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#1129139 - 04/10/08 10:24 AM WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
In my other life (guitar) I used scale patterns and a fair knowledge of what notes are in each scale, i.e. F will be all white keys except for the Bb and B is all black keys except for the B and E note, i.e. I used a mixture of patterns and memory.

As I move deeper into piano improvisation I see the value of thinking in steps - WWHWWWH or phone numbers 221-2221. Steps take the place of my guitar patterns.

I also live in the real World and understand my improvisation will revolve around just a few scales - Major, minor, both pentatonic plus the blues scale.

NOW MY QUESTION -- While still in the learning stages - When improvising should I be thinking notes or steps? Improv on the guitar was mostly patterns, is it this same way with piano and if so mind sharing what you are thinking about as you play. I'm not at the muscle memory stage.

Appreciate your thoughts on this.

Malcolm

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#1129140 - 04/10/08 09:10 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Bradley Sowash Offline
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Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Columbus, OH
For right hand improvising, I would think/hear scale degrees rather than note names or steps. For example, C scale = C1 D2 E3, etc. Also, tune into which scale degree the left hand chord is built upon. For example in the key of C, the D minor chord is built on the second scale degree. However, keep in mind through your learning process that the ear and heart are more important than the brain when creating music. Try to play what you hear and do it with conviction!
_________________________
Bradley Sowash
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#1129141 - 04/10/08 10:00 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2938
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
To me it's about shapes. Maybe because I'm not classically trained, I never really think what note I play. Just shapes.
For example, a diminished scale makes more sense as a shape than as notes, especially when you consider the symmetry.

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#1129142 - 04/10/08 10:10 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Tommy_GS Offline
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Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Indiana, USA
If anything, I think of the notes. I love playing the blues on the piano, and to me it's more about the notes. In fact, thinking in steps never occurred to me. I learned the blues scale quite awhile back, and am very familiar with it that it's more about feeling my way around the piano... at some point, like knotty said, it gets to be about shapes, also.
_________________________
The piano is a percussion instrument.... You don't strum a piano. You don't bow a piano. You bang and strike a piano. You beat the sh*t out of a piano. -- Billy Joel

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#1129143 - 04/10/08 10:17 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
knotty nailed it, it's about shapes when improvising. And I am classically trained and a jazz artist.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1129144 - 04/11/08 09:47 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Shapes, what shapes, that is going over my head.
I would love to rely upon shapes as I really relate to guitar patterns -- the box pattern of having two or three notes per string and then visualizing that over all six strings.

Where can I take a peek at the shapes, lol.
Glad to hear about shapes for the piano, I think that will send me to the next level.

Thanks for the quick replies.

Malcolm

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#1129145 - 04/11/08 10:04 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
dannac Offline
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Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 595
Loc: USA

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#1129146 - 04/11/08 10:18 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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Why does the modern world insist on turning everything visual exclusively, even music?

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#1129147 - 04/11/08 10:57 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Karisofia Offline
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Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 201
Loc: Wisconsin
Thank you for the link, dannac. This explains patterns I've tried to show my students for some time. Keystring, for me it is not about turning everything visual but about using any means to organize the material in the student's head. Eventually, B major is just B major regardless of tricks or pictures. But the students needs to be aware of how orderly theory (and music) is.

As for how I think about the notes... I think within the key. Play your scales until you can't imagine an A# in E major.
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#1129148 - 04/11/08 11:14 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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I apologize Karosifia for the rant. It looks like a good system and seems to put into symbolic representation the thing one senses about music. I am just generally impatient because everywhere I look I seem to see music explained and represented almost exclusively visually.

If I search my reaction I think I have to go back to my first profession as educator who also got trained in learning disabilities, as well as looking at alternative forms of academic education such as Steiner's system (Waldorf schools). You get body, mind and spirit working together as a unit, wholeness rather than separation. You get all the senses working, tactile included, and interacting. That's the Steiner/Waldorf idea.

Then for the learning disabled, there is a significant segment that are ultra intelligent but happen to process information through different senses, with the visual component (visualizing) weak. Others do not sequence, and do not go from the specific to the general, but begin with the general and with broad concepts into the specific, which one might even consider advanced. The global broad-to-individual is also the sense of Steiner's.

Our education system, however, has moved to being almost exclusively visual, step by step, linear, specific to general. Thus this population is handicapped by the choice of how we educate.

