Author Topic: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?  (Read 376 times)

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Offline Gene Oh

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Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« on: September 12, 2021, 06:28:44 PM »


For my own practicing purposes, I have created above video clip including a Chromatic scale and 12 major scales.

As kindly advised by Slim(one of my respected SlideMeisters) last month, I plan to practice these basic scales daily lest I forget them that I have learned over the last 24 months.

What do you think of this? Must I include all 3 registers instead of one low register in my scale practice?

Gene from NZ


« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 06:38:45 PM by Gene Oh »

Offline A.J. Fedor

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2021, 10:36:12 PM »
A scale is a scale. If you're practicing scales, I think playing the high notes as well, would be very beneficial because they're harder to get to sound right, and making the high notes sound right can only help you with the low notes.

Offline robertpcoble

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2021, 08:31:25 AM »
Given that each register of the chromatic is duplicated, it seems "logical" that you could practice all 12 keys in a single register, and then easily "jump" to a different register whenever needed or desired (not necessarily the same thing). However, the mere fact that you have to shift the harmonica horizontally to change registers changes the "muscle memory" so there is good reason to practice across all three registers. The fact that the actually pitches are an octave higher (or lower) changes your recognition of the interval relationships. A significant part of "muscle memory" is actually "sound memory."

I think of scales as a way of creating "muscle and sound memory" of where the notes reside (associating a specific sound with a specific location - thank you, Smokey Joe Leone, for that great advice!) and the various routes/movements used to get to those specific sound  locations. It is more about the interval relationships between the notes than it is about the scale per se. Scales are a means to an end, not an end in themselves, IMHO. As a consequence, I think it's important to cover the entire range of the instrument rather than confine my practice to a single register. At a minimum, I would suggest trying to cover at least the two lower registers (if you can't stand the high register notes). It give you the opportunity to play fluidly across a wider range of notes, which can add interest to your playing.

As an example of WHY, I often find that I want to drop to the 5th scale degree of a scale (BELOW the tonic note) and then walk back up to the tonic. Sometimes I usually like to play in a lower register, but (occasionally, for variety) then switch to a higher register to avoid boring the heck out of me, my band mates and the audience. Switching registers also helps me broaden the sound range when playing with my band. Since we added a good fiddle player, I try to stay out of the range that he is playing in. If he is playing on the low notes, I go up to the higher register. If he's up in the rafters in the nose-bleed section on the fiddle, I switch down to the lower register. It helps us avoid walking on each other's sound space.

Obviously, if you play solely for your own "amazement," the register you play in really doesn't matter as long as you enjoy playing there.

Do what YOU find enjoyable and have fun!
Crazy Bob

Offline SlimHeilpern

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2021, 12:57:50 PM »
There's no limit to ways of practicing scales and their modes, but you obviously can't practice everything every day, so I would do whatever you can fit in.

With respect to the 3 registers, the big difference between octaves will be with respect to the draw vs. blow C notes. With most of the major scales I'll use a draw C instead of one of the blow C's (in most keys this leads to easier legato playing). And obviously that can't be done for the lowest and highest C's on the instrument, so there is a difference. But if you're using all blow C's, then your 'fingering' will be the same in every octave.

- Slim
http://www.slidemanslim.com
slim@slidemanslim.com

Offline ejacob4

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2021, 04:20:31 PM »
Yes.

Sooner or later you’ll end up there. Good news is they play easily. Bad news is they are hard to play well. You do more and less at the same time.

Yes.
Best regards,
Ed

Offline vid wes

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2021, 04:36:00 PM »
There is a great book by the jazz educator David Baker, I can't remember the title, but he recommends practicing scales from the lowest note on your instrument to the highest. 

Offline Gene Oh

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2021, 05:16:40 PM »
Hi all who have left comments for me,
I am very grateful for your kind advice and recommendation. I will keep in mind what all of you have said.
But for now, I will start practising the scales daily with the low register only.

