Saturday, 19 May 2007

Why do you only use the white keys, Kevin?

So about a week ago I was fiddling around on the white keys. Now that I have figured out three different scales all using the white keys,

This post is now about the white keys.

I remember back in year 10 or 11 or whenever it was, we were in music class and I was putting some stuff into Fruity Loops. Liam was giving me shit about only using the white keys and Mr Lipsham chimed in and teased 'oh but its much easier that way'. Nevermind the fact that he should have then explained a bit about intervals and suggest how I incorporate some sharps in there - he was never a real music teacher anyways. The fact is, given my breadth of music theory, it was easier.

Where does that leave me now though? I know about scales and intervals, and I know many scales that work across whites and blacks, so why when I stuff around do I find myself on a D Dorian, C Major or A Minor? Its to do with familiarity I suppose. I just as often find my fingers running up a C or G blues. These are just the scales I know inside out, and where I am inclined to go. I wonder what will happen if/when I know 100 different scales?

I don't think this employment of a few regular scales is a bad thing in and of itself. Playing in a scale that I am familiar with allows me to play in ways that I am not familiar with - there's more to my playing than just the scales!

By having the scale in a familiar place, I can more easily experiment with components such as:

  • Rhythm.

  • Two hand independence.

  • Note choice. [as in not just playing up the scale as I am wont to do -more like working around a key note and referencing other notes from that, or just jumping around the scale in differnet ways]

  • ...and a particular week point of mine...note lengths, and employing diversity between them.


I talked about note lengths in the last post with those basslines. Maybe I should talk to Paul to get some exercises on this.While I do try and challenge myself to find [or just look up and play] different patterns, too, I think trying too many new concepts at once will leave my high and dry.

Anyways, the next post will go on about familiar notes and unfamiliar rhythms.

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