All Major Scales by Fingering Groups

(In the PDF, the scales talked about here are on pages 1 through 4.The major scales fall into three distinct categories)

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Scales by Fingering Groups2

There are 12 altogether. 10 of the 12 fall into only two groups, with the remaining two being unique in that the thumbs never play together at the same time in both hands.

The first group is the easiest to learn and consists of: Db major, Gb major, B major and F major. I call them “Thumbs Together Scales”.

In each of these scales the thumbs come together twice in each octave. Of these four, the first three are what I call “Black Note Scales”. They use the 5 black notes of the keyboard and so are very easy to learn and play. The fingering is intuitive, predictable and very easy on the hands. The fourth scale in this group, F, is a bit trickier because it is not quite so clear where the long fingers are supposed to go.

The second group contains six scales – C major, D major, E major, G major, Ab major and A major. In this group the thumbs come together once in each octave, The other time the thumb in one hand always comes with 2 in the other. Because the thumb and index fingers are opposite each other once per octave, I call these the “Oppose Scales”. Finger 3 is always together with finger 3, and finger 4 is always together with finger 2. Both times when 4 is with 2 it is directly before or after the thumbs meet. This group is much more difficult than the “Thumbs Together Scales”.

Finally, there are the Eb and Bb scales, each of which is unique in the major scales. I call these “Odd Ball Scales” or “Odd Balls”.

In the Eb major scale the thumb of one hand always comes with the finger 2 of the other. I call this “Double Oppose”. Both hands play 3 on the Eb. Fingers 3 and 4 also oppose each other, so in a way this is a “Triple Oppose Scale”.

In the Bb scale thumb of one hand there is an “oppose” combination with 1 and 2, but there is also a “triple group” situation where 1, 2 and 3 are moving in opposition.There is no other major scale with this grouping – this is also the only scale in which 2 plays with 2.

There is one problem in the term “oppose”, because in the Eb scale there are three oppositions, but the third is different – between 3 and 4, which I have marked with a bracket. In the Bb scale there are two oppositions, but one of them is a group of three, unique. I need to straighten out terminology in the future.

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