Clarinet Scales: The 12 Major Scales



New to scales?

Here's a crash course to all 12 major clarinet scales.

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If you're looking for a specific scale, click on the scale name to jump to it:

C Major (Concert B♭)
F Major (Concert E♭)
B♭ Major (Concert A♭)
E♭ Major (Concert D♭)
A♭ Major (Concert G♭)
D♭ Major (Concert B)
G♭/F# Major (Concert E)
B Major (Concert A)
E Major (Concert D)
A Major (Concert G)
D Major (Concert C)
G Major (Concert F)

Clarinet Scales: C Major (Concert B♭)

  • Accidentals: No flats, no sharps
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C  

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

In the lower octave, I play B (3rd line of the staff) with the left pinky key and the C above it with the right pinky key.  You can play the B with only the left pinky key, but if you play it while also holding down the right pinky key for C, you don't have to switch pinkies when you go from B to C.  All you have to do is release the left B pinky key.  

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Clarinet Scales: F Major (Concert E♭)

  • Accidentals: 1 flat, B
  • Range: 3 octaves. If you're more of a beginner, starting out with the lower 2 octaves is fine.
  • Note names: F, G, A, B♭, C, D, E, F

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

The high F fingering I use for this scale (LH: thumb, register, 2nd and 3rd holes, C# key; RH: Ekey) tends to be flat, so to make sure it isn't too low in relation to the high E, I also add the RH fork key to that fingering.  Pressing the fork key opens up a hole, making the F a little higher and in tune.

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Clarinet Scales: B♭ Major (Concert A)

  • Accidentals: 2 flats, Band E
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: B♭, C, D, E♭, F, G, A, B

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

For the lower E(1st line) as well as the B above the staff, you can play them with either the left or right hand keys.

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Clarinet Scales: E♭ Major (Concert D)

  • Accidentals: 3 flats, B, E, and A
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note names: E♭, F, G, A♭, B♭, C, D, E

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the scale would be written like this:

Tips:

Play all B♭'s above the staff as well as 1st line E♭'s with the right side key. You're already forced play the B♭ on the right because of the A♭ right below it, so to keep things consistent, play your E♭ with that key as well.

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Clarinet Scales: A♭ Major (Concert G)

  • Accidentals: 4 flats: B♭, E♭, A♭, D
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G, A

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

All 1st line E♭'s have to be on the right because of the D♭ below.  

Play 3rd space C with the right pinky and 4th line D♭ with the left pinky.  D♭ has to be played on the left because the 4th space E♭ above it only can be played on the right.

If you're not sure which pinky keys to use, look at where your E♭ is. Unless your instrument has the an extra left pinky E♭ key, E♭ has to be played on the right, so any note using a pinky key right before or right after it should be on the left.

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Clarinet Scales: D♭ Major (Concert B)

  • Accidentals: 5 flats: B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭, C, D

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

All 1st line E♭'s have to be on the right because of the D♭ below.  

Play 2nd line G♭ with the bottom two right hand side keys.  Play the G♭ above it (right above the staff) with the fork fingerings.  Both of these fingerings make it easier to get to the F.

Play 3rd space C with the right pinky and 4th line D♭ with the left pinky.  D♭ has to be played on the left because the 4th space E♭ above it only can be played on the right.

If you're not sure which pinky keys to use, look at where your E♭ is. Unless your instrument has the an extra left pinky E♭ key, E♭ has to be played on the right, so any note using a pinky key right before or right after it should be on the left.

Don't forget the the high D♭ doesn't need a right pinky E♭ key.

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***This scale has the same pitches as the F# scale. The F# scale is covered below this one***

Clarinet Scales: G♭ Major (Concert E)

  • Accidentals: 6 flats: B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C
  • Range: 3 octaves
  • Note Names: G♭, A♭, B♭, C♭, D♭, E♭, F, G♭ (all notes flat except for F)

Here is the G♭ scale written out:

Clarinet Scales: F# Major (Concert E)

  • Accidentals: 6 sharps: F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#
  • Range: 3 octaves
  • Note Names: F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E#, F# (all notes sharp except B)

Here is the F# scale written out:

This video has both sets of note names and an example:

Tips:

Play the lowest G♭/F# with the left pinky so you can play A♭/G# with the right pinky.

