Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#1250403 - 08/16/09 05:58 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Gyro]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
How do you know that "most people don't like scales"?
Where did you get that information?
I love 'em and a practice session for me without scales is not complete. Many pianists I know share this love of scales and need to play them.
C major scale fingering is not traditionally correct for all other scales. Example: any beginning on a black key.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#1250417 - 08/16/09 06:41 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Barb860]
EDWARDIAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
Thank you, Barb!

Part of the reason to practice scales is to get the right fingering, because the correct fingering makes them easier to play. Playing scales helps develop good fingering. And good fingering, comfortable fingering promotes better playing!

Playing scales helps a student recognize key signatures more easily and know which notes are sharp or flat. As J Cortese says, knowing the landscape, the geography.

But many others have stated the benefits above more eloquently, and I don't want to be redundant.

Eat your spinach! Practice your scales! It's good for you. shocked
_________________________
Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com

Top
#1250421 - 08/16/09 06:45 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Barb860]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Barb860

C major scale fingering is not traditionally correct for all other scales. Example: any beginning on a black key.


Depends how you think about it.

If you just repeat 1231234 indefinitely, then all scales can be fingered the same. The only difference is which finger you start on (and you choose that to make sure the correct finger hits the black keys). So then yes, all major scales use C major fingering. Though you may never see that fingering in repertoire.

Quote:
When you practice scales in order to make your scales better, then it's pretty much pointless, because good scales aren't really all that interesting.

But when you use scales to practice all those other things, then it's extremely valuable and very efficient, because the things you can learn while working on scales can make everything you do at the piano better.


I like this comment from Kreisler. I think it dispels some of the myths about what scales do. And it points out that scales aren't likely to help much, unless you practice them with the correct intent. We tend to treat scales as magic: play them enough, and you'll learn transferable skills, regardless of how you do them. Probably not true for most people.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1250520 - 08/16/09 11:12 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Gyro]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I would like to give a little help to anyone perplexed about starting scales on a black notes. There are "rules" about fingering black notes - and no one seems to have mentioned it - so perhaps it's not as well known as I think it should be.

If a piano teacher doesn't know such things, who would?

|_||_| 2 black keys
Place Right Hand Fingers 2 and 3
Place Left Hand Fingers 3 and 4

|_||_||_| 3 black keys
Place Right Hand Fingers 2-3-4
Place Left Hand Fingers 4-3-2

Whenever starting on one of these black keys, use the above assigned fingers and carry through with the 123,1234 fingering that Tim was recommending depending where in the sequence your scale began. Check this out by doing it one hand at a time to verify your understanding of what is being said here by 1)me, and 2) by Tim.

Remember that with the white key starts, the fingering of the scales are the same: C, G, D, A, E
Right Hand: 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
Left Hand : 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1

The fingering exceptions start with:
the Major Scale of B - where the LH finger on B is 4
the Major Scale of F - where the RH finger on Bb is 4.

I hope you have fun discovering this and making it your own. If you are serious about wanting to improve and be comprehensive with your scale work, this information should be exactly what you need to make sense of it.

The other way I would teach Major Scales would be to teach you by tetrachord formation. This formula confirms all there is to know about how to create a Major Scale.

Another comment I would make is a personal opinion that if you have not completed your 5 Finger Positions first, and then your Major Scales second, and been accurate in each of those scales, then you should NOT be working on any other scales, such as relative/harmonic/melodic minors yet. If you can't find the letter names nor the fingering of the major scales you should definitely stick with those first before moving on. There are 12 Major Scales because there are 7 white notes and 5 black notes in every octave, he distance a Major Scale travels. The 8th degree, the octave is a repeat of the first degree of each scale.

Do you know about scale degress? They are another worthwhile part of music theory that helps you to greatly understand the construction of a major scale as are the tetrachords.

I am always ready to be helpful. But one of the parts of instruction given by a professional experienced piano teacher is that you would be expected to follow thru with the instruction as given. This, in my opinion, is one of the most misunderstood parts of piano lessons.

There is much structure and foundation to everything we do in music and the road to incredible knowledge about the music staff, the keyboard, sound reproduction, technique, and sensational abilities at the keyboard is because the student accepted and followed the challenge with a piano teachers guidance to become fully versative with music theory.

Forgive me my opinion if it seems in excess of yours. I stand by mine because I have lived them, learned from them, and met the challenges that were before me. I hope that each of you who consider yourselves to be a serious learner can get to this point of discovery as it's one of the best adventures in music study to be one of the "in" crowd.

