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Ascending Piano Scales
A fingered C major scale.

The thumb (finger 1) slips under finger 3 in most ascending piano scales.

Image © Brandy Kraemer

Fingering for Ascending Piano Scales


Practicing certain piano finger techniques can improve speed, agility, and your relationship with the keyboard. Once you become comfortable with these techniques, you’ll be able to tailor them to suit whatever piano music you wish to play. For now, concentrate on making proper piano fingering second-nature.

How to Play Ascending Piano Scales:

  1. On ascending piano scales beginning with a white key (or “natural”), start with your thumb (finger 1).

  2. In the middle of a scale, your thumb should cross under your middle finger (finger 3). In the scale above, this happens between the E and the F.

  3. Fingers 1 and 5 are ideal for use on the white keys. When playing in a key signature with few sharps or flats, try to keep them off of the black keys.

Look at the C major scale above. As you probably know, the key of C has no accidentals, so every note is played with a white key. Play the C major scale slowly – while paying attention to the fingering – and repeat it until it feels natural.


Related Video
Understand and Play Major Scales on a Piano
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