CelloZone Exercises: One Octave (8va) Scale – Major & Minor, with 1st position “pitch check”

Video coming soon!
Please click the “PDF Download” button below to download the sheet music.

Use these exercises as a way to practice tuning your 1st Position “Frame” notes (1st and 4th finger). We’ll tune 4th Finger in 1st Position to open strings for the Major Scales and we’ll tune 1st Finger in 1st Position to open strings for the Minor Scales. Tuning our frame work helps us to properly space our hand for 1st position notes. It’s not as easy as it sounds! These are great little “warm ups” to do at the beginning of your practice session to tune your notes and get the cello ringing.

I also created this exercise sheet to prepare your for our Bonus Song, the minor key version of French Folk Song – which I’m calling “The Sad Clown” (coming soon!).

Exercise [1.A] One Octave (1 8va) D Major Scale on A & D
Match 4th Finger in 1st Position on the A string to the sound of the open D string. When tuned properly, they should sound like the same note (D in this case), but an Octave (8 steps) apart. Always start with the open string, as this is your “reference pitch”. Keep adjusting your 4th finger until it is In-Tune with the open D string. Do not move on to the scale if your 4th finger is still out-of-tune! Repeat this first step (1st measure) until 4th finger is in tune, and then continue on to play the scale in the following measures.

Exercise [1.B] One Octave (1 8va) G Major Scale on D & G
Repeat the same process but now we are a Perfect Fifth Down, on the D & G strings.

Exercise [1.C] One Octave (1 8va) C Major Scale on G & C
Repeat the same process but now we are a Perfect Fifth Down, on the G & C strings.


Exercise [2.A] One Octave (1 8va) A minor Scale on A, D & G
Now we will try out the Natural Minor Scale in first position, using our open strings to check 1st Finger. Match 1st Finger in 1st Position on the G string to the sound of the open A string. When tuned properly, they should sound like the same note (A in this case), but and Octave (8 steps) apart. Always start with the open string, as this is your “reference pitch”. Keep adjusting your 1st finger until it is In-Tune with the open A string. Do not move on to the scale if your 1st finger is still out-of-tune! Repeat this first step (1st measure) until 1st finger is in tune, and then continue on to play the scale in the following measures.

Exercise [2.B] One Octave (1 8va) D minor Scale on D, G & C
Repeat the same process but now we are down a Perfect Fifth, on the D, G & C strings.

D Minor is one of the best keys on cello! Enjoy the deep dark tones you can get from this key, especially on the C string.


At this point, you are ready to play French Folk Song in D minor, aka The Sad Clown. Next week I will show you how to play it 2 different ways, using 2 different fingering systems. So practice up and stay tuned! ~ Brian

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