Three E Minor Pentatonic Riffs
- Riff Three -

This riff combines elements of Riffs One and Two with a syncopated bass and the ‘call and response’ device. The music for both hands is written in the bass clef – right hand music stems up, left hand music stems down.

Here's a MMYT video of  Riff Three.

Here's the Riff Three audio track. Listen to it as you read through the music to confirm that you understand the repeat bar markings.

pent_3_riffs_3

Learn this piece by going through the build-up which follows. Make sure you are really comfortable with each section on its own and that your rhythm is rock steady.

The scale-tone shorthand is in the build-up segments.

Riff Three build-up

 Section 1

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_1

This is the basic riff but with a simple left hand, playing only on beat 1.

•    Note the indication to play to the swing quaver ‘Humpty Dumpty’ feel; this applies right through the build-up.

•    Note that two possible fingerings are given. Experiment with both and choose what feels most natural.

•    Note that the phrase starts on an off-beat ‘and’ note – “and one and two and three and four…”

 Section 2

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_2

This is the same right hand riff with the left hand playing the syncopated bass on 1 & 2 & (3 & 4 &), as explained in the introduction to the build-up.

To help you place the difficult off-beat (‘and) bass note, look at the fingering. In the example above, the left hand notes come with the right hand fingers 3 and 1. The off-beat note comes with the RH thumb.

The second bar also shows the together-left-right (TLR) analysis, and particularly where your hands play together (T). Slow it right down and make sure that T R R T does really happen on 1 & 2 &, then build the speed back up.

 Section 3

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_3

Same riff again, but stopping off in the second bar. The important thing is to get the last note shown on the correct beat to start the repeat. It is on 4’s ‘and’. You will find counting out loud helpful.

Notice that the three practice segments above can be played continuously. (This should be your goal.) This bit though does not follow on, so when you have done enough repetitions, stop where it says ‘Fine’. ‘Fine’, pronounced ‘fee-nay’, is Italian for ‘end’. A lot of the written terms used in music are Italian.

 Section 4

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_4

You ‘count yourself in’ for this segment. To get the right hand notes in the correct rhythm, you have to hear the basic beat – the four cross-head notes. You don’t play those, you say them and then ‘come in’ (start playing) on the ‘and’. This music is the first part of the ‘response’.

 Section 5

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_5

Same as before but with the syncopated bass. This practice segment follows on from the previous one, so you should just be holding (not playing) the tied right hand note on beat 1. Finish at Fine, because the next practice segment does not follow on.

 Section 6

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_6

Segment 6 is the second part of the ‘response’.

 Section 7

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_7

The whole of the ‘response’. Count yourself in again. A made-up two-bar practice segment with an extra bar tucked in to ‘catch your breath’ – doesn’t actually appear in the music. Quite a nice stand-alone riff.

 Section 8

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_8

The whole of the response, continuous but with the simplified bass. Play the last four notes ‘& 4 &’ to lead in to the next segment.

 Section 9

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_9

The whole of the response, continuous, with proper syncopated bass part. (One tied note has dropped out of the right hand part.) Does not carry on – end at ‘Fine’.

You should now be able to play bars 1-4 which are repeated at the end – this represents most of the piece.

The rest of the practice segments rehearse the second ‘call’ section. This has the same rhythm as the response (which you have already learned), so it will be easier to grasp.

 Section 10

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_10

The crossed note-heads in the first bar represent you counting yourself in. Simple bass line. Same rhythm as segment 4. Leads straight into the next segment.

 Section 11

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_11

The same music with the proper bass line. Does not carry on – stop at Fine.

 Section 12

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_12

The second part of the new ‘call’ section.

 Section 13

pent_3_riffs_3_bldp_13

The whole of the second call section, counted in. Ends at Fine and goes straight into the response.

The piece ends with a little twist created by slipping an extra half bar in. Check the counting given in the music carefully.



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