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scirocco #2935937 01/19/20 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
... For me the benefit of scale drills is reinforcing the visual pattern ... and also ... hear the oddities of the particular scale ...

Definitely - visual pattern recognition and ear training are two of the main benefits of doing scales. Especially for ear training, you should be able to distinguish scales when you hear them played back. It's important the memorize the "sound" of the scale (both up and down) in addition to the "sound" of standard chord progressions within the scale - it gives our ears the musical context and map to move around within the music; it's one of the most fundamental reasons to do ear training in the first place.

I also agree that that fingering in a scale isn't always directly related to playing scales fragments in that key. Many times the usable fingering comes from a different scale. So there's a benefit to learning the fingering in all the scales (and even alternate fingerings), but many times it's not a one-to-one direct match.


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treefrog #2935939 01/19/20 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by treefrog
... unlike the major scales where it is instantly obvious if I’ve hit the wrong key, I find the minor scales less obvious.
Will I recognise the minor scales in the same way as I do the major scales or is it a case of having to learn them note for note irrespective of how they sound?

Whenever you introduce something new to your ears, your brain will begin a process of fine-tuning your hearing to more accurately identify certain sounds and phrases. Your ears will learn over time to hear finer and finer details in the music, just give it time.

My teacher's approach and advice was to always start with the larger musical context and move to the finer details once the larger musical context had been established in the ear; starting with scales first and moving on down the line.

I also realize now, that there are things I couldn't hear properly or at all in the beginning. I'd mix things up all the time, and misinterpret what I heard. Now, many difficult things are clear as day - but it took time.


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treefrog #2935949 01/19/20 05:07 AM
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I think minor scales need to be known both as the natural minor (in both directions), and with the sharpened 6th and 7th degrees, again in both directions.

Both of these are much more common in real music than the way minor scales are usually learned.

treefrog #2935951 01/19/20 05:33 AM
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I’ve only learnt the 12 major scales. If I’m not well enough to concentrate on practicing from my lesson books, I find spending 5 mins playing these scales

I leant the white scales first, when I came to the black notes, it was instantly obvious if I hit a wrong note.

However, when I learnt these scales, I didn’t learn them slowly, not saying I can play them really fast, just that after I learnt a few, I learnt the rest at about 220bpm.

Since joining MOYD this year (and health problems), when I’m not well enough to practice for more than about 10 mins, I enjoy being able to play my scales and they have improved a lot already in the short time I’ve been in MOYD this year.

I’ve also noticed I don’t know them as well as I thought I did. While I can play all 12 at about 220 bpm, I’m also trying to play them slower, and I’m making mistake after mistake, having to effectively relearn them.

While I know that a major scale is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half, I learnt from a scale book following the notes, and I’ve discovered this year that if I try to play a scale by measuring the steps, I crawl along at a snails pace.

I take it that I should be able to do all the above to say I really know my scales, and going from quickly playing them once occasionally, to playing them every day in the above ways, has shown me how badly I really know them.


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treefrog #2935952 01/19/20 05:35 AM
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I sing minor scale solfege to really internalize it. You can probably write a minor scale version of "doe a deer, a female deer, etc." song. Have fun with it!

Last edited by wszxbcl; 01/19/20 05:36 AM.
treefrog #2935955 01/19/20 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by treefrog

At the moment, unlike the major scales where it is instantly obvious if I’ve hit the wrong key, I find the minor scales less obvious.
Will I recognise the minor scales in the same way as I do the major scales or is it a case of having to learn them note for note irrespective of how they sound?


Yes, you will begin to have an expectation of the sound, and feel, of the various minor scales so that when mistakes are made it should be clear.

But I would also like to address a question from one of your previous posts:

Originally Posted by treefrog
Would it be

Carry on practicing the major scales, increasing my speed and proficiency?
Extend the major scales to more than one octave?
Start adding minor scales?
Learn the major scales in different motions?
Add some arpeggios to my routine?
Something else?



The answer, including the ''something else'', is IMHO all of the above. But the problem becomes the time needed trying to upkeep, and improve as the quantity becomes larger. So far the post has talked about 12 major and 36 minor scales, well suddenly that becomes a big problem for such a narrow range of exercises (just major and minor scales). I have found it is better to learn fewer things better, and to a higher standard, than try to plug away at a large quantity. I had a rotation method going for eighteen months of 56 items and all I found was I reached a plateau, which was still sub par for my needs. This stuff really takes time and there should be a good reason for it, otherwise we might as well not bother.

I would encourage you to think about shadowing an exam syllabus.This would give you a much more rounded education in the technical exercises of scales, arpeggios, and the variants. I guess that is already your ultimate goal, but I think you should be going about it more efficiently.

