Author Topic: Scale Playing Conventions  (Read 614 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline halfaura

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Scale Playing Conventions
« on: June 13, 2017, 01:59:12 PM »
On the piano, it is easy for me to play a major scale following the WWHWWWH theory or WHWWWHW for minor scale. However, on the chromatic (and historically the clarinet too) it seems to be more difficult. How do you guys go about keeping in a scale other than the one the chromatic is tuned to?

I feel like the difficulty lies in being unable to "see" all the notes in front of me or feel for them, since every hole on the chromatic looks and feels the same before playing (to me).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 02:02:31 PM by halfaura »

Offline Keith

  • HELPER
  • Chrome-Minator
  • **
  • Posts: 688
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2017, 02:54:21 PM »
Re the holes on the chromatic, they are groups of 4, takes a little while to get used to, but if you think of the note, rather than the hole, it all comes together eventually, as I am discovering.

C E G C
D F A B

(On a standard 'C'.)

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 10,700
  • Aye I Eye
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2017, 03:08:14 PM »
Being able to hear yourself helps!
And using the same key all the time, so that the notes are in the same place, also aids this process.
I personally have found that changing the tuning of holes 4 and 8 blow further adds to my ability to know where I am. Tuning the C on blow 4 and 8 (and C# on the slide notes) to Bb changes the layout so that every blow note is lower than the draw note, which is not true on a stock chrom--the draw on the fourth hole B is lower than the blow C!
C E G Bb
D F A B
This is also useful to me since Bb is the first flat, using enharmonics helps to create the unique slide harmonica sound.

Offline halfaura

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2017, 03:26:32 PM »
I suppose I just need to spend a lot more idle time noodling to feel for the notes. It seems to be more exponentially mor challenging than the original linear progression I thought on the diatonic.

Although, I do find myself between two holes rather than over one hole due to lack of feeling on the slide.

Offline Gnarly He Man

  • AKA Gary
  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • MonsterMeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 10,700
  • Aye I Eye
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2017, 03:52:58 PM »
I find it helps to play into a tuner (there are several iOS tuners) to see what notes you are playing.

Offline smojoe

  • MasterMeister
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,299
  • virgo
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2017, 05:15:33 PM »

Knowing the addresses of the notes by NAME is only useful if you are a reader. Tab is ok for people good with figures & directions. But EAR is most important for non readers. And that takes a lot of time.
sm0joe

Offline Grizzly

  • MonsterMeister
  • ******
  • Posts: 11,005
  • aka Tom
    • Transcriptions
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2017, 06:16:24 PM »
The added component, halfaura, is the need for breath exchanges. That dimension for playing scales or scale passages in different keys on the same harmonica is something that other wind players don't have to contend with.

Ear players have to know this, too. It's not just for music readers. Joey's "addresses" is good for all.

What I've found in playing music that I get to the point where breath direction isn't conscious. It just happens. It's as natural as breathing. Yes, I really did say that.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline deepsouth

  • Chrome-Tributor
  • **
  • Posts: 213
  • Music of Language - Language of Music
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2017, 07:12:56 PM »
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/yvonnickharmonicaschool/210010177

Here's a link to a lesson all about major scales.  An hour and eleven minutes, $10 bucks.  Learning the scales will propel you forward in understanding the instrument, and the video lesson will be immensely helpful.

I'm not affiliated with Yvonnick -  have bought a few of his lessons and really benefitted from the content and methods he presents.

Offline Rich35

  • V.I.P
  • Chrome-Tributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 245
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 10:40:08 AM »

 deepsouth
   Thanks for the info this looks like something I might help me to ear play some .
        Rich 8)

Offline Blowout

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Tributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
  • In woodshed detention
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 05:45:43 PM »
I give another vote for Yvonnick's lessons, and his books. He focuses on scales and exercises a lot, there's quite a few youtubes by him too. He has a very helpful and pleasant manner.

cheers Howard

Offline streetlegal

  • Chrome-Meister
  • ****
  • Posts: 2,795
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 04:37:39 AM »
All I'd say about scales is that it pays off if you focus on one for a period of time, rather than running through all 12 Major scales all at once. So let's say a player is familiar with the key of C and has a good feeling for the C scale pattern on the chromatic. Then it is time to move on to the key of G (the next key on the Circle of Fifths).

