Dalcroze Rhythmic C-to-C Scales

Note: All audio tracks are downloadable

The Dalcroze C-to-C scales are an excellent way to understand melodic and harmonic function. By function, we refer to the dynamic relationship among all of the scale degrees that give each pitch its own distinctive character and feel. In this way, each note of the scale functions in a hierarchy that ultimately creates a strong drive towards the Tonic (Scale Degree 1). By placing each scale within the octave from C-to-C, students can begin to feel the push and pull of each scale degree and eventually begin to hear the harmonies that support these pitches.

Rhythmically, we hold the pitch C (the first and last notes of each ascent and descent) longer than the other pitches in the scale, so that we have time to absorb its color and character. As you work through each scale in class, you will notice that certain scale degrees hold a specific value. The selection of the particular rhythms we use is somewhat arbitrary. The point is that moving the scales while singing on pitch names and identifying scale degree function rhythmically allows us to embody tonal music in a whole new way. — Jeremy Dittus, Diplôme Supérieur, Embodying Music

Videos for the C-Major C-to-C Rhythmic Scale.

Emphasis is on the feet


Movement for the Rhythmic Scale: Scale Degrees (Numbers)

Emphasis is on feet.


(Click image to enlarge)

Stepping the Rhythmic C-to-C Scale: Letter Names (C Major)

Emphasis on feet

A note about the long “C” at the start and end of each scale

 Audio Accompaniment for Your Practice

Here are accompaniment recordings for your practice.


• Choose the right tempo for you

• Each of the accompaniment tracks has a bit of silence at the start to allow you to get ready.

• Forgive my pitch at the start of the tracks; I was singing through headphones, did not check for reference pitch and went quite sharp. I’ll make sure to check for reference pitch in the future. For now, please accept my apology. — Guy

Practice tips:

• sing on scale degrees (numbers) and also letter names as you move!
•Keep forward momentum • Step on the front of your feet • Practice starting with either foot • Keep your head up so you can look around you!