How to Play the G-sharp-minor Scale on the Piano - Scales, Chords & Exercises

by Elke Galvin October 11, 2023 • 4 minute read
Learn everything about the G-sharp-minor scale for piano - notes and fingerings for both hands included! Exercise the G-sharp minor scale and chords to improve your playing skills and music theory knowledge.
G-sharp minor is lucky that its parallel major scale is B-major. This is why we come across this scale more often than across its enharmonic pitch twin A-flat minor. Also, most musicians prefer to play fewer sharps or flats. G-sharp minor uses just five sharps while its evil enharmonic twin consists of seven flat notes. For piano players, it's not an unpopular scale, so it is a great idea to study it well.
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G# Minor on Piano

The Notes of the G-sharp Minor Scale

The G-sharp minor scale starts out on G-sharp and then goes up using four more sharps - A#, C#, D#, and F#. This tells you that, on your piano, you play five black keys and two white ones: G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#. Its enharmonic "twin" is A-flat minor, which is much more rarely used.

G#-minor notes for piano

How to Play the G-sharp Minor Scale With the Right Hand (Treble Clef)

On the piano, you can play the G-sharp minor scale going up (toward the higher notes) or coming down. In the treble clef, do this

  • Play the following notes going up: G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#. Start playing with your second finger in G#, continue on the A# with your third finger, then tuck your thumb to play the B. Continue up with fingers two and three, then tuck again to play the E with your thumb. Finish with fingers two and three on F# and G# afterward.
  • Play the following notes going down: G#-F#-E-D#-C#-B-A#-G#. Now reverse what you've done coming up. Start playing with your third finger on the G# and play down to the first finger on E, then tuck your third finger over the thumb to play the D#, and once you have reached the B, tuck the third finger again to reach the A#. Finish off by playing the G# with your second finger.
G-sharp Minor treble clef incl. fingering

How to Play the G-sharp minor Scale With the Left Hand (Bass Clef)

Piano beginners may find it difficult to read and play the left hand. It is worth investing some time to really familiarize yourself with the notes of the B minor scale in the bass clef, and learn how to read them in music scores.

The notes are the same as in the right hand (G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#), but they look different:

G-sharp minor bass clef

This is how you play:

  • Going up: Starting with your third finger on G#, play up until your thumb reaches the B. Then tuck your third finger over to play the C# and play until your thumb reaches the next white key, the E. Tuck again and reach the G# with your second finger.
  • Coming down: Reverse all of that. Start with your second finger on the high G#, and continue with the third finger on F#. Then tuck your first finger to reach the E, and play down until your third finger reaches the C#. Tuck the thumb again to play the B, and end the scale playing the A# with finger two and the G# with finger three.

The G-sharp minor Key Signature

The key signature, located at the beginning of each line of a piece, lets you see which notes will be raised (#) or lowered (b) consistently throughout that piece.

If you spot this key signature below, the piece is likely in G-sharp minor (or in its parallel Major scale B Major, you'll be able to determine that from the mood of the piece:

G# minor key signature

6 Exercises to Practice the G-sharp minor Scale

Play one exercise after the other and only move on after having correctly played the previous exercise 5 times on your piano:

  1. Play the left hand up and down using a metronome and slowly increasing speed
  2. Play the right hand up and down using a metronome and slowly increasing speed
  3. Play both hands up and down using a metronome and slowly increasing speed
  4. Play the left hand up starting from the lowest B to the highest, and down starting from the highest G# to the lowest
  5. Play the right hand up starting from the lowest G# to the highest, and down starting from the highest G# to the lowest
  6. Play both hands up starting with the left hand on the lowest G# and stopping when the right hand reaches the highest G#, then play down to the starting position

Why you should exercise scales in general:

  • To memorize a scale
  • To practice dexterity and intonation (play all keys with even loudness. Beginners often play the notes they work with their stronger fingers much harder. Aim for an even tone)
  • To be able to play the scale in time without hesitating to find your fingerings
  • To be able to build chords and improvise

G-sharp minor Chords on the Piano

Any minor chord is constructed of three or more notes: The root note - the minor third - the perfect fifth.

In short, what this means for G-sharp minor:

  • The basic G-sharp minor chord consists of G#-B-D#.
  • The first inversion is B-D#-G#.
  • The second inversion is D#-G#-B.

To practice the G-sharp minor chord and inversions, switch from the chord starting with the root note to the first, and the second inversion, starting slowly using a metronome, then increasing your tempo.

Elke Galvin
Elke Galvin is a British-Austrian singer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer. She has worked both as a musician and journalist for over 25 years. Not only is she an acclaimed songwriter, she loves to write about music, too! Making music theory easy to understand is her passion, as is writing about music styles, music and the brain, and how to have fun learning and playing music.

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