Easy Scales (maybe)

December 22, 2015 at 01:35 AM · I have a problem which reeks of newbie but could ruin my holidays if unanswered.

It's a 2 octave scale issue and a publication called TWO OCTAVE MAJOR SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS from FJH Music, Skill Sheet 5.

I will write out the notes and any text:

Begin key of C in 3rd position.

D (I will not show notes that have no special notation)

E "3"

F "1" inside a circle.

B "4"

C "1" inside a circle.

E "3"

F "1" inside a circle.

C "5" (Yes, a "5")

B "4"

Then, back down.

What is finger "5"?

Why does the arranger not use the 4th finger in cases where it looks "OK"?

Not sure what circles mean? Shifts?

Replies (20)

December 22, 2015 at 01:46 AM · Sure it's for violin and not piano?

We don't use 5 for a fingering.

December 22, 2015 at 03:01 AM · This has to be a piano scale fingering for the right hand. Start the C with the thumb ("1," which you are interpreting as 3rd position) Then every circled "1" represents crossing the thumb under. The "5" on the top C is the pinky.

December 22, 2015 at 03:14 AM · I looked up the book you're talking about, it's definitely for piano

December 22, 2015 at 09:47 AM · 5 is sometimes used to indicate an extended fourth finger (but not in this case).

December 22, 2015 at 10:06 AM · Pity there's no photo.

December 22, 2015 at 04:55 PM · Yes, it is piano music but my optimism deceived me. I found that playing the music "violin style" was very educational and helped open up the positions.

I'm still looking then for 2 octave violin scales NOT starting in first position. The literature offers countless scale books from 1sf position but I didn't find much else in a routine Google?

December 22, 2015 at 05:40 PM · Darlene, Are you familiar with the Hrimaly scale book? There is two pages of two octave scales starting in first position up to seventh or eighth position. Some of these editions can be purchased for around seven dollars.

December 22, 2015 at 06:23 PM · Some free scales you can print out right now

You can also get Fischer, Flesch, Gilels or any number of other books. Fischer has a lot of information, which is a little fussy for my taste, but it may be the best for someone making the interesting choice to study without a teacher.

December 22, 2015 at 08:04 PM · Darlene, Christian's link to free scales usefully includes the Hrimaly scale book (all 36 pages), which you can access directly from IMSLP:


Note: this link isn't quite what you'll see on IMSLP. This is because the original diacritics in Hrimaly's name get automatically translated into another format (HTML, I think) for browser purposes. Either way it works, and I hope it doesn't ruin your holidays!

December 22, 2015 at 08:21 PM · IMSLP indeed!

I have gotten music from there a long time ago but was intimidated by it all. (I have now advanced to the level that I can at least struggle with some "better" music!)

Information/posts much appreciated.

December 22, 2015 at 11:22 PM ·

December 23, 2015 at 05:04 AM · Liz and Jenny

"Yes" and "Yes".

December 23, 2015 at 03:09 PM · Intonation and position ..... curiosity...

How does a teacher decide if a student is ready for introduction to higher positions?

I delayed too long but not mainly regarding the music. It is also difficult to READ the music. I play better without the music under some circumstances.

Of course, I will automatically interpret a staff in first position and why not? I've been doing that for years. ( Is this one of the legendary "bad habits" ? )

December 23, 2015 at 10:52 PM · Darlene, learning higher positions won't work properly until the student is sufficiently tension-free both in holding violin and bow, and in posture (maybe think Alexander Technique). I would expect a teacher to spend sufficient time on these two aspects before introducing shifts, and then the learning process should be much easier and quicker.

If sufficient attention isn't given to being tension-free in the early stages then learning shifting may well introduce extra tension and hinder acquisition of fluency in the technique.

Similar thinking applies to learning vibrato.

December 23, 2015 at 11:28 PM · Your timing is a bit of a surprise being just yesterday I had a lot of back pain. I was thinking of trying a drugstore type back brace? That would not address the tension however.

I need to do some research.

Jenny Big step, that 3rd position!

I have been into it because of the music. Most respectable church arrangements have at least some 3rd position as I'm sure you know. (and a few chromatic key changes!)

December 24, 2015 at 05:12 AM · Add my voice to the hundreds of other who think this is piano music.

Get the simon fischer scale book, you will never need anything else. You can always just play two octaves if you want but pretty soon you will enjoy the "standard" three octave scales, they have a Zen like aspect to them.

Imslp can be intimidating. Just type what you want into google with "imslp" as part of your search string, very easy.

December 24, 2015 at 01:50 PM · I'm trying to decide if scales really are the best tool for learning higher positions ? I think etudes are more demanding and more productive.

I guess a combination of scales and etudes would cover all the bases?

December 24, 2015 at 04:56 PM · You need to work on scales. I'm starting to like them. They are a great warm-up. Good to play too, before working on a piece of music. By that I mean...run through the scale that the piece is written in before tackling it...then you 'hear' the key you will be playing in.

I am a little curious though why you don't have one for the violin...there are a kazillion violin scale books available. Not expensive. Just buy a book. No need to sort through all the 'free' material...some of which might not be the best option. Scale books don't go bad. There is no best-before date.

If Simon Fischer's is the most comprehensive (it's one of the kazillion I don't happen to have, lol)...then buy that one.

I am always going back and forth to various scale books, depending on what I'm working on.

December 25, 2015 at 12:34 AM · Yes, I acknowledge the charms of scales but they are so predictable. At least the familiar keys are.

I just think that etudes force me to be more "fluent" in sight reading.

December 25, 2015 at 12:40 AM · Yes, I acknowledge the charms of scales but they are so predictable. At least the familiar keys are.

I just think that etudes force me to be more "fluent" in sight reading.

My Winter "retreat" leaves a lot of room for deciding what works best!

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