Toward Mastery

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Lecture/Demonstration (for advanced students): An introduction to three large bodies of practice-work oriented toward developing greater clarity and facility in voice-leading

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SKU: Andy Fite 7/20/09 Category:

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Lecture/Demonstration (for advanced students): An introduction to three large bodies of  practice-work oriented toward developing greater clarity and facility in voice-leading, finding massive numbers of new chords, and expanding your melodic language.

1. Using triads, the seminal tonal progression I-IV-I-V-I (or in minor, i-iv-i-V-i), maintaining coherent voice-leading. This one has proved to be an amazing aid in grasping the true nature and behavior of tonal music!
–This work expands much further still with the introduction of chromatic tones (upper and lower neighbors to each voice) to this seminal tonal progression.

2. Chords out of scales in parallel. You play a scale from bottom to top and back, first in two voices, then three, and at last four, in every combination of intervals. When I first thought of this, I started out in C major and played them an hour or two every day. It took two years to finish that one key! After that I figured out a way to plot the work out in graph form, so that you can sample any interval combination in any key and still keep some order about you.
– A further expansion becomes possible here by playing scales, in one or two voices, against a tone holding common.

3.  Melodic patterns: The organzing principle here is similar to the above diatonic work, but there is more, because here there are more intervals (since there is no need here to play the tones simultaneously), and because any interval may be played up or down. In my notebook I’ve plotted out about 500,000 patterns. If we add the chromatic neighbor-tones it goes well into the millions.

4. The lecture ends with an improvisation on a standard tune, meant to demonstrate the effect on an improviser of having put some time into the above work.

The attitude Andy Fite takes and recommends is to work on things like the above without any intention of ever using them as such. The better idea is to play things like this for their own fascination and to allow your creativity simply to flow when you play, knowing that all the work you do, if you play it with feeling and not just mechanically, will nourish and inform your musical conception. They do wind up finding expression in your creative playing, but most often are transformed or expressed obliquely. This is just as it should be.

Toward Mastery Class Content | Andy Fite

Lecture/Demonstration (for advanced students): An introduction to three large bodies of  practice-work oriented toward developing greater clarity and facility in voice-leading, finding massive numbers of new chords, and expanding your melodic language.

1. Using triads, the seminal tonal progression I-IV-I-V-I (or in minor, i-iv-i-V-i), maintaining coherent voice-leading. This one has proved to be an amazing aid in grasping the true nature and behavior of tonal music!
–This work expands much further still with the introduction of chromatic tones (upper and lower neighbors to each voice) to this seminal tonal progression.

2. Chords out of scales in parallel. You play a scale from bottom to top and back, first in two voices, then three, and at last four, in every combination of intervals. When I first thought of this, I started out in C major and played them an hour or two every day. It took two years to finish that one key! After that I figured out a way to plot the work out in graph form, so that you can sample any interval combination in any key and still keep some order about you.
– A further expansion becomes possible here by playing scales, in one or two voices, against a tone holding common.

3.  Melodic patterns: The organzing principle here is similar to the above diatonic work, but there is more, because here there are more intervals (since there is no need here to play the tones simultaneously), and because any interval may be played up or down. In my notebook I’ve plotted out about 500,000 patterns. If we add the chromatic neighbor-tones it goes well into the millions.

4. The lecture ends with an improvisation on a standard tune, meant to demonstrate the effect on an improviser of having put some time into the above work.

The attitude Andy Fite takes and recommends is to work on things like the above without any intention of ever using them as such. The better idea is to play things like this for their own fascination and to allow your creativity simply to flow when you play, knowing that all the work you do, if you play it with feeling and not just mechanically, will nourish and inform your musical conception. They do wind up finding expression in your creative playing, but most often are transformed or expressed obliquely. This is just as it should be.

Toward Mastery
Toward Mastery 01:03:00

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