Friday, April 24, 2009

My first thought on waking up this morning: Killer Scales. The trouble is that scales have seven, not eight tones and that we have five, not four fingers on each hand.

Why not get interested in the scale as a potential source of endless fascination?

Play or sing any major scale, dividing it into two parts of four tones each -- i.e., two tetrachords. If playing use the fingering 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4. Don't be afraid of the shift in the middle. Notice that the tetrachords are balanced: each tone in the upper tetrachord is exactly a perfect fifth higher than each tone in the lower.

Now change one tone in one of the tetrachords and sing or play the scale both rising and falling. What happens?

Keeping the change, add a change -- any change -- in the other tetrachord. Now play or sing the scale, rising and falling. Continue in this manner until ....

Is there an end to the sentence?