Ok, so looking at all of that, one says "If only there were something for these people that could break through the mould." So you notice music. It can be grasped broadly with the overall sense of it, and then expanded upon through the individual. Above all, by its very nature, music involves tactile combined with sound. Vision does not have to enter into it at all except for note reading.

But what has been done (my impression?). It seeems that we have taken the academic model of the modern school and brought it back into music so that the nature of musical instruction is not necessarily global, tactile with sound, but goes back to visual, logical, linear, etc. of modern education. Not everywhere, of course, but I see the same mentality to a degree. Instead of censoring my fingers and counting to ten I had an outburst.

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#1129149 - 04/11/08 01:10 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
dannac, that link is exactly what I need, thank you.

Keystring - I agree everything is moving toward visual training. If we are to place blame or hand out kudos PowerPoint and Microsoft are somewhere on the list. Now the Internet is full of video how to lessons. I ran across a search engine yesterday called MonkeySee.com.

I happen to be one of the visual learners and have benefited from the movement. A DVD with an E-book gets me excited.

Again, thank you all I appreciate everyone's comments and help.

Malcolm

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#1129150 - 04/11/08 02:36 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Betty Patnude Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Hummmn, do I dare?

1) Please read the Why sharps and flats? topic - I posted (#11)about what I consider an important correction and understand in the minds of musicians using tetrachords to build major scales.

(*-W-W-H)(W-W-W-H)
LH 5-4-3-2 RH 2-3-4-5)

2) Keystring asks: "Why does the modern world insist on turning everything visual exclusively, even music?"

Visual is the highest presention of learning styles, aural and tactile both follow. In my opinion all 3 need to be used to present material to music students because we are not solidly 100% in only one learning style. Each should be incorporated, with the major learning style being the modus operandi.

Without the printing press invention we would barely have the need for visual acuity and perception. How else can you read music but by visual notation using symbols. Even the early Egyptians had heiroglyphics, many cultures pictographs. Today we are educated as a universe with many languages, similarities and differences.

I guess I don't understand why you said that, and it seems like a complaint! What's to complain about?

The problem with bad information is that it is well meaning people who give it out. Many people reinvent the wheel so to speak.

Music as it has come to be is extremely valid in the its' development - scientifically and mathematically for structure - and humanly for reproduction of others music, and originally for composition and improvisation.

Simplifying for communication purposes is fine, but one has to be aware that erroneous interpretations are made and propagated by those who do not really understand music. When getting sidelined and off base, a learner continues to stack new information upon new information with a topsy, turvy base - the dominoes will eventually fall.

Sorry to say this, by in my opinion it is very true.

If I were to rant about something, it would be this. Sometimes it is not reparable, and sometimes it creates major obstacles for a learner. I also maintain that there is a preferred sequence of adding concepts to your musical knowledge - a path - a journey, so to speak. A music education does not work well with random and abstract - things should come into play as they are needed to be learned.

Think of planting a garden where you have many seeds, but they are not packaged with an identifying name, no idea what you will be seeing or how it will fit in the landscape, and no idea of it's care - sun or shade? Wildflowers tend to be like this, but the formal garden is one that is cultivated, placed into being with forethought and an expectation, lots of information in support of it's care and characterists - with an informed human caregiver.

Isn't there a big difference in style of gardening, and it's outcome?

Betty

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#1129151 - 04/11/08 03:26 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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 Quote:
Visual is the highest presention of learning styles, aural and tactile both follow.
Betty, I do not understand what this sentence means. What does "highest presentation of learning style" mean? Or are you saying that it is the highest learning style? In what way is it the highest? According to whom, and why?

I will not step into the musical arena, because I am an amateur and a relative novice. I will only go into learning in general.

I have been trained in learning disability teaching, and I also have two extra levels of specialization in language training to which I have added my own theories.

Some people with learning disabilities actually simply have different ways of processing information. I have written about global to specific - in fact I wrote most of this out in this thread.

I have been taught that most people fall into being either auditory or visual learners, and that teaching a group should address both kinds of learners in a dual strategy. I have never been told that the visual is superior to the aural.