Cheers,
Gene
 

Offline Woelneberg

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2021, 05:57:40 AM »
Depends on the scale, but in general I believe it's is beneficial simply because variation is important to develop a deversified style. Specifically I think it's very important to practice scales with only 7 notes in at least two octaves because that's when the scale  become symmetrical with itself. That's because we count music in four beats. So the second octave will have the D note on the one beat instead of the C note. So in the second octave the draw notes play on the 1 and 3 instead of the blow notes as in the first Octave. If you don't practice this shift I think it will be difficult to apply in action?

Offline robertpcoble

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2021, 09:09:08 AM »
I don't remember who suggested the following idea, but many thanks to YOU!

One of the things that makes playing scales BORING (to ME) is to play from the tonic note up the scale to the next tonic note, and then back down to the tonic note. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum. B-O-R-I-N-G! To ME, that is the worst possible (totally NON-musical) way to practice getting around on an instrument. I cannot recall any tune which consists solely of playing up and down a scale (but somebody at sometime probably wrote such a tune). I have NEVER practiced scales this way!

Instead, somebody suggested this variation on scale playing practice. Play the lower tonic note TWICE. Then alternate between the tonic note and the remaining notes of the scale going up to the next higher tonic note in order. Once the upper tonic note is reached, reverse the sequence and play back down to the lower tonic note. In essence, the tonic note becomes a "pedal point" (intentionally left unexplained). Try to play with an equal amount of time between every note played. No need to rush; just play the notes, LISTEN intently as you play and don't worry about the muscle memory; it comes along for free.

In scale degrees, this exercise looks like this:

Ascending:
1 - 1
1 - 2
1 - 3
1 - 4
1 - 5
1 - 6
1 - 7
1 - 8

Descending:
1 - 8
1 - 7
1 - 6
1 - 5
1 - 4
1 - 3
1 - 2
1 - 1

Repeat.

Repeat for each and every key - but not in the same session. Stick to one key per practice session on scales so as to avoid confusion.

The starting point (tonic) can be varied to be any scale degree, going up and then back down an octave. If you do this starting on each scale degree, you will have also practiced all 7 modes (intentionally left unexplained). As an aside, the relative natural minor key is played by starting on the 6th scale degree of the major key and playing up and down an octave 6 - 7 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. Use the 6th scale degree as the tonic/pedal point note. For example, If the major key is C major: C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C, the relative natural minor is A minor: A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A.

Playing the scale degree notes sequentially in order will provide SOME "feel" for the relative distance between ADJACENT notes, but will not help moving fluidly from one note to any other ARBITRARY note in the scale. (We all know how composers love to "jump" around in a scale. Actually, they don't, but it can seem that way.)

Think of how the chord structure often changes in a major key song. It doesn't go sequentially in order through the I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - vii° chords. There are a lot of songs that are based on the I - IV - V chords. You have to "jump" from one chord to the next. Sometimes there are transitional notes/chords interspersed. (I'm thinking of the "standard" transition of vi - ii - V - I, which is a very common transition back to the tonic based on the Circle of Fourths - or, if you will, a descending sequence based on the Circle of Fifths.)

That ending transition phrase provides another variation to practice: 6 - 2 - 5 - 1 (in scale degrees).

You can gain even more from this exercise by imagining (as you change from the tonic to a different note) that you are hearing a little snatch of a song. If you feel like it, play the song (or at least that small section of it). Then go back to the exercise.

This kind of exercise is best done in small doses for a short period of time. I personally don't spend more than about 5 minutes doing this exercise - but I do it regularly.

There are myriad ways to vary the sequence of notes played in a practice session. All of them provide good ways to pound the relative position of the scale notes into muscle memory.

