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Advanced Piano Scales for Intermediate Pianists

piano scalesSo you’re feeling good about where you’re at with scales. You began flirting at a young age and you finally started dating. Even though you and scales have had some ripples in your relationship – there was that one time you thought it was going to end in a messy breakup – you suddenly worked things out.

Now, things between you and scales are going so well you’re thinking about taking the relationship to the next level.

Good for you. So many novice players don’t make it this far with scales and decide to move on. Fortunately, there are a few scale-equivalents to fancy restaurants and nice jewelry that you can dip your fingers into.

As a beginner, you should have mastered each of the major and natural minor scales, and be able to play them up and down the piano across four octaves. Doing these scales as part of your regular, frequent practice routine is important.

But there are several modifications you can make that will challenge your fingers and improve your competency with piano. These advanced piano scales for intermediate pianists are guaranteed to increase your knowledge and skill of piano playing.

The next two scales an intermediate piano player should master are called the harmonic minor and melodic minor. These both are similar to the natural minor, but have small modifications at the end that make them unique.

The harmonic minor varies from the natural minor by just one note – the seventh. The seventh note is augmented and will now be only a half step away from the root note. For example, if one were playing an ascending natural A minor scale, he would end by playing F, G, A. But when playing the harmonic minor, he would conclude with F, G#, A.

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advanced scalesAlthough this is seemingly a minor modification, it requires a player’s fingers to acquire a new level of familiarity with the keys, and in many cases requires different fingerings.

The melodic minor is like a variation on the harmonic. Instead of only augmenting the seventh note a half step, the melodic minor augments both the sixth and seventh notes. So instead of play F, G, A in a natural minor or F, G#, A in a harmonic minor, playing a melodic minor requires one play F#, G#, A.

Like the harmonic minor, learning this type of minor scale will require that the fingers gain a different kind of comfort with new keys. New fingerings are also necessary to attain competency.

However, the melodic minor has a strange twist to it. The augmented sixth and seventh notes are only required when playing the scale ascending. When descending, no notes are augments and the performer simply plays a natural minor.

Adding these two variations to your repertoire of scales enormously enhances your knowledge and ability of piano playing. These advanced piano scales for intermediate pianists will help take your relationship with scales to that new, intimate level that you never imagined before.

It is interesting to note how often composers will use these types of scales in their music, and also useful to recognize that the more challenges and variations you throw at your fingers, the more competency they acquire in playing any unique piano passages.

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