252 • Chromatic scales fingerings

Fingerings for scales, arpeggios, and more generally passages are principally based on groups or clusters. Clusters are based on the notes lying under one hand (or fist, as Beethoven termed it), a thumb transition usually defines a new cluster. The more clusters in a passage, the higher the possible resolution for articulation; the fewer, the higher the possible speed. Seek to understand the underlying fingering principles of clusters and apply accordingly.

Chromatic scales fingerings:

The obvious:
R.h. up starting on C: 1313 123 1313 123 13123 13131 c (2 instead of 1)
R.h. down starting on c: 21 3131 321 31321 3131 321 313 C

The refined:
R.h. up starting on C: 1213 123 1213 12313 123 1213 1 c (23 instead of 12)
R.h. down starting on c: 21 3121 321 31321 3121 321 313 C
Fingers 2 and 3 on black keys clusters, e.g. c#d#.

The excellent:
R.h. up starting on C: 1234 123 1234 123 123 1234 123 c
R.h. down starting on c: 4321 4321 321 321 4321 321 432 C (1 instead of 4)

The extremely fast:
R.h. up starting on C: 1234 12345 123 1234 12345 123 c
R.h. down starting on c: 4321 54321 4321 321 54321 432 C

Exercise the Chromatic Quintipede: R.h. up starting on C: 12345, C# 12345, D 12345, D# 12345, E 12345, &cetera and back.

Preparation for polydactyla (e.g. chromatic thirds):

R.h. lower fingers from C up: 1212(slide)2 121212(slide)2 c
R.h. lower fingers from C down: 2121212(slide)21 212(slide) c

R.h. upper fingers from C up: 434345 343434 c (5 instead of 4)
R.h. upper fingers from C down: 5435353 54353 c

Chromatic minor thirds scale:
R.h up starting on C/Eb: 1/3 2/4 1/5 2/3 2/4 1/3 2/4 1/3 2/4 1/5 2/3 2/4 c/eb

Less elegant alternative:
R.h up starting on C/Eb: 1/3 2/4 1/5 2/3 1/4 1/3 2/4 1/3 2/4 1/5 2/3 1/4 c/eb

In polydactyla passages such as thirds scales it is very helpful to practice (and play) the upper (leading) voice legato and the lower voice non legato.

See: 248 • Diatonic thirds scale fingerings

Left hand fingerings obey the same principle, i.e. r.h. fingerings, in inverted mirror.


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