A typically exam syllabus would be fairly easy at the start, but cranks up quite quickly to something much more demanding, However it can also be very enjoyable and rewarding if you like that sort of thing, and with the tempos as goals there is a clear way to measure progress. There are also clear and manageable objectives separated by grade. I think you can download a typical ABRSM or RCM syllabus, but here are some of the things that you would be doing (progressively of course), over and above just major and minor scales.

Scales of course but don't forget staccato scales, much harder than they appear to play staccato scales well.
Contrary motion scales, various majors and minors, increasing in difficulty
Arpeggios, easy to difficult, up to four octaves, progressing to all inversions (the all black key arpeggios probably the most difficult ones to master)
Chromatic scales - I am still regretting asking why I am doing something that is patently too easy

Starting at 6th grade in AMEB all of the above, but the following are added

Dominant 7th arpeggios - easy to difficult, up to four octaves, progressing to all inversions
Diminished 7th arpeggios - probably the easiest of them all once you get the hang of them
Staccato double sixths - seem easy enough, but mastering the technique really needs a teacher
Staccato double octaves - as above

at 7th grade my AMEB syllabus adds three against two poly-rhythmic scales and chromatic scales with a tortuous fingering system.

I have probably missed things others have to do, but hopefully you get the sense of the beast.

PS
I don't practice natural minors and never have, but I could put one together if I had to.





Last edited by earlofmar; 01/19/20 05:46 AM.

Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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earlofmar #2935998 01/19/20 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar


PS
I don't practice natural minors and never have, but I could put one together if I had to.



I think that's probably the most important. The only technical things I'll practice at the moment are those related to RCM 7. I know what major scales are required (C, D, F, Ab and Gb). And then from there it's the parallel minors that are required, not relative (with the enharmonics for last two, G# and F#). So it's a good mental exercise to play say Ab major, then G# minor. G# minor is the relative minor of B major. Construct harmonic minor by raising 7th (up/down), and then raise 6th and 7th for melodic (up), natural on way down. That's how I think about it.


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treefrog #2936024 01/19/20 04:40 PM
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Thank you all for your help and advice.

You’ve given me a lot to think about.


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keystring #2936397 01/20/20 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring

2. view via the major scale

I learned this one second, and after balking, have found it useful and necessary. Here we start with a major scale, and alter the minor.

A major = A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

For melodic minor we only need to lower 3. (C# becomes C)
A (W) B (S) C (W) D (W) E (W) F# ( W) G# (S) A

For harmonic minor we lower 3 and 6 (C# becomes C, F# becomes F)
A (W) B (S) C (W) D (W) E (S) F (3 semitones) G# (S) A

For natural minor, we lower 3, 6 and 7 (C# becomes C, F# becomes F, G# becomes G)
A (W) B (S) C (W) D (W) E (S) F (W) G (W) A

Same results, different angle.



I do like a formula and this is a great one, especially converting a major scale to a melodic minor.

I hadn’t seen it from this angle before. It’s going to be a great help.

Thanks


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treefrog #2936437 01/20/20 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring

[...]
For melodic minor we only need to lower 3. (C# becomes C)
A (W) B (S) C (W) D (W) E (W) F# ( W) G# (S) A

[...]


Except this isn't complete, is it? The melodic minor scale lowers the seventh and sixth degrees of the scale when descending; the G-sharp and F-sharp become G (natural) and F (natural) in the descending portion.

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treefrog #2936469 01/20/20 09:19 PM
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Well, it maybe just needed a note to say “for melodic minor descending, use the formula below for natural minor”. Depends on whether or not you think this just goes without saying.


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scirocco #2936484 01/20/20 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
Well, it maybe just needed a note to say “for melodic minor descending, use the formula below for natural minor”. Depends on whether or not you think this just goes without saying.

In real music, melodic minor ascending is not necessarily followed by what is called "melodic minor descending" (the natural minor scale). It depends on underlying chords, and seems to have changed with later music, but was also not always prevalent in earlier music.

I wish I had been told this when I started out, which is why I am passing that one.

BruceD #2936486 01/20/20 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by keystring

[...]
For melodic minor we only need to lower 3. (C# becomes C)
A (W) B (S) C (W) D (W) E (W) F# ( W) G# (S) A

[...]


Except this isn't complete, is it? The melodic minor scale lowers the seventh and sixth degrees of the scale when descending; the G-sharp and F-sharp become G (natural) and F (natural) in the descending portion.

Regards,

Bruce, I don't know if you had a chance to read my longer write-up about this. We are taught to practise scales this way but it's not the whole story in music. Please do have a look back. wink

An important part missing in the quote is that this is the view when going from major to parallel minor. If we were to go from natural minor to melodic minor the pattern would be different. That is why I set them out clearly, with bolds and everything. wink

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