The common "learning disabled" group (they all tend to be lumped together) have a difficulty in visually conceptualizing space. They also can get lost in tasks that they could easily fulfill, simply because all the explanations and demonstrations are visual. They also tend to be people of higher than average intelligence and this visual world of our society is a constant frustration. I will never forget the young man who after my class, because I was not forewarned, put his fist through a thick glass pane while waiting for the next class and needed stitches.

One outlet is music. It is richly audial and richly tactile. To present music first and foremost through visual representation and possibly linear sequencing with lots of linear logical explanation to such students means that they are being shut out from the one area in which they excel. Symbolic visual presentation as a first means of teaching is not indicated as a first means for such people.

If a blind person came to your class, would you prepare lots of bright colourful drawings? There is a blindness that exists within the area of space comprehension even though the eyes function perfectly.

The person who put his fist through the door after my class was 12 years old. I had given a lesson on "family day", a lesson that was imposed on me to teach, that was supposed to teach self esteem. Kids were grouped by families when possible, incorporating siblings, and went from classroom to classroom. My bunch was to cut out a traced silhouette of their head, place it on white paper, and write a statement of how much they liked themselves.

This 12 year old student was brilliant, well read, but he could barely write his own name because he could not manage space visualization. This is very, very common. He saw the lines in front of him, he had the scissors in his hands, but if he wanted to follow a leftward curve, his hand cut to the right. The little four year olds were happily snipping away and he couldn't do it.

Put this boy into a studio, let him feel the keys,hear them, trace them, and he will do very well. Force him to do things with pictures and visual representations, or even imitate you by watching you, and he will be lost because he will have to rely on a disabled part of himself.

These kids learn to write by tracing in the air, having their hands guided so that they can feel the shape of the letters. They are given letters cut out of sandpapers, and they close their eyes and trace their shape until they have a tactile image. They have the letters traced on their backs so that they can circumvent the visual confusion, remember the felt shape, and then they can write.

This is where I'm coming from.

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#1129152 - 04/11/08 03:50 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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 Quote:
Simplifying for communication purposes is fine, but one has to be aware that erroneous interpretations are made and propagated by those who do not really understand music. When getting sidelined and off base, a learner continues to stack new information upon new information with a topsy, turvy base - the dominoes will eventually fall.
This is very true, Betty, and I have seen those effects myself. That is why I occupy myself as principles. Sometimes realizations come in big gobs and that is wonderful, but that is not where the attention lies.

However, the mode of presentation - whether it be primarily visual, tactile, or audial - can ask for a different weighting when natural learning styles or disabilities come into play. It is the same material, same patterns, but you do not speak to the hard of hearing as your primary mode of communication, or use mostly the written word for someone with weak eyes. My complaint is that everything has become linear and visual, and I am aware of those who have a weakness in those two areas but who are excellent learners if different areas were used as vehicles.

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#1129153 - 04/11/08 04:07 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Keystring,

It was not about superiority at all, it was about the percentage of people who have these learning styles. Most are visual, followed by tactile and aural, and combinations. I don't have specifics on this, and the information was from a seminar years ago at a WSMTA Leadership Conference.

And, I don't think it's become visual as a displacement to others, but it needs to be visual because of what it is. You brought to my attention people with vision perception problems and therefore orientation difficulties. I'm sure there is a great need for these people to have skilled piano teachers familiar with working with this. Actually, with your background in learning differences, you would be a prime candidate to think and write perhaps lecture in this area. Working as a consultant to those who have special needs, identifying what they are, and the specific program to improve upon teaching them.

Piano lessons are a place we see a lot of this without know exactly what the problem is iniatially. It would be good if parents would inform us about such things their children cope with. Then we can hopefully begin to understand and work with these people better.

Anyone having todays numbers would be welcomed to add the information. I'm sure there are new, recent findings somewhere.

Can anyone label what kind of training this would be for piano teachers, or what the fields of professionals involved in identifying these problems would be called?

Betty

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#1129154 - 04/11/08 04:53 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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Hi Betty,
I am sure that the people at your conference were experts. They would above all be experts in the field of teaching music.

I have my information from a postgraduate course for teachers in learning disabilities which was taught by a professor who was an expert and practicing teacher in the area of learning disabilities.

I then taught in a school that lay 100 miles on the outskirts of a major city and had a population that could not make it in the city and so lived rurally in that area. This school had such a high population of learning difficulties that, although it was a small school, we had a full time psychologist on staff, two full classes for the learning disabled, and many more who could not be placed. We also had two visiting consultants who practically lived in the school.