I hope you take my posting with the enthusiasm that it is being given. Don't waste your time moping and being stuck, there is a "fix" for it. It is following the process of learning in a structured and disciplined way. I think the eagle eyes of a teacher have helped many a developing pianist from going astray. But let's remember, too, that all piano teachers are not created equally - so find yourself a very good one, the best your budget can afford. I suggest that students should ditch the quasi-teachers as soon as they recognize they have one.


Edited by Betty Patnude (08/16/09 11:18 PM)

Top
#1250620 - 08/17/09 06:40 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Betty Patnude]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Nice clear explanation of scale fingering! It should probably be at the beginning of each scale book the teacher hands out.

Instead, the books have the fingerings written in, with no explanation of why. To me that makes it hard to remember how to finger them, whereas if you understand why you can always figure it out.

At the risk of adding confusion: if you follow Betty's directions, there are a couple of scales that can be fingered more than one way, and a nonstandard fingering fits the rules slightly better. The difference is small. Some teachers are a stickler for the "book" solution, others not. My teacher said my fingering was wrong - but she was happy enough I was practicing she overlooked it. I would have done it her way if it really bothered her, but we both had a sense of humor about it.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1250701 - 08/17/09 10:16 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Akira]
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 548
Loc: Japan
Susan, you have the right attitude. Because scales do more than exercise fingers. They teach the vocabulary of music theory too. And scales are allied to appreggios and inversions in all keys. Yes, the circle of fifths is a component in all music and is used by most composers from Debussy to Count Basie et al. By practicing inversions and scales through the Circle of Fifths the music student becomes a fluent musician and sight reader with technical confidence to handle most music.

The practice of scales should not of course be unmusical. And you shouldn't grind away at them at the expense of repertoire. Beethoven famously said that in order to play his sonatas all you needed was the ability to play the C Major scale. Of course, the C Major is the most difficult for reasons explained by Gyro. But, I happen to love scales with my ears as much as my fingers. And I like to choose pieces which have nice scales in them. I am currently working on Chopin Polonaise Opus 53 and Liszt's Un Sospiro. We're talking scales here and I can't get enough of them.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

Top
#1250713 - 08/17/09 10:43 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Arabesque]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Arabesque
Of course, the C Major is the most difficult for reasons explained by Gyro.

Even if C major is arguably the most difficult scale, I don't think it has anything to do with the reasons cited (i.e., "black keys to give tactile and visual reference points for your fingers"). Instead, I believe it's the most uncomfortable because the fingers are constrained to the front ends of the keytops; the shape of the hands is unnatural, and the thumb consequently has the most limited space in which to pass under the other fingers.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1250760 - 08/17/09 11:53 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: sotto voce]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Instead, I believe it's the most uncomfortable because the fingers are constrained to the front ends of the keytops; the shape of the hands is unnatural, and the thumb consequently has the most limited space in which to pass under the other fingers.

Steven


Hmm. Seems like a pretty good argument for using C major to teach thumb over instead, then.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1250808 - 08/17/09 01:39 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: TimR]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
The C Major Scale

|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|
C D E F G A B C (Letter Names)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (Degrees)

When we look at the Key of C, there are 8 adjacent white notes in the octave with a group of 2 black notes and a group of 3 black notes interspersed. Measure it off and really look at it to understand it's composition please.

From the 3rd to the 4th degree and from the 7th to the 8 degree we see adjacent white notes without black notes. These are half steps. The definition of whole step is 2 half steps.

The "tetrachord" formula creates the major scale:
* W W H + W W W W
1 2 3 4 - 5 6 7 9 (Degrees)

To create tetrachords on the piano I recommend using certain fingering:
LH 5 4 3 2 - RH 2 3 4 5
Thumbs are not used for this mental and physical exercise which is finding the notes to be played within the major scale.

* simply represents that this is the "keynote", the note that you are building the major scale on.

Now that we can work with the major scale and SEE the tetrachord formation we learn that the group of 2 black notes have 3 white notes directly in front of them: CDE (See this as a unit)

The 3 black notes have 4 white notes directly in front of them: FGAB (See this as a unit)

White note fingering of the C Major Scale is now determined by the above discovery: RH 1 2 3 - 1 2 3 4 (continously played through other octaves until stopped by the 5th finger completing the last C.)

To teach the LH it's fingering (because of opposing thumbs on our hands), place both thumbs on Middle C and play in opposite directions using the established RH finger to call out the fingering choices for both hands.

Middle C is the "keynote" with thumbs placed "piggyback" upon it.

Say and Play:
(1)2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
Both hands are moving away from the middle in contrary motion.

