When fingerings change

TUESDAY, March 3, 2020

Reviewing – there are four fingering patterns for all major scales…

All major scales use four finger patterns.

Thumbs together scales:

There are four major scales where the thumbs always meet twice, and those scales are: B, Db, Gb and F.

Scales where the thumbs meet once, like C major:

There are six major scales where the thumbs meet once and then the other time 1 in one hand always comes with 2 in the other. Those scales are: C major, D major, E major, G major, A major and Ab major.

The oddballs, where thumbs never meet:

Finally there are two more scales that I call oddballs. They are unique. The thumbs never come together.

  1. Eb major: 1 always meets with 2, no exceptions. I call this “double oppose” because 1 and 2 always oppose. I’m open to a better name.
  2. Bb major: 1 and 2 oppose in one part of the scale. In the other 123 oppose. I’m open to a better explanation and a good name.

Most major scales use the same fingerings:

Minor scales generally use the same fingering as major. For instance, C major, C melodic minor, C harmonic minor and C natural minor (also called Aeolian) all use the same fingering. This is the norm for minor. You might think of them as “regular scales”.

Minors that change fingering…

A few minor scales use different fingerings. When this happens, they will use one of the four major scale fingerings I showed above.

An example: The Gb major scale is also the F# major scale because there are two ways to write it. It is one of the thumbs together scales, very easy to play. But when it changes to melodic, which I call “simple minor”, it uses the same pattern as C major. Then when it becomes harmonic minor or natural minor it uses the Eb fingering.


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