Crazy Bob



Offline brorat

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2021, 10:18:39 AM »
Thanks, Crazy Bob.  I have "copied and pasted" your method so I can print it out and utilize it as a way to practice scales.  I've been very neglectful in practicing scales, and consequently, about 95% of what I play is in the key of C major.  The "boring" nature of scales has been one of my issues.  (The other is I'm just too lazy to do the work.   I enjoy playing too much to practice!)
Anyway, your method struck a chord (pun intended!) with me, and I want to give it a try.
“Just here to harp on chromatics!”

Online John Broecker

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2021, 10:51:35 AM »
Only if you want to.

And, depending on
your musical goals.


Don't let anyone (including
me) tell you what you must
or must not do.

If you want to reach a
professional/advanced
level,
you should
practice all 3 or 4 harp
registers: major and
minor scales, modes,
and arpeggios.

That's a long-term goal.
It would be impossible for
a new player to practice
all of that every day.

Practice 1 major, one minor,
each with it's arpeggio, and
one mode and it's arpeggio,
for the range of your harp,
every day for a month.

Then move to another set of
one major and minor scale,
1 mode, and the arpeggios.

One new set per month.

If you just want to play tunes,
you might not reach a pro/
advanced level, but you'll enjoy
playing.

But, play tunes in different scales.
Find your way around the harp,
find the scale of each tune, and
play it well, before trying the
tune.

Either way, progressive playing
takes many years of some kind
of practice, at least a half hour
to an hour EVERY DAY, unless
you are ill.

Best Regards, Stay Healthy

JB
« Last Edit: October 10, 2021, 11:38:38 AM by John Broecker »
Never tap-dance on a shark's tail. The best thing about ice cream, is that ice cream has no bones.

Offline A.J. Fedor

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2021, 02:35:53 PM »
Wow! The more Crazy Bob writes; the better I like the guy. 8)

Age

Offline brorat

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2021, 10:55:15 AM »
Crazy Bob suggested a unique way to practice scales.  I liked his suggestion.  Here's my attempt at practicing a couple of scales the way he suggests. 
The first part of the recording is in C maj. 
The second part is in F maj.
It really makes me concentrate, not just on whether the note is a blow or draw, and whether or not the button is involved, but I have to think about WHERE the note is located!  It's not as easy as you might think!
“Just here to harp on chromatics!”

Offline robertpcoble

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2021, 12:43:17 PM »
brorat:

Just passing along what I picked up from others. I try to give kudos where warranted - I'm not all that original. I purposefully look for suggestions for HOW to learn. This exercise really helps grind the note LOCATIONs into muscle memory!

Good demo of that scale practice - and in different keys!

Thanks,

Crazy Bob
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 12:45:32 PM by robertpcoble »

Offline A.J. Fedor

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2021, 05:49:03 PM »


In scale degrees, this exercise looks like this:

Ascending:
1 - 1
1 - 2
1 - 3
1 - 4
1 - 5
1 - 6
1 - 7
1 - 8

Descending:
1 - 8
1 - 7
1 - 6
1 - 5
1 - 4
1 - 3
1 - 2
1 - 1

Crazy Bob

Aaaaagghhh! Scales from the pit! :o

Offline Leatherman

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2021, 08:58:12 PM »
I think a good practice is playing scales in thirds.
Example…..C E D F E G F A G B A C B D C and then back the way you came. Try it in different keys. Just my wee thought on it.  It gives a bit of variety and takes the boredom out.

Offline robertpcoble

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2021, 10:49:34 PM »
Leatherman:

There are many variations on the practice theme. It's all good IFF it increases your facility in getting around the instrument AND increases your enjoyment of PLAYING MUSIC. In the final analysis, that should always be the primary goal.

Age:

Angels, ascending and descending, using Jacob's Musical Ladder!

Crazy (about allusions, but not illusions) Bob

Offline Leatherman

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Re: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2021, 11:36:06 PM »
Robert…..I agree. The advice I got years ago was….”practice your scales until you are as familiar with them as you are with your home key….probably C Major”.
Then, playing in different keys isn’t such a mystery anymore.