How to play a chromatic scale on the piano


A chromatic scale is different than a regular scale because you play every white and black key. Here is how you do it.

Moderately Challenging


Things You'll Need

  • piano or keyboard
    • 1

      We are going to start with the key of C. You can find the C by finding the white key that is to the left of the two black keys. Two black keys-middle C.

    • 2

      We are going to assign finger numbers to your fingers to help you follow along. You do not need to read music or to know every key to do this. Using the chart you will see that your thumb is number one, your index number 2 and so on.

    • 3

      There are two different versions that are taught. Both are acceptable, but I am going teach you the version that I was taught, which is going from #1 finger to #2.

    • 4

      With the #1 finger of your RIGHT hand on the C, press down the key and then put your #2 on the black key to the right, #2 pivots slightly to let the number #1 finger to fall on the next white key going right. Put #2 finger on the next black key, #1 finger on the next white key. Here is where there is a change, because there is no black key but two white keys together, so your #2 finger will go on the white key, then your #3 finger will reach up to the black key and pivot to allow your #1 finger to land on the next white key, then #2 finger on the black key, #1 finger on the white key, #2 finger on the black key, #4 finger on the white key and finally #5 finger key will land on the last white key, which is a C.

    • 5

      Enlarge this picture and you can see names of the notes. Using notes instead of finger numbering the sequence would be C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C. The # symbols stands for Sharp.

      If you are wondering what Ab is and why I have left that information out then go to my article on how to read flats and sharps.

    • 6

      You can continue to go up farther if you like, there is no rules for when to stop other than stop on the same note (not key) that you started with so that it sounds good to your ear. You can make the chromatic scale as short or as long as you want, it is up to you.

    • 7

      Practice on the piano a lot. It will seem awkward at first but in a couple of weeks it will become smoother. Practice a whole lot and you can become super fast.

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