering for chromatic scales with the rule for all scales, that the thumb being the shortest finger never to play a black key. The 3rd finger is the longest and therefore a much better choice in playing a black key for chromatics. So it doesn't matter which note you begin with, the rule for the series of fingering needs to apply.

-- June Rya (, April 03, 2003.

I think I K'now how to finger the chromatic scales for the piano with the right hand as such:French C1 or C2,C#3,D1,D#3,E1,F2,F#3,G1,G#3,A1,A#3,B1,C2. German C1,C#2,D1,D#2,E1,F2,F#3,G1,G#2,A1,A#2,B1,C2. American C1 or C2,C#3,D1,D#3,E1,F2,F#3,G1,G#2,A3,A#4,B1,C2. I like the american piano fingering best for the chromatic roll on Beethoven's {Fur Elise} which starts on A# and goes descending down one octave past another A# to D#. But I have another way to finger the chromatic scale for piano:starting on A# the right hand descending A#3,A1,G#2,G1,F#2,F1,E2,D#3,D1,C#2,C1,B2,A#3 or A#4,3,2,1,3,2,1,2,1,3,2,1,A#4 or A#4,3,2,1,3,1,2,3,1,3,2,1,A#4. But there is A way ,so fast I have A hard time either keeping the fingering right and I have A perfect fingering paturn or I have A hard time not going too fast with {ab'fallen-gleiten:to slide the finger from A black key to the next white key.}And the fingering goes like this:A#4 on to A4,G#3 on to G3,F#2 on to F2,E1,D#3 on to D3,C#2 on to C2,B1,A#4. My name is Kennneth Ray Smith II but people call me Kenny.

-- Kenneth Ray Smith II (, December 27, 2004.

Hello this is Kenneth the one who wrote the previous email here.I lost my last email address and now use this one.The reason I emailed was to say that the last part of the email might not really develop the muscles for playing the standard fingering.

-- Kenneth Ray Smith the Second (, February 19, 2005.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