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#1990465 - 11/24/12 07:46 PM Multiple octave scale help needed.
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
Just some preliminary information in case you have not seen my earlier posts;
I am 16 years old, been self teaching my self for a few months, and am saving up for a digital piano while I use a cheap keyboard. I think this is the only relevant information.

Now to the topic, today I started learning to play multiple octave scales, after figuring out the fingerings, I learned to play a cmajor across multiple octaves with both the left hand and the right hand, but I can't put both hands together, I can't tell when one hand should be tucking the thumb behind 3 fingers or 4 fingers, it is just soo confusing, I can't find any online material that teaches how to play scales with both hands across multiple octaves.

Learning to play scales with both hands was soo easy, learning to get the notes and fingers right, as a begginner took only minutes, I don't get how it became so complicated by just adding more octaves to the scale.

Is it supposed to be hard, or am I over complicating it, there are a lot of things that I learned in piano which were just sorta like analogies or thoughts that I would think while doing something related to hand independence that would just let me quickly get it.

I don't know, I can't think of when to tuck my thumb, etc.

I have been trying to do it for over 45 minutes now with no success, if I try to break it into small parts, it becomes more confusing like I'm actually learning a new musical piece.

I was wondering if anyone can tell me how I should do this, I feel like all the time I spent practicing two handed single octave scales was wasted, because it isn't at all helping me play multiple octave scales.

How should I think this out, can any one give me some tips on how to do this, from experience.

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#1990517 - 11/24/12 10:34 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
lizzie3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Ontario, Canada
My teacher recommended "the big brown book of scales" its about $10 and has every scale, which includes fingering, arpeggios, triads, chords and other things that I have not yet examined. Each week when my teacher gives me a new scale we dont even bother going over fingering because it is all there in the book. Its really worth the $10 as I can see myself using this for a long time.
_________________________
Dont go to a hardware store looking for a loaf of bread

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#1990539 - 11/25/12 12:42 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 735
Loc: Canada
My teacher told me that paying attention to where my 4th finger is used is more important than when my thumbs cross over. In each scale, your fourth finger plays only one note in each hand, & it plays that note every time it occurs. For example, in a C scale, your left fourth finger plays all the LH D's, & your right fourth finger plays all the RH B's. If you get that figured out, I think the thumbs will take care of themselves. At least, they did for me. Good luck!

That's for scales that start on LH 5/RH 1; it's different for scales that don't start on those fingers - B, or F# for example.


Edited by joyoussong (11/25/12 12:45 AM)
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)



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#1990560 - 11/25/12 02:01 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
Cookie74 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 137
Loc: California
The C scale is actually harder than a scale that has one or two black keys. I would start with the D major scale actually. Ascending, you know when to put the thumb under in the right hand when you are on a black note. Descending, when you have to hit a black note you know to cross over the thumb. Since there are those cues for the right hand, you can concentrate more on your left hand.

You just have to keep at it. My kids took weeks to learn just one scale, both hands, two octaves. But they eventually got it. You just have to practice a lot and very slowly. Give it a few weeks, I'm sure you'll get it.
_________________________
" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1990623 - 11/25/12 08:48 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
Mohannad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 79
Thanks a lot for the tips.

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#1990627 - 11/25/12 08:54 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2323
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
More octaves are to accustom your hands to playing in disadvantageous positions making it hard to keep the hands synchronised as you turn at the top and bottom. Until your pieces need that discipline and training you're not adding to your progress very much.

At first the main purpose of scales is to get the fingers to play evenly in time and tone without accents. Accents can mask differences in time and tone. Scales are of dubious benefit with less than six months of playing (my opinion).

As soon as you lift the thumb from the key you should start it on its journey under the fingers so that it doesn't have far to travel after the third or fourth finger has played.

My advice (and the procedure works equally well for difficulties in your pieces) is to play the C with the RH thumb at the right tone/weight and hold down the note. While the C is being held position the next finger over the next key (in this first example, RH index finger positioned over D)
1) Play the next note (D)
2) Lift off the previous note (take thumb off C)
3) Position next finger over next note (3rd finger over E) and move thumb one key closer to it's next target (if it's not the next finger)

Spend a second or two over each step, taking three to six seconds over each note of the scale. The time is completely irrelevant. Evenness of tone is everything.

When you're comfortable and accurate with the mechanical operation set the metronome to 3/4 time and 60 bpm. Take a beat for each step (play, lift, position, play, lift, position, etc - overlapped legato)

When you're comfortable with that move the lift step before the play step, (play, position, lift, play, position, lift, etc - detached or non-legato).

When you're comfortable with that merge the lift and position steps into one. (play, lift and position, play, lift and position - legato)

Guess what you do next! Yep, merge the three steps.

Get the mechanics right (the right finger on the right key) with even tone, then get the timing right then get the touch right.