I consulted with these experts often, and several of my students were identified and could get early intervention. In the course of these consultations I also learned teaching strategies, and above all, approaches to the senses.

What I was taught runs contrary to what you were told. Visual and audial are about 50/50 (I was told) with other senses being primary among some individuals.

I commuted with the kindergarten teacher, who was a veteran of some 20 years experience. Being plunked in front of the t.v. to watch Sesame Street, the new crop of kids had very poor body awareness. They knew their alphabet but could not produce it because they such poor spacial awareness. She had them crawl under, through, and on top of things. Then they could also write.

My impressions also come from research into alternate education when my own children were small. One alternative school had a philosophy of intrinsic learning, as well as sharing and mutual support which was wonderful.

The Waldorf School which was founded by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900's has a radically different approach which is integrative, involves body, mind and emotion into one unit, and again is very physical and kinetik.

My reaction this morning came out of all these backgrounds. Sometimes I seem to be seeing an imitation of the modern academic approach which I suspect is a very thin model, and when I think of the richness that music can offer, I feel uncomfortable by what I seem to be seeing. Your own teaching is rich in experience from day one. So is that of many other teachers.

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#1129155 - 04/11/08 05:05 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Betty Patnude Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
In music, the Dalcroze Eurythmics which is physical body movement to improvised piano music, is a "School" related to using all muscles of the body to express things musical. It has a lot of other dimensions too. Google: Dalcroze and Dalcroze Society.

The method books which teachers use to teach basic notation and basic skills at the piano have no mention of unusual requirements needed by the learner. This is at a time when the discovery of learning difficulties and differences would be at their most noticable to the teacher, parent and student.

Explain that everyone! Where are the teacher resources for that in piano lessons going to come from?

I will try to find "Rudolph Waldorf School" as I might learn something I needed to know yesterday, so to speak.

I hate the "thin models" too!

We may be "beaning" ourselves, Keystring, but we're learning!

Betty

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#1129156 - 04/11/08 05:43 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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I wonder, Betty, if what regular trained music teachers do might not already be close to Steiner's philosophy (Rudolf Steiner - Waldorf schools).

Hallmarks from my memory: eurythmics are used. We visited the kindergarten. Toys are of natural materials and devoid of detail so that the imagination can fill these in. There was a story of Native children in a forest with a deer: it was illustrated through pine cones (trees), a rough wooden deer shape, a cloth wooden doll with a sphere for a head ... I remember this story as though I had seen the forest and the deer. The kindergarten is painted pink blended with white so that the child's internal self will create soothing green. Grade 2 is green.

Math: Multiplication. An old man walks with a cane. One two THREE, four five SIX seven eight NINE. The children become the old man and walk in this pattern, counting. Four's are a dog pattering along, and they become the dog. The numbers stay in their being: THREE SIX NINE TWELVE. They take pastel colours and write the numbers with their feelings, the journey of the old man. 3 6 9 12 15 18 21. Eventually they have absorbed the multiplication table.

The letter B is expressed eurythmically through the shape of a mother hugging a child. Body, feeling, intellect.

body + mind + emotions united in one expression.

What, other than this, is the study of music?

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#1129157 - 04/11/08 06:38 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Betty Patnude Offline
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Keystring asked: "What, other than this, is the study of music?"

I would say the person with body, mind, emotions works to evoke sound - control - organization - intentions - preparedness - with discrimination of nuances and balances.

B.

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#1129158 - 04/11/08 07:57 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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All three come together in music. You must work on things apart and together. But if you want ot find the equivalent of the Waldorf school, which combines body, mind, and emotion, you will find it in music and in the arts, not in dry academics.

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#1129159 - 04/11/08 11:40 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Betty, I have tried to search your ---

1) Please read the Why sharps and flats? topic - I posted (#11)about what I consider an important correction and understand in the minds of musicians using tetrachords to build major scales.

(*-W-W-H)(W-W-W-H)
LH 5-4-3-2 RH 2-3-4-5)

Using the search tool I was unable to pull up anything. I am interested to hear what you have to say. Can you direct me to your paper, link address etc.

