Although the practice of scales is essential to building and maintaining strength, technique, tone, and agility—it is very easy to slip into the habit of playing them automatically, without paying attention to how they sound or even being aware of what scale we are playing. The 29 single-page studies in this book are designed to combat that tendency as they are musically, intellectually, and rhythmically challenging.
The first 24 studies proceeded through the circle of fifths and address all minor and relative major keys; the last 5 pieces were individually conceived, i.e., apart from the circle of fifths. Occasional fingerings or position guides are suggested but these are largely left to the student or their teachers. No metronome indications are given so that the etudes can be played at individually comfortable tempos—with or without a metronome, or freely as concert etudes. It is the stepwise motion and octave leaps of the etudes that makes the intervals between pitches easy to hear, even in keys with numerous flats or sharps.
Just as in Elaine Fine’s more basic scale etude book, Violin Scale Tales, the names of the etudes herein refer to various animals that have scales, including insects, fish, birds, reptiles, a few species of squirrels with scales on their tails, and the solitary pangolin, the only known mammal whose entire body is covered with scales. Again, the author hopes that in addition to experiencing more enjoyable scale practice, students will be inspired to learn more about these amazing creatures, or even write scale studies of their own.