Play low C♭/B♮ with the fork fingering so you don't have to flip with the B♭/A#. 

Play first space G♭/F# with the bottom two side keys so you don't have to flip with the F♮/E#.

Play middle line C♭/B with the right pinky, then D♭/C# on the left, and E♭/D# on the right. 

If you're not sure which pinky keys to use, look at where your E♭/D# is. Unless your instrument has the an extra left pinky E♭/D# key, E♭/D# has to be played on the right, so any note using a pinky key right before or right after it should be on the left.

Play top line G♭/F# with the fork fingering so you don't have to flip with the F♮/E#.

A lot of people have problems with their highest G♭/F# sounding flat, especially when it's played with LH thumb, register, 2nd finger and RH E♭ key.  Try playing it with LH thumb, register, 1st and 2nd fingers and the bottom righthand side key (an overblown B♭) instead.

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Clarinet Scales: B Major (Concert A)

  • Accidentals: 5 sharps: F#, C#, G#, D#, A#
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

Play middle line B with the right pinky, then C# on the left, and D# on the right. 

If you're not sure which pinky keys to use, look at where your D# is.  Unless your instrument has the an extra left pinky D# key, D# has to be played on the right, so any note using a pinky key right before or right after it should be on the left.

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Clarinet Scales: E Major (Concert D)

  • Accidentals: 4 sharps: F#, C#, G#, D#
  • Range: 3 octaves
  • Note Names: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

Play middle line B with the right pinky, then C# on the left, and D# on the right. 

If you're not sure which pinky keys to use, look at where your D# is. Unless your instrument has the an extra left pinky D# key, D# has to be played on the right, so any note using a pinky key right before or right after it should be on the left.

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Clarinet Scales: A Major (Concert G)

  • Accidentals: 3 sharps: F#, C#, G#
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

Play the third line B with the left pinky and the third space C# with the right pinky. 

Why?

You can play this scale using the opposite pinkies and it will sound exactly the same and probably isn't any easier or harder.  BUT, the left hand B and right hand C# keys are physically closer to each other, so you don't have to reach as far.  Also, you have a lot of other chances to practice right hand B and left hand C# through some of the other scales here.

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Clarinet Scales: D Major (Concert C)

  • Accidentals: 2 sharps: F#, C#
  • Range: 2 octaves
  • Note Names:  D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

Play the third line B with the left pinky and the third space C# with the right pinky. 

Why?

You can play this scale using the opposite pinkies and it will sound exactly the same and probably isn't any easier or harder.  BUT, the left hand B and right hand C# keys are physically closer to each other, so you don't have to reach as far.  Also, you have a lot of other chances to practice right hand B and left hand C# through some of the other scales here.

Make sure that you don't put down the E♭ pinky key on the high C#.  If you play the high C# with the pinky key, it will most likely be really, really sharp. Do, however, make sure you have it down for the high D.

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Clarinet Scales: G Major (Concert F)

  • Accidentals: 1 sharp: F#
  • Range: 3 octaves. If you're more of a beginner, starting out with the lower 2 octaves is fine.
  • Note Names:  G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

Here are the notes and fingerings with a playing example:

The example at the end of the video would be written like this:

Tips:

There are countless fingering combinations for the high F# to the high G. When deciding on how to play those notes, think about:

  • Tuning of both notes. If one note is flatter or sharper than the other, then you won't have the correct interval between the notes.
  • Finger technique. You want to find fingerings that sound good but won't be too difficult for your fingers to play.

I go over some different fingering options in the video, and what works for me in this scale is fingering the F# with LH thumb, register, 1st and 2nd fingers and the RH bottom side key (aka side F# or an overblown B♭) and the G with LH thumb, register, 2nd and 3rd fingers and RH 1st and 3rd fingers with the E♭ pinky key.

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