Thank you,

Malcolm

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#1129160 - 04/12/08 12:21 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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 Quote:

Using the search tool I was unable to pull up anything. I am interested to hear what you have to say. Can you direct me to your paper, link address etc.

Thank you,

Malcolm [/QB]
Probably this one

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#1129161 - 04/12/08 08:08 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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Majones, that linked thread can be confusing since we change topics. What you are looking for is an exchange between me and Betty where we are taking the WWHWWWH and put different sets of brackets around that grouping. In Betty's part, she explains how she groups the tones and semi-tones into two sets of tetrachords (4 notes) and there is an orientation on the fingerboard that ties together with that. This is the part that is pertinent to your question: that description.

The thread is discussing the history of our modern notation system, and I'm still discussing how Guido d'Arezzi's old solfege system can be seen in our modern major scale, so I group the notes and semitones to reflect the historical system. Betty then switches to the perception of tetrachords and how this helps in learning to play the scale on the piano. That's the part you're after since it relates to your question here. There is a reference to being able to locate the fifth note which I'd like to expand on in the next post.

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#1129162 - 04/12/08 09:16 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
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A couple of months ago I was getting oriented to the keyboard, since piano is not my primary instrument. I ran across two systems for orienting for all the key signatures, but they had the same idea in common: going along the I chords of a scale, and the fact that we have five fingers for playing those chords, which is important for the piano as a principle.

The system for scales that is embedded in the other thread is preceded by a chord exercise which Betty taught me, which also holds other principles. As follows:

The circle of fifths gives us all the keys in ascending order of sharps, and descending order of flats. I.e. C major (no sharps or flats), G major (one sharp), D major (two sharps) etc. So the ascending order of keys in the circle of fifths is CGDAEBF#C#. The next key is always has the starting note or tonic that was the fifth note of the preceding key. Thus, in C major, G is the fifth note, and the fifth note is is also the tonic of G major, which is the next key in the circle of fifths.

When we play the I chord, we use five fingers, and on the right hand, the pinky or # 5 rests on the 5th note, which is also the note for the tonic of the next key in the circle. Follow so far? We get a visual and tactile way of orienting ourselves. An exercise ensues from this:

You rest your right hand on the first five notes of the C major scale so that you are covering CDEFG. You play the I chord: CEG. Your fifth finger is on G. Move your hand so that your thumb is on that G, and now you are covering the five notes, GABCD. Play the I chord GBD. Move your hand to cover DEF#GA. Play I chord DF#A. etc.

As you become accustomed to the patterns of what and black keys for the sharps and flats you move from chord to chord along the circle of fifths this way until your hands can find their way easily to each starting position of the scale. As with any instrument, you use the unique properties of the piano to orient yourself. This property is that your fifth finger of your right hand (thumb of left) tells you visually and tactilely where the next chord of the next key is. You end up building a tactile and visual map that allows you to move around with ease to whatever key signature you want.

The ensuing exercise is one that I now use as a warm-up: You go up and down the keyboard in the manner described above, playing the I chords. However, there is a next step in which you play the root and inversions of the I chords so that you end up having all three configurations. This is a common pattern that pianists use and which is inherent in music. So when you play CEG, you also play the inversions, going CEG EGC GCE and back down if you wish, doing the same for the keys of G etc.

STEP TWO
Having oriented yourself along the keyboard with the chords you can fill in the holes for the scale itself. This is where Betty's description in the other thread comes in. It is also why in that post she mentions with what finger you find the fifth note. The preceding exercise tells us the significance of that fifth note. At this point the emphasis has shifted to the tetrachord, and we are no longer interested in the five fingers. that was yesterday's emphasis. When we play a scale, we use four fingers, shift via the thumb and play four more notes. The scale when played on the piano comes in groupings of four, or tetrachords. I notice that in Betty's description yesterday, those two tetrachords are initially covered by two separate hands placed side by side. You end up very clearly perceiving that division and the patterns within each tetrachrod.

What I see in all of this is an orientation that is not primarily intellectual. You get the patterns of scales, chords, key signatures, into your hands and what I call the body-mind, where body and mind talk to each other. It's the same thing that happens when you are playing chords and runs on the guitar (I played classical guitar).