This creates a range of 5 C's (Middle C/Space C's/Leger Line C's
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B (C) D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 (1) 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

Then examine the LH fingering as it appears from the bottom note to the top note in it's range:
5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 LH

You have proven the fingering through use of the contrary motion system which accounts for the opposing fingers.

In Parallel Motion:
LH 5 starts on the lowest C while RH 5 ends at the highest C
(1) 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 (1)

(1) expresses Middle C

Put these 2 strings of numbers side by side and you have the:
5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5

All this to make my point that this is an essential 1st scale to learn because of it's visual transfer of information.

It is also as mentioned more constricting in hand shape and finger motions that other positions where the elevation of a finger to a black note seems to be more comfortable to many people.

But, it simply seems that way - it is not harder to play.

The undiscipline piano hand as well as the undisciplined mind can not accomodate this pianist requirement. It is only through training and drilling of the scales, starting with the C Major which holds all white notes, that we can make ourselves versatile in thinking and doing major scales. The most skillful of pianists get that way because of their uncomplaining adherance to the music theory system which is based on mathematics and science over and over again.

Human preferances have little to do with the scope and domain of how things are organized on the piano. The graphics of the keyboard require certain shapings of our hands and extentions or contractions of our fingers relating closely to physics.

I could go on and on, but I bet the reader cannot. This is all learned over time and through experience. Looking quickly at a book and impatiently playing through the way you think you see it is not good enough. This is drill time such as learned in the military - the "boot camp" process.

These extreme requirements are probably why most people are not able to completely get the process and the sound of it. Physical d exterity, agilily, flexibility, fluency, strength as well as mental comprehension of the task would be the result of a very good accomplishment of major scales. All 12 of them in sound-pitch, but to make things more interesting, then spelled enharmonically to include more than one naming for the same sound.

I offer this in the hopes of others gaining perspective of how the piano learning systems can work for them.

Top
#1250826 - 08/17/09 02:14 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Betty Patnude]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hm ... I'm curious as to how much of this I'll remember when I buy my clav, now that I think about it!
_________________________
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

Top
#1250834 - 08/17/09 02:23 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Betty Patnude]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5497
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
. . . The most skillful of pianists get that way because of their uncomplaining adherance to the music theory system which is based on mathematics and science over and over again.
. . .
The graphics of the keyboard require certain shapings of our hands and extentions or contractions of our fingers relating closely to physics.

I could go on and on, . . .


Please do. I'd love to know more about the mathematics, science, and physics of music theory and playing the piano, and how you use them when you're teaching smile

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#1250849 - 08/17/09 03:04 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: J Cortese]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It's not what you remember from reading, it's what you have learned and acquired by diligent and thorough work and experience with the learning systems of music comprehension.

I would not have known a thing about it from my music lessons from age 9-15. I had a one year theory class in high school taught from a band instrument perspective. It was not until I studied pedagogy as an adult piano teacher that I learned what I now know about teaching piano. It was a many years process. The best way of accumulating knowledge is to start at the most simple place and increasingly, one step at a time, add to your basic knowledge.

I would not expect anyone to digest this chunk of information at one time, as I said, it's growth and understanding over time and effort. Curiosity helps too. Music is a highly evolved structured series of process. It can be reduced to simple levels of learning to play without having much information compared to the dearth of information that is available. I am not an academic scholar but I am an experienced teacher of 38 years with students from beginning to advanced, some studying 8 years or more with me. With this kind of commitment on their part, the technique and the theory come into learning and practice and I teach to the musician and the music combined for musical comprehension and analysis.

Dedication to the art form will get you there, or you may be happy with less of the background, and more of playing your favorites.

The problem comes when people learn at little and make misapplications about music: Stephen Hawking made a comment about knowledge in general, which also applies to music - "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

Again, I hope the partakers of such that I've focused on becomes more clear, and to those who are having nothing of it, please continue onward without me.

please add me to your buddy list if you find some of my postings helpful to you, or use private messages.

Top
#1250880 - 08/17/09 04:19 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Betty Patnude]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'm talking about remembering it from my youth. I took a lot of this stuff in with my mother's milk, but it's been a while since I've sat down at a piano. I'm not sure how much will come back and where the gaps in my memory will be. But I began fairly young-ish (ten years old) and continued for a very long time to become a fairly advanced player. I'm just wondering what my hands will recall after more than fifteen years of inactivity.
_________________________
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

Top
#1250889 - 08/17/09 04:39 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: J Cortese]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5497
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
It's not what you remember from reading, it's what you have learned and acquired by diligent and thorough work and experience with the learning systems of music comprehension.

