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Chromatic Minor Thirds

piano technique

Question: I am in urgent need of the finger settings for the following scale: A-sharp chromatic major – double note thirds for both hands. Can you please help me?

– Heleen

Albert’s reply: I assume you’re talking about chromatic minor thirds. “Chromatic major” is a contradiction in terms, since a scale can be either chromatic or major, not both.

I also assume that you mean minor thirds, as these are more common than major thirds for chromatic scales.

Here is my fingering for chromatic minor thirds:

There are a few variants, such as Chopin’s, in which the thumb slides from B to C and E to F. In my experience, this fingering tends to work less well on modern, heavier actions.

Leopold Godowsky found a very unusual fingering for achieving a perfect legato. It goes from 4–3 (E-sharp and G-sharp) to 5–2 (A and F-sharp) in the right hand, with corresponding fingerings in the left hand. I find this fingering novel yet awkward for my hands and therefore prefer the above fingering.

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