Jump to content


Photo

What Is The Point Of Scales?


44 replies to this topic

#37 David Barnert

David Barnert

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3066 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Albany, NY, USA

Posted 04 August 2017 - 10:06 PM

Practicing tunes may be more enjoyable, but it gives you nothing but proficiency playing the particular tune being practiced. Scales and arpeggios, boring as they may be, get you halfway to learning ALL tunes.



#38 Peter Laban

Peter Laban

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 404 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Back of Beyond

Posted 06 August 2017 - 11:33 AM

Practicing tunes may be more enjoyable, but it gives you nothing but proficiency playing the particular tune being practiced.

 

Sorry David but I can't agree with that. Playing a variety of tunes is a way of making yourself acquainted with all sorts of situations or 'movements' if you like that will help you to to get familiar with your instrument and will also be helpful when learning new tunes. 

 

We can argue about what the most efficient way to achieve an intimate understanding and familiarity with your instrument  but it can just as easily be said that practicing scales and arpeggios will get you to be good at playing scales and arpeggios. But that's just words and they are cheap. I do think scales and arpeggios will just train the mechanical side of music making while playing tunes helps develop both musical and mechanical skills. And it's important to develop both. How exactly to go about learning depends on a person's goals, type of music etc. Rome, a variety of roads to get you there  and all that.


Edited by Peter Laban, 06 August 2017 - 01:00 PM.


#39 DaveM

DaveM

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern VA, USA

Posted 07 August 2017 - 08:17 AM

I think it is a bit more than just mechanical, especially for someone completely new to music.  Playing scales and arpeggios allows you to associate the muscle movements with the sounds in the context of a key.  Yes, tunes do this too, but then you to divide your focus between multiple aspects of the music.  Presumably, for some people this focused aspect is helpful, for others it may be unnecessary.



#40 Anglo-Irishman

Anglo-Irishman

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1483 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near Stuttgart, Germany

Posted 07 August 2017 - 01:51 PM

The instrument you're learning also influences your appreciation of scales and arpeggios.

 

Instruments from the world of classical music (e.g. piano) are fully chromatic; typically "popular" or "people's" instruments (e.g. tin whistle) are diatonic. The latter were developed with the untutored musician in view, the idea being to eliminate all the "wrong" notes in order to make it easier - without theoretical knowledge of key signatures - to find the "right" notes for popular tunes, which are mostly diatonic in nature. 

 

You don't have to learn the scales of C major and G major on an Anglo, which originated as the "popular" version of the concertina. All the notes in one diatonic row are potentially "right" notes, and all you have to do is to get a feeling for how far up or down the row the next note of the tune is. It's like walking a rell-trodden path through the forest.

 

With the chromatic EC or Duet, however, there are "wrong" notes all over the place - 5 of them in each octave. C major may be easy enough - just avoid the two outer columns, and you're OK. But when we move on to F major and G major, we have to learn to avoid the B and F - which are now "wrong" notes - and take a note from an outside column. In Bb and D we get into a pathless forest, which thickens in Eb and A. If we haven't internalised various the zig-zag paths through this chromatic forest, we're going to run into trees when we start moving (playing) quickly. When we know the path of a given key intimately, playing a tune - even a tune or counter-melody we make up on the spur of the moment - becomes, again, merely a matter of feeling how far up or down the path the next note is. 

 

Having said all that, my experience is that to play the Anglo outside of its two home keys, learning and practising the often erratic paths (scales) of the remote keys is even more important than on a chromatic instrument.

 

Cheers,

John



#41 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 07 August 2017 - 04:04 PM

You don't have to learn the scales of C major and G major on an Anglo, which originated as the "popular" version of the concertina. All the notes in one diatonic row are potentially "right" notes, and all you have to do is to get a feeling for how far up or down the row the next note of the tune is. It's like walking a rell-trodden path through the forest.

 

 

Having said all that, my experience is that to play the Anglo outside of its two home keys, learning and practising the often erratic paths (scales) of the remote keys is even more important than on a chromatic instrument.

 

Cheers,

John

You don't have to practise the scales an awful lot if you only play along the rows.  However if you want to get the full benefit of the Anglo layout, even on a "basic" 20 button, there are many different ways of playing each scale across the rows, each version with it's advantages, disadvantages, and ideal applications.  If you have a 30 button, there are ways of playing a full scale on the push and a full scale on the pull, and it is useful to know these routes.

 

When I started out, I decided as a matter of policy I would learn to play across the rows and, for a while, I even avoided playing along the rows before I realised that this was limiting my options.

 

I play chromatic style and each time I learn a tune, I have to work out which of the various routes through the maze is the one that allows me the best accompaniment.

 

Strangely, the more I play, the more I practise my scales.  Almost every practice session ends with me doing various across the rows scales in the 2 home keys in parallel octaves.  It has certainly made me a better player.  Not necessarily a good one, but better than I was.



#42 JimmyM

JimmyM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 49 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cornwall UK

Posted 08 August 2017 - 03:33 PM

ive read this topic with great interest. I'm not a great one for practising much else than tunes but i'm persuaded that my playing would benefit from an exploration of arpeggios and scales...

 

SO could someone point me in the dircetion of ways i might explore these ideas further please



#43 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 647 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

JimmyM, what do you play?  Anglo, English or duet?

 

On Anglo, I do this:

 

Straight forward scales along the row across 2 octaves, single notes, both directions.

 

Extend those scales up and down by crossing the rows, both directions.

 

Play the scales across the rows, single notes.  There are several routes through the maze. Play scales in both directions.

 

Play the scales from tonic to 5th along the rows in octaves.

 

Play the scales over an octave up and down in octaves.

 

I tend to do these steadily and smoothly rather than racing.

 

Play a scale up an down from 1-5 on the right hand, filling in with the left hand on the notes 1, 3 and 5 only.

 

I must admit, I tend to practice the scales more than the arpeggios.

 

However, I do practice the chord shapes as block chords and vamping them.



#44 JimmyM

JimmyM

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 49 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cornwall UK

Posted 08 August 2017 - 05:02 PM

JimmyM, what do you play?  Anglo, English or duet?

 

 

thanks Mike I play anglo

 

ill have a go at some of what you suggest jn my practice. gracias



#45 SteveS

SteveS

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1236 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:High Wycombe, UK

Posted 05 October 2017 - 03:17 AM

After years of playing in the usual more common keys, eg G, D, C, A, Am, Em, Gm, I've decided to work more on the scales in other keys.

I've created diagrams of the buttons that are used in the different scales, and am working on specific exercises for the TT - much of it drawn from exercises for violinists and pianists.

I also need to improve my ear playing, and scales will go a good way to training intervals training on the different scales.

 

 

This I found interesting:

The five black keys promote a natural position of the hand, since the longer fingers play the shorter (i.e., black) keys and vice versa. Chopin always started his students with these keys and ended with C major as the most physically difficult. Unfortunately, nowadays C major is almost without exception the first piano scale learned, since the most difficult to play is also the easiest to read. However, even Vladimir Horowitz made this observation about C major: With his reputation as the greatest virtuoso of his time (his sheer variety of touch at all speeds has hardly been excelled), whenever interviewers asked him to name the most difficult piece he ever played, he would offer one of two replies, either Liszt’s startlingly difficult etude ‘Feux follets’ or the C major scale. He wasn’t being entirely facetious.

(From Piano Scales: 10 Expert Tips)


Edited by SteveS, 05 October 2017 - 03:31 AM.




Reply to this topic



  


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users