I would not have known a thing about it from my music lessons from age 9-15. I had a one year theory class in high school taught from a band instrument perspective.


Yeah, I only had piano lessons from, I think, 13 to 15 - a couple of years in my early teens, anyway - and I don't remember learning music theory (or math, science, or physics) from them, either (which is not to say my piano teacher didn't try to teach them! But I didn't learn them then). But if you're saying that one can learn the "science, mathematics, and physics", which is what I asked about, only thru "learning systems of music comprehension" (I'm not actually sure what you mean by that phrase) I'm not sure I can agree. Actually, I simply don't know what you've said here that is applicable to my question.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
It was not until I studied pedagogy as an adult piano teacher that I learned what I now know about teaching piano. It was a many years process. The best way of accumulating knowledge is to start at the most simple place and increasingly, one step at a time, add to your basic knowledge.


So, did you learn about the math, science, and physics of music, which is what I asked about, from your piano pedagogy studies, and if yes, what did you learn?

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I would not expect anyone to digest this chunk of information at one time, as I said, it's growth and understanding over time and effort.


*I'm* not actually attempting to learn it all at one time. I already have an undergraduate degree in math, I've been playing piano pretty steadily for more than 20 years and on and off for more than that, and I do have some freshman level physics and music theory courses under my belt, along with the music theory that I've learned from fellow musicians and other sources as I actually play music, so I think that you don't have to fear overwhelming me or confusing me with the math, science, and physics that you've learned while teaching piano. So, please, feel free to post that knowledge. If I have questions, I'll ask.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Curiosity helps too.


I have a pretty high level of curiosity. I've learned a lot of things outside of formal studies, as well as beyond the formal class work when I'm in formal studies. So again, I think I'll be ok if you post your knowledge. I've got the curiosity part.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Music is a highly evolved structured series of process. It can be reduced to simple levels of learning to play without having much information compared to the dearth of information that is available.


But a dearth information *is* "not much information." So when one compares not having much information with the dearth of information out there, why, one finds they might have all of the information which is available. Hm.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I am not an academic scholar but I am an experienced teacher of 38 years with students from beginning to advanced, some studying 8 years or more with me. With this kind of commitment on their part, the technique and the theory come into learning and practice and I teach to the musician and the music combined for musical comprehension and analysis.


I haven't questioned how many years of teaching experience you have, or that you have learned, each year you have taught, more about teaching. I haven't asked whether or not most, or even all, of your students stay with you for a long time. What I want to know, since you mention it often, is: what science, math, and physics you know, how you use it in your teaching, and, if you don't directly use it in your teaching, how does the knowledge you have (which you have not been specific about) inform your teaching. At least so far your reply has not addressed that question.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Dedication to the art form will get you there, or you may be happy with less of the background, and more of playing your favorites.


Get me where? Playing *not* my favorites rather than playing my favorites? :insert scratching head icon here:

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
The problem comes when people learn at little and make misapplications about music:


I didn't know we were talking about a problem. Which problem do you think we're talking about?

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Stephen Hawking made a comment about knowledge in general, which also applies to music - "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."


I couldn't agree more.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Again, I hope the partakers of such that I've focused on becomes more clear, and to those who are having nothing of it, please continue onward without me.

please add me to your buddy list if you find some of my postings helpful to you, or use private messages.


I'm not sure what you've focused on, but as far as I can tell it wasn't an answer to the question I asked frown

My apologies if, in fact, you weren't addressing my question. I just thought you intended to do that since my question was the last post in this thread before your last post. Perhaps I was mistaken.

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#1250894 - 08/17/09 04:45 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: jotur]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hm, we may have had crossed wires here ... I saw "Re: J Cortese" in the header of her note, and thought she was replying to me.

<lolcat>THREADING WE NEEDZ IT</lolcat>
_________________________
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

Top
#1250895 - 08/17/09 04:45 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Akira]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Akira
I'm wondering if some of you teachers can help me over this hurdle?

I am just not seeing any benefit to practicing scales. Because I hate them, I find myself not practicing them everyday, trying to cram one weeks worth or practice into the morning of my lesson. Of course, as expected, its a disaster during the lesson. I think if I understood the "why," it would help with the motivation and practice. My teacher's explanation of the benefits have left unconvinced and I feel like I'm wasting my time. I know everybody (or at least, most people) practices them, but I just dislike doing them. Yes, I know like I sound like seven year old boy, complaining about eating his vegetables.

