2-Octave C Major Scale: Piano Tutorial

Today’s video is a quick C major scale tutorial, and how to transform 1-octave scales (which we’ve learned up until this point) into 2-octave scales. This is appropriate for around level 1 piano. We’re still going to keep it hands separate – all things in good time!

Sheet music for C major scale

C major scale – Right Hand

For our regular 1-octave C major scale in the right hand, you cross under the thumb after finger 3, play to your pinky, then cross back over finger 3 on the way back down. But what if we want to extend it another octave – ending on a further C?

Instead of ending on your pinky, you need to do a little manoeuver with your thumb, crossing it under the fourth finger (which plays B), so that your thumb lands on C. With your thumb on C, it’s basically like doing another scale all over again, and you play until E, cross on finger 3, then finish on your pinky.

The best way to remember all your finger manoeuvers is to remember 3-4-3. Cross on 3, cross on 4, cross on 3. It works the same going both up, and down (check out the video for a full explanation).

C major scale: Left hand

Now let’s look at the left hand. Remembering the 3-4-3 rule of finger crossings, this should be a breeze. You play up to your thumb, then cross over with finger 3. Up to your thumb, then cross over with finger 4. Up to your thumb, then cross over with finger 3. Now you’ve completed two octaves, so it’s time to turn around and head home.

Play to finger 3, then the thumb goes under. Play to finger 4, then the thumb goes under. Play to finger 3, then the thumb goes under. And that’s it!

Check out the video to see examples of both the right and left hand playing a C major scale, so you can see how it all works.


And that’s all there is to it! You might find the 2-octave C major scale (or any 2-octave scale) a bit of a brain workout when you first get into it, but the goal is for that finger pattern to become natural, and something you don’t think about when you play. We’re always on the quest for ease in our playing!


Allysia has been teaching piano in Canada for nearly a decade, and has her Grade 10 RCM certificate. She especially enjoys nerding out to music history and theory. When she’s not making videos or teaching, she’s reading, writing, and jamming in a rock band.