The C major scale is said to be the easiest piano scale to learn first, since it uses only white keys on the piano.
But how is it built, what fingering should you use and what is the best way to practice it? Learn all about it here!
The c-major scale is usually the first piano scale to learn. Why?
TIP: The c major scale can be used as a “template” when learning the other 12 major music scales, since the pattern of whole and half steps they all share is very easy to see.
In this lesson you will learn how the c major scale is built, what fingering to use and how to best practice it with special exercises.
You'll also earn to play with both hands together in one or two octaves, easy!
A major (or minor scale) has 7 different pitches (notes) organized in a specific pattern of steps, or intervals, between each note.
The steps are either whole steps (two neighboring white keys with a black key in between or reversed), or half steps (two white keys with no black key between or between any neighboring black and white key).
Half steps (or semitones) are the smallest interval on a piano. It's the step from a white key to a black key next to it, or the other way around.
There are two places where the white keys have no black key between them; between E-F and B-C. These are half steps (semitones).
of half (H) and whole (W) steps that create the specific sound of a major scale is organized
On this keyboard you can see how the pattern of whole and half steps (or tones and semitones) looks like in the scale of c major:
Whole steps skip one key between them. In the C major scale (above), you can see that all whole steps have a black key between them.
Starting from the left, between the 3rd and 4th yellow dot, there is only a half step. Likewise between the 7th and 8th dot.
So, starting from C (first dot), the pattern of whole (W) and half (H) steps is:
And that is the major scale pattern!
The major scale has 7 different notes, but since there are only five fingers on each hand (! ) we need some clever piano fingering to be able to play the scale smoothly!
This basic scale fingering is important to learn very well, since you will be using the same fingering in several other scales.
Here is the piano scale fingering for the right hand in 2 octaves:
Here is the piano scale fingering for the left hand in 2 octaves:
playing both hands together first in contrary motion. In this way you will use
the same fingering in both hands but with different notes. Fun!
Playing both hands in parallel motion is a bit sneakier, but start practicing like this:
Piano Exercise 1:
Add on a note!
Piano Exercise 2:
You could repeat the same idea for the descending part of the scale, but here is an exercise that works out that sneaky left hand change after the third finger:
Piano Exercise 3:
Now play slowly the whole scale with both hands parallel in one octave:
If you are just starting out with piano scales, a great beginner resource for adults is: Scale Skills - Technic - Preparatory Level by Keith Snell. (Amazon)