OTHER
I ran into a similar approach, but without the circle of fifths, around the same time that I was learning the preceding chord exercise. I wanted to understand the chord symbols used by the jazz crowd and they brought me to a site where a similar exercise is used. The difference is that the order of keys goes by patterns of black and white keys. All key signatures that have, for example, black white black, are learned as one grouping. They also move about in root and first and second inversion, and create a routine of covering all the keys. Personally I stayed with the circle of fifths, but I adopted the idea of being aware of the black-white-black groupings.

http://psrtutorial.com/Resources/R_ChordSecrets/r_chordsecrets.html

However, if you go far enough in that system, you are right back to the circle of fifths.

Principles[/b]

I picked up a few principles that I think answer the kind of questions you are asking, namely how to get oriented physically on the keyboard and think pianistically I suppose, rather than a guitarist trying to play the piano.

- The scale is divided into tetrachords, and we have five fingers. which also allows us to use groupings of four fingers.
- The fifth note of a scale brings us to the starting note of the next scale in the circle of fifths (for flats you descend).
- Physically, our five-finger hand spans up to that fifth note, so we have an instant orientation, especially when playing chords.
- Pianists are very aware of groupings of black and white keys. When you get more into it, you'll find that some of those groupings affect fingering choice since it's awkward to use the pinky on a black key. There are memorized fingerings, or one can get the general principle behind it.
- The hand can expand or contract to cover a different number of piano keys. Being aware of how many keys you intend to cover, and initially being aware of the five you keys you naturaly cover, will give you a sense of "place" so that you will play with ease and without hesitation. When you move to a new hand position, be aware of placing your whole hand, and that you are covering those five keys, and what that range is - not intellectually, just have a sense of it.

These are the things that helped me orient. I now do the circle of fifths chord as a daily exercise. Knowing that I, IV, V cover every single note of a scale I have also invented another exercise as a warm-up: I play each note of the scale and chord the suitable chord and its inversions, then play the next note and do the same. I'm hoping it will make some things automatic (it seems to).

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#1129163 - 04/12/08 09:25 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Thanks again, I'll have to digest this.

More later.

Malcolm

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#1129164 - 04/12/08 10:07 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States
You asked such a simple question and got a veritable book as a reply. The simple answer is---whatever method you find easiest for learning as many scales and chords as possible, the better. But once you are used to improvising in all these scales and chords---hopefully you won't be thinking in steps or notes at all, it'll become intuitive. Thinking consciously during improvisation, I've personally found, often impedes the flow of ideas.

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#1129165 - 04/12/08 10:45 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11174
Loc: Canada
Well, that's where that little chord exercise was helpful. You move from place to place to place and it becomes automatic. It's good to have some place to start and a couple of beginning patterns. People over-think.

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#1129166 - 04/16/08 12:58 AM Re: WWHWWWH Question
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
I'm going to bypass the pedagogical debate, and address the original question.


I find plenty of Real World uses for scales other than the ones you mentioned, and it would be an imoverished world indeed that didn't have more than that.

Even if you don't directly use every mode every day, the study of them as a system helps to foster a deeper understanding of sound. I rarely use the major scale during improvisation, at least not directly.

It is useful to use Whole and Half steps as a starting point to remember scales. If you want to take yourself higher, here's what I'd suggest:

Sing the note names as you practice.

Sing the scale degree as you practice (this is more useful). For example, if you're practicing a major scale, you just sing : "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, one, seven, six, five...etc". If you're singing a natural minor scale, it becomes "one, two, flat three, four, five, flat six, flat seven, one, etc"

There IS a physical geometry to the piano-- it's just not as repetitive and predictable as "moving the box" on the guitar fretboard.

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#1129167 - 04/17/08 05:58 PM Re: WWHWWWH Question
majones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 331
Loc: Deep East Texas Piney Woods
Thanks for your post. I've been posing this question to several of my piano friends. As you might surmise I'm getting SEVERAL suggestions.

I'm taking everything in and still looking for what will be best for me.

As my improvising will be in C for some time now I'm relying on scale note memory. Pattens and steps, shapes, etc are not working --- like you said they do not work the same way as on the guitar. So I'm relying upon scale note memory and this seems to be right for me -- at this moment in time. Shaps and steps go up scale fine, but I get lost coming back down scale.

Still looking into modes -- love all those white keys in C. And chord intervals (1-3-5-6-b7) seem like a safe way....... I'm not finished yet...

Appreciate every one's help.

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