Guide to Learning Piano:
Scale Fingering Chart

Robert T. Kelley


Note: Use these fingerings with caution. The fingerings given here may not be the fingerings most commonly given in piano method books, but they are the most physically practical fingerings. In the case you have to play scales for judged competitions, you may want to revert to the "accepted fingerings" given in that competition's guidelines.
  1. General Fingering Rules
    1. The fingering always alternates 123 1234 (or 321 4321) so that the same fingering pattern repeats every octave.
    2. The thumb always stays on the white keys, never on black keys.
    3. The fourth finger always plays a black key (when there is a black key to be played in the scale).
    4. The fifth finger is only used at a starting place, a stopping place, or a turning-around place.
    5. The augmented second in harmonic minor scales must fit conveniently under the hand (preferably between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3), except for Eb/D# minor LH.
    6. When working out scale passages in the literature, consider alternatives that put the fingering patterns in alignment between the hands (thumbs happening together somewhere in the scale).
  2. The Fingerings
    1. These are just the fingering patterns: Feel free to use 5 when appropriate (first note, last note, turning around).
    2. Feel free to revert to traditional fingerings, especially when performing the melodic minor scale ascending and descending.
MajorNatural MinorHarmonic MinorMelodic Minor
(ascending)
KeyFingering KeyFingering KeyFingering KeyFingering
RHC major12312341 A minor12312341 A minor12312341 A minor12312341
LH14321321 14321321 32132143 21321432
(14321321)
RHG major12312341 E minor34123123 E minor12312341 E minor12312341
LH32132143 14321321 14321321 14321321
RHD major12312341 B minor34123123 B minor12312341 B minor12312341
LH21432132 13214321 13214321 13214321
RHA major12312341 F# minor34123123 F# minor34123123 F# minor23123412
LH21321432 43213214 43213214 43213214
RHE major12312341 C# minor34123123 C# minor34123123 C# minor23123412
LH14321321 32143213 32143213 32143213
RHB/Cb major12312341 G#/Ab minor34123123 G#/Ab minor34123123 G#/Ab minor34123123
LH13214321 32132143 32143213 32143213
RHF#/Gb major23412312 D#/Eb minor31234123 D#/Eb minor31234123 D#/Eb minor31234123
LH43213214 21432132 21432132 21432132
RHC#/Db major23123412 A#/Bb minor41231234 A#/Bb minor41231234 A#/Bb minor41231234
LH32143213 21321432 21321432 21432132
(21321432)
RHAb major34123123 F minor12341231 F minor12341231 F minor12341231
LH32143213 21321432 21321432 21432132
RHEb major31234123 C minor12312341 C minor12312341
(23412312)
C minor12312341
(23412312)
LH32143213 21321432
(14321321)
21321432
(14321321)
21432132
(14321321)
RHBb major41231234 G minor23412312
(12312341)
G minor12312341 G minor12312341
LH32143213 21321432
(14321321)
21321432
(14321321)
21432132
(14321321)
RHF major12341231 D minor23123412
(12312341)
D minor12312341 D minor12312341
LH32143213 21321432
(14321321)
21321432
(14321321)
32132143
(14321321)


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2001 Robert T. Kelley. All rights reserved. Copying of this document is permitted for classroom and private educational purposes only. On all copies the web address, author's name, and copyright notice must appear.