C Flat Major is, in keyboard and finger positioning at least, the same scale as B Major, but theoretically it is a different scale and is required for many reasons. You can read more about it in this excellent article Why Use C Flat? for more details.
A one octave C Flat Major scale is made up from the eight notes Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb and Cb. This can be extended across the keyboard as required for two, three or four octave scales.
Yes, C flat and F flat. This keeps continuity of note naming even though they are equivalent to B natural and E natural respectively.
Here are the notes of one octave depicted on a piano keyboard diagram.
Number the fingers on both left and right hands as follows:
- Thumb: 1
- Index: 2
- Middle: 3
- Ring: 4
- Little: 5
Here’s a diagram of how to number the fingers:
Right Hand Playing
The ascending one octave C flat major scale is most easily played by the right hand with the fingering 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Should you wish to play more than one octave, simply continue with a ‘1’ after the ‘4’ and repeat the sequence, thus: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4… and finish on a ‘5’
To play the descending one octave C flat major scale, reverse the sequence thus: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1.
Should you be playing more than one octave, repeat the sequence from thumb ‘1’, thus: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4… and always finishing on a 1 for the final note.
Left Hand Playing
The ascending one octave C flat major scale is most easily played by the left hand with the fingering 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1
Should you wish to play more than one octave, simply repeat the sequence from ‘3’, thus: 4, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3… and always finish on ‘1’
To play the descending one octave C flat major scale, reverse the sequence thus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.
Should you be playing more than one octave, continue the sequence thus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4… and finishing on a final 4.
Playing Both Hands Together
Once you’ve practiced both hands separately, it’s time to play the two hands simultaneously. There’s no particular trick to this — it just takes time to get used to it.
Scales are generally played with the hands one octave — that is, eight white notes — apart.
Start slowly, concentrating on fingering and playing each pair of notes at the same time, and gradually build up the speed. Ensure the scale maintains a regular rhythm.
Sometimes scales are played with a slight accent on every fourth note. This works well for two and four octave scales.
Here is the music score for two octaves of the C flat major scale, with the right hand starting on the Cb below Middle C and the left hand starting on the Cb an octave below that. The audio is available beneath the score. Note that some browsers including the desktop version of Safari will not play this, so please see the MP3 audio below. If you are playing on a mobile device, you may need to ensure the ringer is set to on.
The following is a four octave C flat major scale played both ascending and descending.
Here is a video showing a piano keyboard and the four octave C flat major scale being played ascending and descending.