Author Topic: Must I practise all 3 registers when practising 12 scales?  (Read 180 times)

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Online 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.

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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. 

Online 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