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Chromatic Scales

The Basics - Fingering



Semitones are slippery characters! It's a challenge to keep track of them, but they're essential for filling out melodic lines and adding color to chords.

Regular, dedicated work with semitones will develop your aural skills, and these pattern-based finger drills will challenge you to precise listening and thinking.

Your work on the chromatic scales consists of learning and practicing them across five pages, starting here, plus practical riff-building in the chromatic dominant scale (Chromatic Dominant Thirds in the nav bar).

The mini-nav below accesses the chromatic scale fingering and practice pages.

Chromatic
Scales

Similar Motion

Contrary Motion

At Intervals

Changing Intervals

Chromatic STTPs

Download the PDF for the Scale City Chromatic Scales here.

The chromatic scales

Conventional fingering

The simplest fingering for the chromatic scales is:

  • Finger 3 (both hands) on all black keys;
  • Thumb on all single white keys (D, G and A);
  • Fingers 1-2 or 2-1 on pairs of white keys (B-C, E-F).

Here's the teaching video for the basic chromatic scale.


2-3-4 fingering

The 2-3-4 fingering uses fingers 1-2-3-4 on:

  • G to Bb in the right hand (both up and down); and
  • F# to A in the left hand (both up and down).



From here on, you can use either fingering.

Now go on to Page Two of the mini-series, and learn the chromatic scales in contrary motion.

Contrary motion from D

If you start from D (and G#/Ab), the chromatic scale fingering is perfectly symmetrical.


Contrary motion C/D

The chromatic scale fingering is also perfectly symmetrical if you start from C (left hand) and E (right hand).


Contrary motion from C (asymmetric fingering)

The chromatic scale in contrary motion from C requires asymmetric fingering - quite a challenge.


Contrary motion from F# (asymmetric fingering)

The chromatic scale in contrary motion from F# is another sample exam requirement


Vary your practice different rhythms - group the notes in triplets, for example (stress in threes).

You should be able to play all these patterns over two octaves comfortably.

Then go on to the next page - chromatic scales at various intervals - or use the series mini-nav to dot about.

Chromatic
Scales

Similar Motion

Contrary Motion

At Intervals

Changing Intervals

Chromatic STTPs


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