Any insights you may have to offer is appreciated.

Akira,

No need to practice scales. Just familiarize yourself with them and know them. But, if you're going the classical route, it's part of the whole classical enchillda. No way around it really.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

Top
#1250896 - 08/17/09 04:49 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: J Cortese]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5497
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: J Cortese
Hm, we may have had crossed wires here ... I saw "Re: J Cortese" in the header of her note, and thought she was replying to me.

<lolcat>THREADING WE NEEDZ IT</lolcat>


Perhaps that explains it smile

Cathy
_________________________

Top
#1250905 - 08/17/09 04:58 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: jotur]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Just FYI, I think this thread has renewed some interest in a little booklet I put together for some of my adult students a while back.

In case others may find it interesting:

http://www.box.net/shared/i87zfua2oc
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

Top
#1250915 - 08/17/09 05:17 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Kreisler]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks for that -- I apparently do recall more than I thought. Sitting 2-3-4 and 2-3 on top of the two groups of black keys essentially defines the scale fingering when substantial numbers of black keys start showing up.
_________________________
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

Top
#1250939 - 08/17/09 05:44 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Nikalette]
AC26XP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 60
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Nikalette
It's a lot more fun to practice blues scales and pentatonic scales over chords, than 2 handed scales.
Not a bad idea.
Any links to sheet music for this kind of LH chord and RH scales play ?
I am too early in my development (page 81 of Alfred's 1) to know that many chords to improvise, so sheet music would help in LH chord to individual RH note association.

Thanks,
AC

Top
#1251055 - 08/17/09 09:46 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: J Cortese]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: J Cortese
Hm, we may have had crossed wires here ... I saw "Re: J Cortese" in the header of her note, and thought she was replying to me.

<lolcat>THREADING WE NEEDZ IT</lolcat>


Yes, J Cortese, it was to you that I was replying.

Top
#1251182 - 08/18/09 06:46 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: J Cortese]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: J Cortese
Thanks for that -- I apparently do recall more than I thought. Sitting 2-3-4 and 2-3 on top of the two groups of black keys essentially defines the scale fingering when substantial numbers of black keys start showing up.


Yes, that is the way I do that.

But curiously, since you are replying to Kreisler, you didn't notice that he did not.

(nice job on those graphics, by the way, I'm in awe)

But anyway, if you sit 2-3-4 as you say, which would be 4-3-2 in the left hand, you will use a different fingering than he does on G, D, and A major. Specifically you will start G 3-2-1, D 2-1-4, and A 2-1-3. After that of course the pattern of 4-3-2-1-3-2-1 continues, just as in C major.

That's what I do. I think it's a tiny bit better. Not enough better to really matter, in the large scheme of things, given how little of the repertoire uses the scale fingerings; but it makes it easier for me to remember or recalculate as i work my way through the scales. And it makes a little bit more sense to me, because I start each scale on each degree, and the modes line up better this way.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1251198 - 08/18/09 07:40 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: TimR]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: J Cortese
Thanks for that -- I apparently do recall more than I thought. Sitting 2-3-4 and 2-3 on top of the two groups of black keys essentially defines the scale fingering when substantial numbers of black keys start showing up.


Yes, that is the way I do that.

But curiously, since you are replying to Kreisler, you didn't notice that he did not.

(nice job on those graphics, by the way, I'm in awe)

But anyway, if you sit 2-3-4 as you say, which would be 4-3-2 in the left hand, you will use a different fingering than he does on G, D, and A major. Specifically you will start G 3-2-1, D 2-1-4, and A 2-1-3. After that of course the pattern of 4-3-2-1-3-2-1 continues, just as in C major.

That's what I do. I think it's a tiny bit better. Not enough better to really matter, in the large scheme of things, given how little of the repertoire uses the scale fingerings; but it makes it easier for me to remember or recalculate as i work my way through the scales. And it makes a little bit more sense to me, because I start each scale on each degree, and the modes line up better this way.


In my experience, the standard fingering for such simple keys as G major and D major is an absolute prerequisite for the classical repetoire. A considerable amount of music was written with it in mind. Composers didn't just write notes randomly. They sculpted them to fit their techniques. Classical sonatas are frequently absolutely dependent upon regular fingerings. That is why I would never recommend learning variant fingering of standard white note scales, unless the standard 343 pattern is learned first. There's a good reason why this is the normal fingering- because, judging how most composers wrote their music, it was the most 'normal' fingering for them. Nobody should ever be limited by a single way of playing a particular scale, but if the regular pattern is not 2nd nature, you will find an awful lot of music where having learned an odd fingering causes a disadvantage.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1251220 - 08/18/09 08:55 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: TimR

Yes, that is the way I do that.