Start with Forte and one octave, add a softer dynamic layer with each octave added (up to four octaves) and then another layer each six to twelve months. To your legato, overlapped legato and non-legato add light (finger), medium (wrist) and firm (arm) staccato - about one a year.

Master one before moving on to the next instead of screwing up both.

I would start with B major - the easiest mechanically and work back through E, A, D, G, and C (the hardest mechanically) before going on to the flat keys. Spend one or two months on each key (Master one before ....)

Spend about two minutes on scales if you play about ten minutes a day, five of thirty minutes/day and ten of sixty minutes a day. Don't let scales dominate your practise.

And finally, never try to play faster. Speed will develop naturally with familiarity and from playing every day. Playing faster (deliberately) introduces mistakes. Letting the tempo come up from familiarity keeps you in control, reduces mistakes and makes you SOUND faster. Once you can go through the steps without having to consciously think through them you'll find the speed comes up quite quickly. You'll be going very quickly before you need to build velocity beyond allegro.
_________________________
Richard

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#1990682 - 11/25/12 12:00 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
WhomanBeans Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 12
For all major scales with up to 4 sharps, when playing with your right hand, the forth finger plays the 7th note, each time it comes up. For left hand, it'll be the second note, each time it comes up. So for C, you'll play, for right hand:
C(1) D(2) E(3)
*Tuck Thumb*
F (1) G(2) A(3) B(4)
*Tuck thumb*
C(1) D(2) E(3)
*tuck thumb*
F(1) G(2) A(3) B (4) C (5)

Left hand will be

C(5) D(4) E(3) F (2) G(1)
*Roll middle finger over*
A(3) B(2) C(1)
*Roll ring finger, or finger 4 over*
D(4) E(3) F(2) G(1)
*Roll middle finger over*
A(3) B (2) C(1)


Edited by WhomanBeans (11/25/12 12:01 PM)

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#1990701 - 11/25/12 12:58 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
Just do the octaves hands separate and slow for a few months then put them together...if you are patient things will go much easier.

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#1990706 - 11/25/12 01:10 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 970
Loc: Italy
I'm using the Alfred's book of scales (see signature), cheap and comprehensive. I found out that as soon as I could play the C scale in parallel motion, most of the other scales just "click" and are so much faster to learn. I still have some trouble with my left hand descending now and then, but I find it a very rewarding exercise and warm up. Also, learning a bit of theory, like the circle of fifths, is very useful because then you can build scales by yourself and remember them better.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#1991035 - 11/26/12 11:16 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3160
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
When you're comfortable with that move the lift step before the play step, (play, position, lift, play, position, lift, etc - detached or non-legato).

I don't understand this. How can you position before lifting?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1991068 - 11/26/12 12:28 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2323
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
When you're comfortable with that move the lift step before the play step, (play, position, lift, play, position, lift, etc - detached or non-legato).

I don't understand this. How can you position before lifting?
Zen..just believe it's possible smile

First stage: overlapped legato

While the C is being held position the next finger over the next key (in this first example, RH index finger positioned over D)
1) Play the next note (D)
2) Lift off the previous note (take thumb off C)
3) Position next finger over next note (3rd finger over E) and move thumb under the index finger

Check this out around 3:15


Second stage: non-legato
While the C is being held position the next finger over the next key (in this first example, RH index finger positioned over D)
1) Lift off the previous note (take thumb off C)
2) Play the next note (D)
3) Position 3rd finger over E and move thumb under the index finger
4) Lift off the previous note (take finger off D)


And this one at 4:10


Third stage: legato
While the C is being held position the next finger over the next key (in this first example, RH index finger positioned over D)
1) play the next note (D)
2) Lift off the previous note (take thumb off C) and position next finger over next note (3rd finger over E) and move thumb under the index finger

Or

1) play the next note (D) as you lift off the previous note (take thumb off C)
2) position next finger over next note (3rd finger over E) and move thumb under the index finger


Final stage: Nirvana(?)
While the C is being held position the next finger over the next key (in this first example, RH index finger positioned over D)

1) Play the next note (D) as you Lift off the C and simultaneously position 3rd finger over E and move thumb under the index finger
_________________________
Richard

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#1991100 - 11/26/12 01:42 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3160
Loc: Maine
Thanks, Richard. I got confused and thought it was the same finger Lifting as Positioning. Different fingers, now it makes more sense.

How did you learn these methods of practicing scales (not "how did you come to be able to do them", but "whence did they come to your attention")?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1991121 - 11/26/12 02:26 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Maybe useful, this nice lady posted videos for all scales on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bbdhrggl/videos?flow=grid&view=1

@ Richard: it's always such a pleasure to read your posts, thank you very much! I don't want to hijack the thread in any way, but being a beginner myself too I think the answer to my question could be equally useful for the original poster. I am wondering if doing four notes broken chords as demonstrated here [video:google]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0fVUfKILHk&feature=plcp[/video] isn't more useful for a beginner than doing a lot of scales. I ask that because it seems it really helped me in learning the various chords and inversions and while I am far to have reached a point where I can play all inversions without giving it a thought, I am surprised by the progress I made (I am interested in blues and jazz, so my emphasis on learning chords, it's maybe not as relevant for classical music).
To the original poster: if I am out of line in asking a question in your thread, please forgive me and let me know, I will edit my post accordingly smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#1991140 - 11/26/12 02:56 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2323
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I got the scale techniques from the videos I posted.

