Sunday, March 18, 2007

Modal Mastery II: Five Weeks to Mastering Seconds and Thirds

This regimen is divided up into six week chunks (Though, I hardly ever manage to do a form every day), so the basic competence stage is really just the first seven days of this six week series addressing second and third intervallic patterns through the mode forms. It just so happens that playing the mode forms linearly is the first "pattern."

I really have no idea what classical guitar teachers do with scales in terms of pedagogy - I had a classical guitar teacher give me the position-shifting "Segovia Scales" once and I realized they were illogical, so I blew them off - but what I developed through this method was the ability to improvise modally like Al Di Meola and Paco DeLucia do: That is the goal here. In other words, the idea isn't to have as a goal only the technical ability to play linear passages in composed pieces solidly, but to master the mode forms by applying patterns to them so that one can improvide lines in any modal form. A higher musical goal, IMO.

Also, if you go through this series you will have developed an integral view of the entire fretboard in your head, which as a composer of music for the guitar, I find to be indespensible. Those goofy Segovia Scales won't do that for you.

Here are the first two weeks' patterns:

And the next three weeks worth:

As you can see, there is a logical and systematic pattern developing here. I actually copped these patterns from real Al Di Meola licks and just organized them into a systematic modal exercise series, so these patterns are really the basic building blocks of that kind of an improvisational style (I'm sure Al - I call him "Al" because I've met him before - practiced patterns just like this). Remember, I came up with this when I was a twenty year old student at Berklee playing with plectrum technique. I got plenty fast doing this too.

Now, these patterns are a lot longer than just playing straight through the mode forms, so the system will have to be foreshortened to keep to the ninety minute per day goal. This is quite easy to do. To cut the system in half, all you have to do is play up the pattern in one position, and down the pattern in the next higher or lower position (Depending on whether you are working up or down the neck). To cut it in half yet again (Which will end up being just 25% of the original system) we will be playing down the fingerboard at one metronome setting/using one right hand fingering variation and then up using the next lower or higher metronome setting and the next right hand fingering permutation. So, in actual point of fact, these patterns will take less time to play through (I did two mode forms of pattern one today).

At some point here you will reach critical mass, and you will break through and get close to your natural trained maximum velocity - when I did this with plectrum technique I reached that point going through pattern two here - and that is a great feeling. Already during this project I've gotten from 184 BPM to 196 BPM, so it's coming, but I'm not there... not quite yet.


In honor of St. Patrick's day I give you the most gorgeous example of Irish colleen in recorded history:

The Quiet Man is, like, my favorite John Wayne movie of all... for some reason.


Blogger Hucbald said...

HEY YOU! in Sommerville, MA!

Hope you're enjoying this post, as you seem to hit it every couple of days or so. LOL!


10:32 AM  

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