But curiously, since you are replying to Kreisler, you didn't notice that he did not.

(nice job on those graphics, by the way, I'm in awe)

But anyway, if you sit 2-3-4 as you say, which would be 4-3-2 in the left hand, you will use a different fingering than he does on G, D, and A major. Specifically you will start G 3-2-1, D 2-1-4, and A 2-1-3. After that of course the pattern of 4-3-2-1-3-2-1 continues, just as in C major.



In my experience, the standard fingering for such simple keys as G major and D major is an absolute prerequisite for the classical repetoire. A considerable amount of music was written with it in mind. Composers didn't just write notes randomly. They sculpted them to fit their techniques. Classical sonatas are frequently absolutely dependent upon regular fingerings.


I think that is probably wrong. I can't be sure, I don't know the repertoire as well as you, but it doesn't make common sense for two reasons.

One is the rarity of scale passages of octave length and greater in the repertoire, particularly in the left hand, particularly with no other notes in that hand so that a scale fingering would be used. Where you do see scalar fragments, the context more often leads to an alternate fingering. In fact, if standard scale fingering worked very often in music, beginners would not be in the constant state of fingering confusion they normally are in. This is unique to piano. On monotonic instruments, the fingering pattern learned for a given key normally works well for the repertoire in that key, outside of trill fingerings, intonation problems, etc.

So my first objection is to your claim of widespread scale use - I perceive far more examples of nonscale fingering patterns than scalar, at least in the beginner-intermediate levels.

But my second objection, or maybe more of a question, is to your assertion that THE standard fingering is the 5-4-3 that Kreisler posted, as opposed to the 3-2-1 or 2-1-4 or 2-1-3 that I posted for those left hand scales. (Clearly the biggest differences are in those 3 left hand major scales. Both fingerings follow the rules for avoiding thumbs on black keys, just in a different way.) I didn't invent them; they have long been known. I am not sure which fingering pattern the great composers had in mind. I know that somewhere down the road, probably based on Hanon's book, those 5-4-3 fingerings got codified as correct, but there has always been room for disagreement.

So I would challenge you as an expert in the repertoire. In the keys of G, D, and A, where the alternate left hand fingerings are the most common, show us repertoire examples where 5-4-3 is superior to the alternate choices cited. You are claiming, I think, that these choices are always or at least usually superior, and the alternates won't work. This just doesn't seem likely to me.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1251229 - 08/18/09 09:22 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17770
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
There are 12 Major Scales because there are 7 white notes and 5 black notes in every octave, he distance a Major Scale travels.


I'm guessing you didn't really mean to phrase it this way. The fact that there are 12 major scales is NOT because there are "7 white notes and 5 black notes" in every octave. Obviously the whiteness and blackness of the keys (not notes) is (a) completely arbitrary, and (b) limited to keyboard instruments, whereas the octave and the 12 major scales common to Western music is applicable to virtually all instruments.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#1251238 - 08/18/09 09:41 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: TimR]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: TimR

Yes, that is the way I do that.

But curiously, since you are replying to Kreisler, you didn't notice that he did not.

(nice job on those graphics, by the way, I'm in awe)

But anyway, if you sit 2-3-4 as you say, which would be 4-3-2 in the left hand, you will use a different fingering than he does on G, D, and A major. Specifically you will start G 3-2-1, D 2-1-4, and A 2-1-3. After that of course the pattern of 4-3-2-1-3-2-1 continues, just as in C major.



In my experience, the standard fingering for such simple keys as G major and D major is an absolute prerequisite for the classical repetoire. A considerable amount of music was written with it in mind. Composers didn't just write notes randomly. They sculpted them to fit their techniques. Classical sonatas are frequently absolutely dependent upon regular fingerings.


I think that is probably wrong. I can't be sure, I don't know the repertoire as well as you, but it doesn't make common sense for two reasons.

One is the rarity of scale passages of octave length and greater in the repertoire, particularly in the left hand, particularly with no other notes in that hand so that a scale fingering would be used. Where you do see scalar fragments, the context more often leads to an alternate fingering. In fact, if standard scale fingering worked very often in music, beginners would not be in the constant state of fingering confusion they normally are in. This is unique to piano. On monotonic instruments, the fingering pattern learned for a given key normally works well for the repertoire in that key, outside of trill fingerings, intonation problems, etc.

