Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Chromatics Day 3

The previous exercise used rhythmic displacement to add interest. For this installment we'll be using octave displacement. 

Simply put this is just a chromatic scale but every note is in a different octave from the previous one. Obviously this results in some technical challenges and obscures the sound of the chromatic scale. 
 What you end up with is actually a tone row of sorts as described by serialist music theory. Here's a link if you're interested in finding out more.

To deal with the large intervallic leaps I used hybrid picking technique. I found myself using all my right hand fingers to pull it off. It makes for an excellent right hand exercise. 

In the spirit of serialist compositional technique you could also play it in retrograde. In other words, backwards. 

There many other possible configurations of this exercise so it's worth spending time working them out. It will develop your fretboard awareness and open things up when improvising. Guitarist's tend to play few wide intervals and this is a good way to start think 'bigger'. You could also apply the same concept to 7 note scale within a diatonic framework.

Chromatics Day 2

Here's another little finger twister for you. Not only will this get your fingers in a tangle but it'll mess with your mind a little bit too!

In this particular slice of Digital Hell you'll be playing an odd note grouping of 5 descending along a single string. The first finger must stay very low and reach back to anticipate the next position whilst the other fingers are playing.

This could be played two different ways rhymically:

As a pentuplet so you're playing the entire 5 note pattern in the space of one beat or alternatively over a 4/4 pulse. 

Played at any kind of speed this becomes confusing to the ear as the mind tries to resolve a constantly shifting 1. This is a useful device for creating rhythmic interest with relatively simple figures but requires greater rhythmic control to keep in time. 
 Many players use this technique in their improvisation. 

For ease of reading the example is notated in 5/16 but in the video I'm playing it over a 4 pulse. The tempo is 140bpm but as always build up to faster tempos slowly ensuring clarity at all times.

Chromatics Day 1

  I always like to practice chromatic patterns. Not only are they a good way of maintaining your technique but it's also very useful to have a large repetoire of them when improvising.

So to kick of the new year I'll try and post a new one each day. Some of these will be taken from my Digital Hell series whilst others will be new.

As ever the golden rules are:

Practice these slowly and cleanly at first
Build up the speed gradually using a metronome for much of the time
If you can't sing these patterns as you play them then learn to

As usual I'm playing in P4 tuning in the video but for you unfortunate souls still in standard tuning I've tabbed it that way.

Here's the dots....