Monday, September 24, 2007

Free major-minor scales with harp harmony

Dear Flute-a-teers,

I recently came across the British publication entitled "The Flute Player's Companion, volume 1" by Edward Blakeman (Chester Music; publisher.) I was delighted to find some great tone exercises in the opening of this first volume. ( yes, you can buy vol. 1 for $12 at Amazon if you're Canadian/U.S., and I *do* recommend it for intermediate students. It's clever, upbeat, and thorough!)

The opening chapters give lots of tone exercises using melodies and patterns by Dorus, Demersseman, and other 18th and 19th century flutist-composers.

The very first exercise is a duet style scale with arpeggiated chords, and it asks the student to transpose to every key. Well, ha ha! The upper part is no problem, since it is a simple major scale, but the arpeggios and chords that comprise the lower part would put me into a tiny head-spin, and hey, I'm supposed to be GOOD at transposing at sight. So to be helpful, I used my music-writing software to prepare a PDF part of both major AND minor scales, in a groovy order, to use for my remedial intermediate students.
You can download the 6 page PDF of the exercise/duet here.

Then I got fancy and created a lovely backing track, where harp plays the lower part (the part that the teacher or the enterprising student would play in the lesson, in fact it would be useful to learn both parts)and the exercise became even more useful because you can tune to it. I also advise (as does Dorus) using various articulations, and various tempi. Youll just love playing along with the clear tone of the treble recorder that plays the flute's part on the mp3. Trust me.
This mp3 backing track is zipped together with the printable 6-page PDF exercise here. (7 MB zipped download of both backing track and pdf of the exercise together).

I'm entranced by the gentle loveliness of this exercise. It has many uses for students of all levels and is simple and beautiful to listen to. (actually both the cat and the husband fell asleep as I recorded the mp3, so you just know it's celestial :>)

The composer expects this exercise to help with tone, breathing, phrasing, intonation, and to be later varied with dynamics and articulations. Remember to experiment! There's far more here than meets the eye and ear.

Please try it out, and then leave your comments below.
If you want to burn the backing tracks to CD there are more you can add to fill it out here.

I hope to soon add other versions of these lovely Dorus warmups in a similar way. I can just see the names: Dorus Day (Doris Day haha! That's this one!), and later, others to be re-titled Dorus-don't-be-Boris, or perhaps..... Dorus-or-Dor-against-Us.
Enjoy and give feedback!
Comments (5)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jen
Me tyranosaurus play chorus with Dorus,yes very sonorous.

Matt Taylor

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:23:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Thanks Matt; yes, I've come up with lots of Dorus-osities that are monstrosities.
Are you still writing lots of beginner pieces with backing tracks?
If so, I can't wait to hear them. Excellent!
Also, have you seen Zgraja's book for flute/piano called "The Modern Flutist Vol. 1"?
It would be great for novice students, and is so cool, bluesy etc.
Check it out. Jen :>)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 1:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:10:00 AM

Blogger Catherine said...

Thanks for this! It will be great for working on "pure tuning"concepts, even with beginners!
Catherine LeGrand

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:06:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Hi Catherine,
Listen, honestly..the Tuning CD drone going in the studio, with the beginner student playing for TONE, the simplest scale like this:

F---G----F------ ( " )
F----G----A---G----F ( " )

etc. all the way up one octave, slurred, at any speed (slow at first) has had remarkable results with my beginners/novices.
The scales are written out like this adding one higher pitch each ascent, with pauses and in free rhythm. Then when they finish the scale and arpeggio, they improvise in the key, and I hold a drone on various notes, or move with them as in "Simon Says" with the student improvising freely and teacher following or complimenting. Very great method for playing in tune from the start.
Super valid new way to have fun in lessons. Will be covered in my book.
Jen :>)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:33:00 PM


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