So my first objection is to your claim of widespread scale use - I perceive far more examples of nonscale fingering patterns than scalar, at least in the beginner-intermediate levels.

But my second objection, or maybe more of a question, is to your assertion that THE standard fingering is the 5-4-3 that Kreisler posted, as opposed to the 3-2-1 or 2-1-4 or 2-1-3 that I posted for those left hand scales. (Clearly the biggest differences are in those 3 left hand major scales. Both fingerings follow the rules for avoiding thumbs on black keys, just in a different way.) I didn't invent them; they have long been known. I am not sure which fingering pattern the great composers had in mind. I know that somewhere down the road, probably based on Hanon's book, those 5-4-3 fingerings got codified as correct, but there has always been room for disagreement.

So I would challenge you as an expert in the repertoire. In the keys of G, D, and A, where the alternate left hand fingerings are the most common, show us repertoire examples where 5-4-3 is superior to the alternate choices cited. You are claiming, I think, that these choices are always or at least usually superior, and the alternates won't work. This just doesn't seem likely to me.


Some fair points, certainly. But what happens in the countless instances where composers run a standard scale from tonic to tonic? Why contort yourself with unusual hand positions? Why not start with the beginning side of the hand and finish with the end of the hand? Similarly, why learn the complex coordination to get both hands working against each other?

If you learn a non-standard pattern, you can guarantee that you will need to use a standard pattern for works by Mozart and Beethoven- some of the time, at least. Sure there will also be variants, but it makes more sense to see these as variants- rather than be confused when you end up needing to play a simple G major scale with a simple 343 fingering.

There's nothing faintly confusing about the simplicity of 343 patterns (in which the tonic is ALWAYS anchored around thumbs- rather than on a different finger each time). However, I should find it very confusing to be told to start and finish on an odd number of fingers- before ending up needing to use something much more simple, when music demands it.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/18/09 09:43 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

Top
#1251304 - 08/18/09 11:34 AM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
J Cortese cited the guiding principle here—the consistency of 4-3-2 and 3-2 for the black keys in the left hand and 2-3-4 and 2-3 in the right hand—as "defin[ing] the scale fingering when substantial numbers of black keys start showing up" in the key signature. Perhaps it wasn't meant to apply to G, D and A major, then?

Kreisler, if you're still following the discussion: I noticed in your booklet that the B-flat major scale begins on 4 for the right hand and ends on 2. Was that intentional?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1251320 - 08/18/09 12:05 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: Monica K.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
There are 12 Major Scales because there are 7 white notes and 5 black notes in every octave, the distance a Major Scale travels.


Monica: I'm guessing you didn't really mean to phrase it this way.

Betty: I did mean to phrase it the way I phrased it. Keys are often called "notes" by students and teachers alike since they represent locations of letter names from the music staff and they also represent the actual "key" that is touched on the piano.

Another way of saying it is: 7 white keys and 5 black keys represent 12 half steps of pitch within an octave. Any major scale you play will have the same combination of 7 white and 5 black. The starting note can be any one of the 12 notes within an octave. Order and exact keys/notes of their appearance depends on exact placement using the major scale formula of 2 tetrachords.

Monica: The fact that there are 12 major scales is NOT because there are "7 white notes and 5 black notes" in every octave.

Betty: You don't seem to understand the point, Monica. There are ONLY 12 choices of location to build a major scale of SOUND upon in music theory. The 7 and the 5 are all that we have in any one octave. What you name them (enharmonics)creates different spellings of the same pattern of notes in that you play the same notes, the sound is the same, but the letter names are different because of the key signature you choose to use. We are not limited to 12 half steps - we have incredible opportunites because of 12 half steps. In Major Scales there are "only" 7 letter names to represent the notes being played out in the octave. The 8th degree is a repeat of the 1st which is the definition of an octave ("octo" = 8)(Let's stay with one octave for this discussion.)

Monica: Obviously the whiteness and blackness of the keys (not notes) is (a) completely arbitrary, and (b) limited to keyboard instruments, whereas the octave and the 12 major scales common to Western music is applicable to virtually all instruments.


Betty: Music is structured consistently according to organized, structured, patterned music theory and music is music regardless of the instrument being used. Different clefs are used for some instruments, for instance. Different instruments had different ranges, also.

Of great importance: The keyboard is the place where music theory was established - everything about the keyboard is an example of the many different things employed in the building of the instrument and in the "rules" (which are really mathematical and scientific in form using acoustics and physics, and spatial relationships. The early theorist were keyboard teachers and composers, most notably Bach and Rameau. The theories they wrote in the Baroque period are tried and true and remain the basic foundation of all that can be explained musically. Other instruments developed later and do use/borrow these theories and information for the teaching and playing of the specific instrument. (Saxophone "speak"; Clarinet "speak", Vioin "speak", Choral "speak", etc.)

