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Piano Fingerings For Major and Minor Scales and Arpeggios

Updated on November 20, 2012
Steinway Grand Piano
Steinway Grand Piano | Source

Piano Fingerings Tutorial

If you are looking for the piano fingerings of major and minor scales scroll past the fingering tutorial to the tables below.


Piano fingerings are used by pianists as a guide to learn music quickly. Scales and arpeggios are musical devices that are frequently used by composers in one variation or another in compositions. Practicing scales and arpeggios are helpful to an aspiring pianist in developing technical competency because they are the building blocks to many compositions.

Numbers are used to represent fingers in piano music. The following numbers correspond to the following fingers:

1=Thumb

2=Index Finger

3=Middle Finger

4=Ring Finger

5=Pinky Finger

Many of the major and minor scales and arpeggios also use the same fingerings. Use the tables below as fingering guides for practicing scales and arpeggios.

This article assumes that the player knows what notes make a scale or arpeggio major or minor and the accidentals that are used in all of the key signatures. If not here are some helpful articles.

To learn how to build major and minor scales, click and read this article.

Note: These are the fingerings I've found to work the best for myself. A lot these are pretty standard, but due to the different shapes and sizes of peoples hands different fingerings for different people may be more appropriate.

Major Scale Fingerings

Scales
Fingerings
C, G, D, A, and E
R.H. - 123 12345
C, G, D, A, and E
L.H. - 54321 321
B
R.H. - 123 12345
B
L.H. - 4321 4321
F
R.H. - 1234 1234
F
L.H. - 54321 321
B-flat
R.H. - 2 123 1234
B-flat
L.H. - 321 4321 2
A-flat
R.H. - 23 123 1234
A-flat
L.H. - 321 4321 2
G-flat/F-sharp
R.H. - 234 123 12
G-flat/F-sharp
L.H. - 4321 321 2
E-flat
R.H. - 2 1234 123
E-flat
L.H. - 321 4321 2
D-flat
R.H. - 23 1234 12
D-flat
L.H. - 321 4321 2

Minor Scale Fingerings

Scales
Fingerings
C, G, D, A, E
R.H. - 123 12345
C, G, D, A, E
L.H. - 54321 321
E-flat
R.H. - 3 1234 123
E-flat
L.H. - 21 4321 32
B-flat
R.H. - 2 123 1234
B-flat
L.H. - 21 321 432
F
R.H. - 1234 1234
F
L.H. - 54321 321
F-sharp
R.H. - 34 123 123
F-sharp
L.H. - 4321 321 4
C-sharp
R.H. - 34 123 123
C-sharp
L.H. - 321 4321 3
B
R.H. - 123 12345
B
L.H. - 4321 4321
G-sharp
R.H. - 23 123 123
G-sharp
L.H. - 321 4321 3

Major Arpeggio Fingerings

Arpeggios
Fingerings
C, G, D, A, E, B, F-sharp, F
R.H. - 123 1235 (up) 532 321(down)
C, G, D, A, E, B, F-sharp, F
L.H. - 5421 421(up) 124 1245(down) or 5321 321(up) 123 1235(down)
E-flat, A-flat, D-flat
R.H. - 2 124 124 (up) 421 421 2(down)
E-flat, A-flat, D-flat
L.H. - 21 421 42(up) 24 124 12(down)
B-flat
R.H. - 2 124 124(up) 421 421 2(down)
B-flat
L.H. - 321 321 2(up) 21 23 123(down)
Arpeggio fingerings are meant to played over a span of two octaves. These fingerings have the top note of the arpeggio listed twice.

Minor Arpeggio Fingerings

Arpeggios
Fingerings
A, E, B, D, G, C, F-sharp, F
R.H. - 123 1235 (up) 532 321(down)
A, E, B, D, G, C, F-sharp, F
L.H. - 5421 421(up) 124 1245(down) or 5321 321(up) 123 1235(down)
F-sharp, C-sharp, G-sharp
R.H. - 2 124 124 (up) 421 421 2(down)
F-sharp, C-sharp, G-sharp
L.H. - 21 421 42(up) 24 124 12(down)
B-flat
R.H. - 23 123 12(up) 21 321 32(down)
B-flat
L.H. - 321 321 2(up) 2 123 123(down)
Arpeggio fingerings are meant to played over a span of two octaves. These fingerings have the top note of the arpeggio listed twice.

Practicing Scales and Arpeggios

Scales can be practiced starting with just one octave, with the goal being to practice the scales through four octaves. The last number on the fingering tables for the scales is meant to be the last note played ascending. This number will be different for some of the scales if you are doing multiple octaves. Descending scale fingerings are the same, but backwards.

Arpeggios can be started at one octave and should eventually be practiced up to two octaves. Fingering is listed for two octaves ascending and descending for arpeggios.

Practice scales and arpeggios slowly and increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the fingerings. A good tempo to shoot for on scales is half note = 88, with the eighth note being the common denominator. A good tempo to shoot for on arpeggios is half note = 66, again with the eighth note being the common denominator. These tempo recommendations come from the ABRSM, a standardized pedagogical method for learning classical piano. As far as tempo goes, you should feel free to attempt any tempo you want.


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