First play the scale up and down until the new pattern begins to take shape in your head. It may help to write out the scale pattern as it falls on your mouthpiece - hole numbers, blow or draw, slide in. Another thing that can help is to have a G drone sounding in the background as you play. This will help to break your ear away from the idea that C is always the tonic. Then start playing simple familiar tunes at a slow tempo. After one month of daily practice in the key of G, the basic facility to play tunes in that key will have been acquired. Of course fluency will take longer - but these things cannot be rushed. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 04:41:55 AM by streetlegal »

Offline Robin Jay

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Member
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 08:29:00 AM »
All I'd say about scales is that it pays off if you focus on one for a period of time, rather than running through all 12 Major scales all at once. So let's say a player is familiar with the key of C and has a good feeling for the C scale pattern on the chromatic. Then it is time to move on to the key of G (the next key on the Circle of Fifths).

This is the approach that Max De Aloe takes in his excellent book Method for Chromatic Harmonica i.e. one step clockwise on the Circle of Fifths - G (one sharp) and one step anti-clockwise - F (one flat). This is a good sequential approach (with the possible exception of chapter 8 ) and as you can see from the chapter list below, the learning curve is exponential. The more you learn, the easier, and hence faster, the learning process becomes!

1   The basics
2   C - The middle octave
3   C - The low octave
4   C - The high octave
5   G & F   (1 sharp & 1 flat)
6   D & Bb (2 sharps & 2 flats)
7   A & Eb (3 sharps & 3 flats)
8   Notation for all scales and arpeggios
9   The other keys - E, Ab, B, Db & Gb
10 Exercises on arpeggios and basic chords

I think that by the time you've finished chapter 7 (no mean feat) you are probably ready to tackle anything! :)

Disclaimer: I have NO other interest in this book other than as a tool to help me learn to play the instrument. Terms & Conditions apply. ;)

Best regards, Robin.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 02:02:39 PM by Robin Jay »

Offline Robin Jay

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Member
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 08:30:27 AM »
Yeah - that 8) was meant to be an 8  ;D

Offline Willi

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 73
  • Member
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2017, 01:06:36 PM »
All I'd say about scales is that it pays off if you focus on one for a period of time, rather than running through all 12 Major scales all at once. So let's say a player is familiar with the key of C and has a good feeling for the C scale pattern on the chromatic. Then it is time to move on to the key of G (the next key on the Circle of Fifths).

This is the approach that Max De Aloe takes in his excellent book Method for Chromatic Harmonica i.e. one step clockwise on the Circle of Fifths - G (one sharp) and one step anti-clockwise - F (one flat). This is a good sequential approach (with the possible exception of chapter 8) and as you can see from the chapter list below, the learning curve is exponential. The more you learn, the easier, and hence faster, the learning process becomes!

1)   The basics
2)   C - The middle octave
3)   C - The low octave
4)   C - The high octave
5)   G & F   (1 sharp & 1 flat)
6)   D & Bb (2 sharps & 2 flats)
7)   A & Eb (3 sharps & 3 flats)
8)   Notation for all scales and arpeggios
9)   The other keys - E, Ab, B, Db & Gb
10) Exercises on arpeggios and basic chords

I think that by the time you've finished chapter 7 (no mean feat) you are probably ready to tackle anything! :)

Disclaimer: I have NO other interest in this book other than as a tool to help me learn to play the instrument. Terms & Conditions apply. ;)

Best regards, Robin.
That is a good tip! Quite a studying plan!

Offline Blowout

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Tributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
  • In woodshed detention
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2017, 06:00:58 PM »
Yep, Robin's right (again). I really enjoy Max's book. The pieces are worthwhile playing - they don't sound like exercises. Some of the later ones sound very sophisticated and jazzy. I agree that the way of advancing through keys is a good one, it's done in a way that you barely notice the progression.

cheers Howard

Offline BeeWee

  • Chrome-Tributor
  • **
  • Posts: 152
  • ReStarter
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2017, 02:22:21 PM »
There are no short cuts, the only way is praktisch every day. And if possible a few time a day, it takes only a few minutes.
And after a few weeks you know your scales.
◇ bert ◇

