C Major Scales

The C major scale, along with every other scale on the piano, can be broken down into one group of 3 notes (shown in red) and one group of 4 notes (shown in blue), along with a single note added either to start or finish the scale (shown in green). The alternating groups of 3 and 4 notes can be played all the way up and down the keyboard in succession.

  • The group of 3 notes (red) will always be played with fingers 1,2,3.
  • The group of 4 notes (blue) will always be played with fingers 1,2,3,4.

If you look at the layout of the right and left hand, you will notice that the positions are a mirror image of one another.

C Major Scale Position Charts

The following charts will help you visualize the patterns of the C major scale.

Positions and fingerings for the right hand:

Positions and fingerings for the left hand:

The C Major Scale on the Staff

This is what the C major scale looks like on the staff. The fingering here is color coded to match your Scale Position Charts.

Practice Tips

  1. Always play scales with strong, active, even, and independent fingers. Never play like you’re just typing! Always exert effort and play with energy and conviction. This will build strength in your fingers and allow you to control them.
  2. Keep your thumb resting over the keys at all times. Don’t let it droop below the keyboard or hold tensely above the keys.
  3. Try holding down the positions as you play up and down the scale.

For a complete and detailed overview of how to practice scales, please read this article.