beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Scales
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6229 posts
Oct 26, 2019
9:38 PM
I found a few scales exercises which may be helpful.
I think just the exercise of playing in a measured way is worthwhile for the mental aspect but these also have the benefit of teaching you movement patterns and breathing. They also serve to educate the ear and challenge the bends. If you can’t make the bends work, you need to keep working on bends too.

I’ve already shared a few scalar exercises so I’ll not put those up again.

I’ll start with this major scale thing. I don’t think I’ve posted this before.

Hopefully you understand my way of writing these. If not, just ask

6 +6 5, +6 5 +5, 5 +5 4, +5 4 +4, 4 +4 3, +4 3 3”, 3 3” 2, 3” 2 2”, 2 2” +2, 2” +2 1, +2 1 +1, 1

And then go back up: +1 1 +2, 1 +2 2”, +2 2” +3, 2” +3 3”, +3 3” 3, 3” 3 +4, 3 +4 4, +4 4 +5, 4 +5 5, +5 5 +6, 5 +6 6

You can play these with a timekeeper of some sort; metronome or track.

I’ll post more over coming days
6231 posts
Oct 27, 2019
2:32 PM
You can take this exercise and truncate it. If you take the “going up” phase, and begin at +3 3” 3, then see how it might fit if you play just that section up and back and how you might loop that

I can hardly believe I’ve left home without a harp! This is maybe the second time I’ve been harpless in the last 5 years. I’ve begun this post before I realized I don’t have a harp. I’d intended to play around with this idea and see how it works. I expect it probably works with a backing track but bear in mind it’s a major scale. I think I have some minor scales too but I’ll get around to posting those.
6232 posts
Oct 28, 2019
1:05 AM
Hmm, ok. I’m not really sure about that last one. Maybe it’s just a less breathless exercise than the 1-6 version. Obviously it’s that triplet rhythm 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a

I had some fun with playing it with different tempos and slightly changing up the feel. I like that there is just the 3” bend to navigate and the overall tunefulness of the exercise might help recognition of the correct pitch for that note. +3 to 3” is the same relationship as +6 to 6 draw and you get that at both ends.

One more thing I want to mention is about the 2 draw/3 blow question. Honestly, there is no right or wrong about that, except for what is right or wrong for you in a given circumstance. If your harp is well-tuned those reeds should sound so similar that in an exercise like this, pitch is no issue. Breathing and movement and more the question so experiment a bit with that.
6233 posts
Oct 28, 2019
1:15 AM
Now instead of triplets these are 16ths, but you could think of them as 1/4 notes too I suppose.
So the count is 1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a
1 2 3 4

I’m not sure I’ve ever worked this one, but I think I see now that the previous (triplet) exercise might have been an idea to help make the transition to this exercise.

+3 3” 3 +4, 3” 3 +4 4, 3 +4 4 +5, +4 4 +5 5, 4 +5 5 +6, +5 5 +6 6

I’m gonna have a crack at it now.
6234 posts
Oct 28, 2019
1:20 AM
Ok, I like that exercise. It’s good to break away from the triplet feel and stretch out to the extra ‘next’ note.
I enjoyed the challenge of playing it backwards without having it written out. Quite a small challenge but that’s how I like them.

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