Offline deepsouth

  • Chrome-Tributor
  • **
  • Posts: 213
  • Music of Language - Language of Music
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2017, 12:30:05 AM »
I can see benefit in the approach described, concentrating on a single key and scale.  But no, I can't see spending a month before you move on to a new key.  My compulsion was to become acquainted with the layout of the instrument, and that meant knowing every note on it.  I knew what a major scale sounds like -  it didn't matter which key.  So the first day I purposed to do so, I found the patterns for all twelve major scales and learned their sequences.  It wasn't easy, it required effort, but, as most of us are familiar with, it's that kind of effort that you enjoy expending.  So for a few days it seemed like I had to relearn many of the scales from scratch each time I practiced -  it was frustrating; they didn't take hold quickly enough to suit me.  But sooner than expected, muscle memory surprised me, those patterns became habitual, and within a couple of weeks I was familiar with every major scale, at least two octaves ascending and descending.  That made a world of difference in my understanding of the instrument, and laid in some fundamentals that helped me toward improvising over minor chords, arpeggiating triads, building chord extensions such as major ninths, etc.  There's no way I would have wanted to take twelve months to assimilate that basic grasp and the facility that came with it.  I advocate diving in with your mouth open and drinking down all the major scales... do it daily, and they'll be yours.

Offline streetlegal

  • Chrome-Meister
  • ****
  • Posts: 2,795
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2017, 05:25:46 AM »
Learning the scale patterns is the easy part - even though it seems really mindbending at the start. The test is - can you play a tune in G with the same kind of flow as you can play it in C?

Knowing the G scale is a great place to start - but familiarity with the intervals within the G scale as they fall on the mouthpiece takes a whole lot longer. At least that has been my experience. To play with flow it is not enough to know the location of each note, but to feel the intervals between each note of that scale. 12 months around the Circle of Fifths is just the beginning - the introduction that will allow someone to play tunes in any key at a basic level. 

Offline Blowout

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Tributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
  • In woodshed detention
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2017, 08:35:28 PM »
I'm a firm believer in practicing scales and arpeggios, too. It's the foundation of how I learned other instruments, so I figured if it worked for me before it will for chromatic.

Regarding the topic title - I wish my workplace would send me to Scale Playing Conventions instead of the usual business ones.

cheers Howard


Offline halfaura

  • Baby Button Pusher
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2017, 08:37:05 PM »
Okay, I'll give those a shot. Working with a particular scale at a time seems like it would be most helpful for me.  Arpeggios are the most difficult for me traditionally.

Offline jimjams

  • V.I.P
  • Chrome-Tributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 444
  • Every note counts
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2017, 12:41:49 PM »
Learning the scale patterns is the easy part - even though it seems really mindbending at the start. The test is - can you play a tune in G with the same kind of flow as you can play it in C?

Knowing the G scale is a great place to start - but familiarity with the intervals within the G scale as they fall on the mouthpiece takes a whole lot longer. At least that has been my experience. To play with flow it is not enough to know the location of each note, but to feel the intervals between each note of that scale. 12 months around the Circle of Fifths is just the beginning - the introduction that will allow someone to play tunes in any key at a basic level.

Alternating between major scales, pentatonic scales, and arpeggios  seems to help solidify those intervals for me.
James
Musical artistry comes via a relentless pursuit of beauty.

Offline Ed McCullough

  • CONTRIBUTOR
  • Chrome-Minator
  • ***
  • Posts: 988
Re: Scale Playing Conventions
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2017, 02:02:58 AM »
"How do you guys go about keeping in a scale other than the one the chromatic is tuned to? "
   For me, the first step is to practice playing just the scale so that the blow-draws and slide positions are a familiar pattern.  I also cheat by having memorized the sharps and flats in at least nine scales fifty years ago. I know where the sharps (slide in) are the sharp keys.  That first year I got serious about chromatic harmonica and had to memorize the flat keys, and hit the flat notes while playing from a printed page. Getting good with the flat keys was like learning to ride a bicycle all over again, but with just one hand.  Grrrrrr.
   Now, if I want to play something in a key other than C, I might run through the scale of that key for a fast refresher. That resets the pattern.