I came across Josh Wright shortly after finding Piano World.
___________________________________


Jean-Luc, how nice to hear from you again - especially when you're so complimentary, thank you!

I don't think broken chords are as important as scales when you're starting out on technique. The notes are too far apart to hear unevenness as easily and to play as evenly when the fingers are stretched (and inexperienced).

I don't think a lot of scales is useful, either. You're going to be doing them for many years. Go slow and steady and get them right first. Learning the notes is neither hard nor too important. Learning to concentrate on evenness of time and tone is the only thing that matters in the beginning. There's so much to concentrate on when you're playing scales at even a very slow tempo that boredom doesn't come into it. If you can talk while you're doing scales you aren't doing them right.

Block chords are better study material than broken in the beginning stages as it's easier to create the illusion of evenness. You need more experienced fingers and much more experienced ears to get worthwhile results with broken chords and arpeggios.

Are there any teachers following with a more considered opinion?
_________________________
Richard

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#1991142 - 11/26/12 03:02 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Thank you very much for your answer Richard. BTW, might make you smile but I started to paste all your "tips" in a text file a while ago, that's how much I value your opinion smile (oh, kind of relevant to this thread since it shows what can happen to an overly enthusiast beginner: shortly after starting, I managed to cause myself a tendinitis and I had to stop learning for 3 months, that's why I disappeared for a while) smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#1991145 - 11/26/12 03:11 PM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2323
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I am embarrassed, Jean-Luc, not just for being considered so highly but also for not including enough tips about avoiding tendonitis!

I hope you'll be able to continue now without obstacle.
_________________________
Richard

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#1991361 - 11/27/12 08:03 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: lizzie3]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 503
Originally Posted By: lizzie3
My teacher recommended "the big brown book of scales" its about $10 and has every scale, which includes fingering, arpeggios, triads, chords and other things that I have not yet examined. Each week when my teacher gives me a new scale we dont even bother going over fingering because it is all there in the book. Its really worth the $10 as I can see myself using this for a long time.


I wasn't able to find anything called "the big brown book of scales", but I would like to get a scale book. Can anyone recommend for or against either of these (or any other you particularly like or dislike):

"The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences": http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Scales-Chords-Arpeggios-Cadences/dp/0739003682/ref=pd_rhf_gw_s_cp_2

"Manual of Scales, Broken Chords & Arpeggios": http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Scales-Broken-Chords-Arpeggios/dp/1860961126/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1991366 - 11/27/12 08:10 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: aTallGuyNH]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2492
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH

I wasn't able to find anything called "the big brown book of scales", but I would like to get a scale book.


There is no 'big' in the title. It is just "The Brown Scale Book."
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1991378 - 11/27/12 08:26 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: Mohannad]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2323
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I've yet to see anything better than James Francis Cooke's Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios, available free on IMSLP. My copy is dog-eared and ancient.

http://imslp.org/wiki/Mastering_the_Scales_and_Arpeggios_(Cooke,_James_Francis)
_________________________
Richard

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#1991445 - 11/27/12 11:31 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: zrtf90]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 503
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I've yet to see anything better than James Francis Cooke's Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios, available free on IMSLP. My copy is dog-eared and ancient.

http://imslp.org/wiki/Mastering_the_Scales_and_Arpeggios_(Cooke,_James_Francis)

Thanks very much! It looks quite comprehensive, and the price is right smile

I will definitely give it a try.
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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#1992704 - 11/30/12 06:43 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: aTallGuyNH]
maduro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 276
Try this

start at both ends of the piano your left hand on the lowest c and the right hand on the highest c
and come together playing a descending scale with the right
and a ascending scale with the left

it is easier because both hands are tucking and crossing at the same time

when they arrive together go the opposite way


away from each other]

do this for a week
and then slowly work on the same direction
it takes a while
one or two sessions wont provide mastery

I am sure many of us have taken months before we could do all our scales flawlessly

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#1992706 - 11/30/12 07:16 AM Re: Multiple octave scale help needed. [Re: maduro]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 503
I like that idea... just might give it a try. The problem is that there seem to be an infinite number of ideas coupled with a finite amount of time. frown
_________________________
"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

Working on: my aversion to practicing in front of my wife

1978 Vose & Sons spinet "Rufus"
1914 Huntington upright "Mabel"

XXIX-XXXII

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