what is the best fingering for practicing diminished scales? using only fingers 1,2,3? or also using 4, as suggested by levine?

thanks,

ed
There are 10 comments, leave a comment.
i play it as 123,12345. somewhere i read it's supposed to be 123, 12, 123, or something like that but i couldn't get the hang of it. i found my way to work much better.


my thumb wouldn't be on bb or any other black key. here's my c dimished scale:

c  c# d# e  f# g  a  bb
1  2  3  1  2  3  4  5

so crossing the thumb under the 5 is not hard. it did take some practice to make it smooth, however. whether it's "wrong" or not, this fingering has served me well for many years, and speed and precision are no problem.  

as you have classified the three diminished scales into c, c#, and d, for some reason i think of them as the c, the f, and the g diminished scales. probably because if those are the starting points for my thumb, they are roughly the same "shape".  

mainly what i have a problem with are scale fingerings that use 123,12,123 etc. it may just be me, but i just can't build up any speed with those small divisions.

anyway, cheers!

jim
dang it. i forgot the text alignment button!
cdim scale i use---123 131--231
charlp88,

i don't get it.

~

another issue is that no matter what scale you play over a given chord, there is generally a note (or two) that sounds pretty crappy that you'll want to leave out.

once you have determined the "avoid" note(s) in the specific case, you can adjust your fingerings to accommodate the "new" "scale minus one".

also you might find that another note goes better with your chord than the "original" note in the diminished scale.

at which point you'll often find that you're not really playing the diminished scale after all but some mode of the ascending melodic minor.

let's say you start out by playing the c hw dim scale over some chord and find out that the a sucks. after some experimenting, you might discover that an ab goes better.

see what i mean?
to p---1isc--2 isdb-3is eb- 4 is e--3is gb-1 is g -2 is a3 is bb
-----cdim scale  c db eb e gb g a bb  whole tone, half tone steps
-                1  2  3 1 3  1 2 3
i'm aware that this discussion is on fingering of a diminished scale.
however my post is an opinion on fingering in general

a lot has to be said about fingering.  be it a scale, an arpeggio, a particular phrase or any lick you may invent.
it has to do with with dexterity and command of the keyboard for all piano players.

members who have studied the classics will no doubt agree that without proper proven fingering it would be next to impossible to become proficient in the classics.
so much so that every sheet music of classics will have hints on correct fingering.

it's not to say that those who have not studied the classics cannot be proficient in dexterity.  but not without trial and error and/or published instruction.

practicing known proven fingering is the answer to all questions like how do you finger a diminished scale.

i'll be honest i didn't know what a chord was even after 10 years of classic studies. and my knowledge of scales was limited to major and minor harmonic and melodic.  the reason could be that i started at 8 years old.  then discoverd pop music in high school and immediately took lessons.

but the point is i already had the concept of correct fingering by that time.  it basically came without thinking of how to play a diminished scale.

a suggestion is to search for a couple of good publications on the subject.

i still have my books from my classic days which may be of some help.

one is hannon studies.
another is czerny: the art of finger dexterity for the piano.

just mho

frank buccino
i'd like to add that fingering is not an absolute science.  there is no right or wrong way to finger things, as long as you can execute the phrases effectively and musically.  what works for one, may not work so well for another.  those fingerings in "classical" pieces are usually suggestions made by and editor and are not always the best for everyone.

some standard fingerings, like scales and arpeggios have been proven over the years to be very efficient, but they don't often appear in music as you've practice them.  however, by learning proven fingerings you will develop a sense of how to finger  things  that you haven't before encountered.  you will also most likely find yourself using better fingerings while improvising.

if you look at the shape of your hand and the lengths of your digits, you'll see right away why it is probably a good idea to avoid using the thumb on black keys whenever possible - but it is not always possible, so don't feel bad about it if you need to do it:)
thanks to all for the helpful comments.

i also found that phil degreg has suggested fingering on his website:  

https://www.phildegreg.com/ed.html

(see the second page of the handout called "suggested right-hand bebop scale fingerings".)

ed
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