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diminutions: scales & scale patterns

Before studying melodic scale patterns, one should first have a basic understanding of all major and minor scales. A short and basic overview of all the keys and scales can be found here.​


Some of the most extensive collections of melodic scale patterns are Franz Liszt's Technische Studien (1868-73) and Hélène de Montgeroult's Cours complet pour l'enseignement du forte piano (composed 1788-1812). Liszt's collection of exercises consists of twelve books and spans a tradition of many decades. He provides a wonderful and adventurous anthology of multipurpose exercises, but perhaps due to the late publication (late 20th century) they are lesser known today. According to Liszt, one should not only study existing exercises, but also create their own and study them in all keys.

Scale patterns can be classified into different types. In the following examples by Liszt, a specific number of notes are grouped together in scale fragments:

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In the following examples by Hummel, scale patterns are organized by interval.

Hummel_-_Anweisung zum Pianoforte Spiel_1827 (gesleept).jpg
Hummel_-_Anweisung zum Pianoforte Spiel_1827 (gesleept) 4.jpg

The following examples by Liszt show scale patterns with dyads and triads.

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The following scale patterns by Hummel contain a mix of different motions.

Hummel_-_Anweisung zum Pianoforte Spiel_1827 (gesleept) 3.jpg
Hummel_-_Anweisung zum Pianoforte Spiel_1827 (gesleept) 2.jpg

Other piano methods with series of exercises are listed below. More can also be found in the section publications.

Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)

Anweisung zum Piano-Forte-Spiel (1827)

Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) & François-Jospeh Fétis (1784-1871)

Méthode des méthodes, Op.98 (1837)

Henri Herz (1803-1888)

Méthode complète de Piano, Op.100 (1838)

Joseph Zimmermann (1785-1853)

Encyclopédie du pianiste compositeur (vol.1) (1840)

Encyclopédie du pianiste compositeur (vol.2)

Encyclopédie du pianiste compositeur (vol.3)

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