Monica: The fact that there are 12 major scales is NOT because there are "7 white notes and 5 black notes" in every octave.

Betty: I didn't say "because" - your interpretaion is not a valid conclusion. I am saying in every octave there are 7 white notes and 5 black notes from which to choose the makings of a major scale. Start on any of the 12 notes to create a major scale. Our "model" is best encompassed in the Key of C as I had previously explained for visualization in making fingering choices that will fit the human hand best. Any of the 12 keys are available to us to work with as a designated "key". (Tonic center.)

Monica: Obviously the whiteness and blackness of the keys (not notes) is (a) completely arbitrary, and (b) limited to keyboard instruments, whereas the octave and the 12 major scales common to Western music is applicable to virtually all instruments. [/quote]

Betty: Obviously? Arbitrary? Limited? I would never use those words! The keyboard, the music staff, music theory are planned, designed, developed, have stood the test of time, are of genius proportions. Every thing there is essential.

Again, the keyboard is the root of everything that has been said about music.

Stephen Hawkin's quote says it all -
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

I would add, that the misunderstanding of music theory by people who continue to misunderstand and to a point reject music theory, also feel that music theory is open to interpretation is a sad thing for me to witness. The opportunities to learn are often very evident in Piano World Forum, likewise the inept explanations of certain posters bog down and misdirect us to extremely inaccurate and misleading information.

To me music theory it is as solid as the law of gravity. I worked to understand it and make use of it in my piano playing. I'm not the academic expert as I've said, but I find myself defending music literacy too frequently here usually from the same posters. If a bottom line of piano study included the learning and using of music theory, we would not be having these "dissecting" Betty contests which have become some people's hobbies. Instead of helping to enlighten readers my postings then take on a new life as "fodder" for those self-employed, even enthusiastic posters who are busy dissecting me and my words. Unfortunate for all of us.

Top
#1251329 - 08/18/09 12:26 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: sotto voce]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
J Cortese cited the guiding principle here—the consistency of 4-3-2 and 3-2 for the black keys in the left hand and 2-3-4 and 2-3 in the right hand—as "defin[ing] the scale fingering when substantial numbers of black keys start showing up" in the key signature. Perhaps it wasn't meant to apply to G, D and A major, then?


Correct. G, D, and A (and even E) are sort of the garden variety mostly-white-key fingerings to me. It's when you have to move your hand up that the 2-3-4 and 2-3 business starts acting like the home keys on a typewriter.


Edited by J Cortese (08/18/09 12:27 PM)
_________________________
If there is a banner ad in this post, please be advised that the owners of the company traffic in illegal drugs and have been caught in compromising positions with farm animals.

Top
#1251338 - 08/18/09 12:45 PM Re: I hate scales! [Re: ProdigalPianist]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist
My teacher, who had to pass "technique juries" as an undergrad, so has the "chops", used to be one of those teachers who said, "Oh I think you can learn technique from repertoire, so don't worry too much about it."

I kept saying "I didn't really learn scales and arps before and I feel like it's a gap in my skills I'd like to fill." So finally we started seriously working on the harmonic minor scales. As a few lessons went by she said, "Wow I can really see the improvement in your playing". (edited to add: she did not mean, "Wow you are really playing scales better" she meant, "Wow your playing of everything has improved.")

Then we moved onto broken octaves and arps and she said, "Wow. I'm inspired to go practice technical exercises myself. The improvement is really noticeable. I really believe adult students can do as well as kids if they work at it."

*I* personally don't notice the difference in my playing because I guess it happens so gradually day-to-day. But I don't think there's much question that if you want to get your technical chops as good as possible, technique practice will get you there in the shortest amount of time with the biggest improvements.


Great post and consistent with my own experience.

Top
Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
115 registered (aesop, 36251, Allard, Abby Pianoman, Alux, 31 invisible), 1302 Guests and 22 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75898 Members
42 Forums
156858 Topics
2304809 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Do you use a method series to teach jazz? What series?
by Maechre
08/22/14 07:39 AM
Tuning my piano with an app
by johan d
08/22/14 03:14 AM
Tuning a piano
by johan d
08/22/14 02:14 AM
Yamaha CLP-430 or Roland RP-401?
by masterboy
08/22/14 01:22 AM
NY Steinway in Russia
by victor kam
08/22/14 12:38 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission