I recently bought a book recommended by my piano teacher about thirds (or called "terser" in Swedish) and I was a bit confused as I saw the thirds on the C Major scale (shown below).

~Högra = Right // ~Venstra = Left

In the beginning you see that I use 1, 2 (RH) and then followed by the first third with 3 (RH) and 5 (LH). This makes my left hand kinda overlap in the beginning. Is this right?

If I understand correctly starting from the first third it should go up like this with the fingering: (RH/LH)

  • 3, 5
  • 1, 4
  • 2, 3
  • 3, 2
  • 4, 1 and back to
  • 1, 3 enter image description here

I'd appreciate help as I need to do this before I move on to scales in double thirds. ~ If there is anything unclear then please tell me :)

  • This exercise goes from minor thirds and major thirds pretty often is that how piano interval scales are done?
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 15, 2016 at 12:34
  • @NeilMeyer Yes. If you stick to the notes of the scale, you'll find that some thirds are minor and some are major. CE is major, and DF is minor, for example.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 19, 2016 at 6:33
  • That is interesting guitar interval scales are done C major in Major Thirds. C-E, D-F#, E-G# and so on and so forth.
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 20, 2016 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


Yes that is exactly what the fingerings are telling you. This excerpt is based of the double octave scale so make sure you can do that first. It's almost impossible to avoid having fingerings overlap because of the position.

  • Thanks @Dom! I tried around with the fingerings and as you said, it is based off the double octave (which I've previously done). This is essentially a double octave just with less space between each hand (and with slightly modified fingering) am I right?
    – Nadfee
    Feb 14, 2016 at 16:36
  • @Nadfee yes, you are quite right, if by "slightly modified fingering" you mean that the fingering is a bit different at the beginning and the end. For example, on C the right hand could begin on 2 instead of 3 if you like. By the way, my teacher in college had me do sixths and 10ths as well as thirds.
    – BobRodes
    Feb 14, 2016 at 23:56

Just imagine you are doing scales hands-separately. The LH is starting on a C so it makes sense that it should start with 5, likewise the RH starts on a C so starts on 1.

The reason why the left hand only comes in on E is to reflect the key you are in: The exercise is "scales in thirds" and the key you are in is C major. To start with C in the right hand and A in the left hand would be tonally misleading as it would sound like A-minor (which is the relative minor) therefore the scale waits until it reaches E so that the first harmony played is a major 3rd.

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