Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Playing/Composing from the Heart -part 2

Whenever I teach a song writing class for Native American flute players one of the biggest frustrations I hear from my students is that they have a real difficult time not ending everything on the bottom note of the flute. This is a common complaint and in this article we'll give you some ideas about how to deal with this.

Untimely many songs do end on the bottom note, the trick is to delay this so that when you finally do it land on the bottom note it will have a stronger sense of closure. Delaying an ending on the root note sets up some nice tension in your musical ideas and gives your songs a sense of progression and resolution. Like taking a little musical journey and then returning safely home.

Here is what we're going to look at:
Why All Notes Lead to the Root
The Weight and Gravity of the Notes of the NAF Scale
A Look at Each Note
How to Apply This: Some Simple Exersises


As I teach in my classes, one of the best ways to Play from the Heart is to really understand the NAF pentatonic minor scale and the implied harmonies that can be found in the notes. Each note in the scale has it's own weight, or gravity, relative to the other notes in the scale. Those with less weight tend to move to those with more. Knowing and understanding these relationships will allow you to exploit this natural phenomenon and will help give your tunes an implied harmonic motion. Normally an instrument that can produce chords plays harmonies, but you can create the illusion of harmony by the notes you choose for your melodies, especially at the ends of phrases.

Click here to read all of PLAYING FROM THE HEART, part 2.


1 comment:

  1. Catherine9:03 AM

    Simply excellent. I'm a beginner and I needed this. I've worked through these guidelines numerous times, gaining new insight with each read. The explanation about harmonic movement followed by the exercises helped me to understand how to more fully appreciate my flutes. I love to pick them up to play whatever comes out of my fingers, yet, definitely needed help to move beyond that point. Living in an area where I have no access to convenient instruction I can't thank you enough for your generosity.

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