Up until now all of the major scales you learned used the same fingering pattern. The remaining major scales you will be learning in this chapter require different fingering patterns and techniques. Although there are some repetitive patterns between these scales, many are unique in their performance requirements. For this reason, do not attempt these scales until you are very comfortable and proficient with the major scales found in Chapter 8.
Fourth Over Technique
Due to the layout of the black keys on the piano, it is not always possible to use the third over technique when playing scales. Another technique commonly used in scales is to cross your fourth finger over your thumb. This may seem difficult at first, but with practice it will feel as natural as crossing over the third finger. The only difference is that fingers two and three will rise up slightly out of the way to allow room for the fourth finger to cross over the thumb. Remember that the wrist remains straight and parallel to the keyboard at all times when crossing over.
Try this technique on the B major scale, left hand. Note that there are five sharps (black keys): C#, D#, F#, G#, and A#. The left hand starts on the fourth finger and the left pinky doesn't play at all. The left hand fourth finger crosses over the thumb to play the F# note.
FIGURE 12-1: B major scale ascending—left hand fingering
Thumb Under Fourth Technique
The opposite of crossing the fourth finger over the thumb occurs when you tuck the thumb underneath the fourth finger. Perform this maneuver just as you did when tucking the thumb under the third finger, only this time you will tuck a little further. Remember also to move your hand in the direction you are playing so the rest of the fingers fall naturally in place after tucking your thumb under. Try it with the B major scale descending in the left hand.
FIGURE 12-2: B major scale descending—left hand fingering
The B major scale uses the same right hand fingering as the C major scale that is already very familiar to you; only the left hand uses the new techniques. Try playing with both hands together slowly and evenly.
FIGURE 12-3: B major scale ascending and descending—both hands together
The F major scale also makes use of crossing over and tucking under the fourth finger, only this time it is the right hand that uses the new techniques.
Note that this scale has one black key: B .
FIGURE 12-4: F major scale ascending and descending—right hand fingering
Now try the F major scale with both hands. The left hand uses the same C major fingering already familiar to you. Only the right hand uses the new techniques.
FIGURE 12-5: F major scale ascending and descending—both hands together
Why can't I use the same fingering for all the scales?
Due to hand anatomy and keyboard layout it can be awkward to play the black keys with the thumb, which is usually the shortest finger. Scale fingerings are designed to play the black notes with the longer fingers of the hand. Although there are places where it is appropriate to use the thumb on a black key, playing scales is not one of them!