Pentatonic Scale Riff - PD 15-12-15

This riff uses familiar scale-tone pattern material with rhythmic build-up.

Practice fragment 1

The contour pattern is down-up-up (rising) and down-down-up (falling).

The pattern is all white keys, so fingering is not a big problem. ‘Creep’ your hand sideways by using thumb for the lowest note of the groups (rising) and RH4 for the top note, falling.

The rhythm is triplet feel/swing quavers, but continuity is your first priority.

Practice fragment 2

Next, add a simple minim beat in the left, just for practice keeping going with two hands playing.

Practice fragment 3

Break this practice task into two parts.

First make sure you can play the left hand – two pentatonic tones above and two below the tonic.

Then add the right hand. This screen shot and the TLR mark-up between the staves will help you work out what hand/note goes with what.

Practice efficiently Learn the two syncopated patterns one at a time over your continuous left hand. Watch these efficient practice suggestions.

 First half

 Second half and combined

Contour and stress pattern

The contour pattern is down-up-up (rising) and down-down-up (falling) – check in the music. This three-note grouping is across the beat, so the sixteen quavers (over two bars) are grouped:

 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 | 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 1 2

 Listen to the audio for an exaggerated performance.

Practice fragment 4

Here, the left hand follows the 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2 right hand grouping up the pentatonic minor scale. The left hand plays the same note as the right hand most of the time.

Practice fragment 5

Now for the real thing. The right hand plays its whole run of notes over the left hand two-up, two down ‘ground’ (repeating bass part).

Practice fragment 6

Learn the ending early on, so you can always finish your study sessions impressively.

Learn the ending hands in unison first, with both playing in the right hand rhythm before trying the off-beat left hand. (The MidiPiano performance/MIDI file does this.)

Practice fragment 7

As a stepping stone to the ‘continuous’ right hand performance, or as a springboard for improvisation, the right hand can play just parts of the continuous run: down-up-up fragments (rising) and down-up-down fragments (falling) over the bass pattern.

Practice fragment 8

A quaver beats 1 and 4 rhythm in the left hand gives any riff a bit of a lift. An improvisation option.

Improvise!

If you know your pentatonic minor scale tones can master these movement patterns, these nothing to stop you launching into free two-handed improvisation – no matter how faltering.

By its nature, the pentatonic scale harmonises well with itself, so it’s ideal for low-risk improvisation attempts. And the nice thing about sound is your mistakes disappear straight away!




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