Category Archives: Interval Training

MOVES: Melodic Freedom for the Classically Chained

Followers of this blog (both of you) will have noticed that I like to quote the NLP adage: “The Map is not the Territory”. And one of my main beefs about most traditional musical instruments, when it comes to learning … Continue reading

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An Enharmonic Experiment

I trust you are all familiar with Irving Berlin’s masterpiece Cheek to Cheek, made popular by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and recently given a new lease of life by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. This week I am working … Continue reading

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A Christmas carol game for two

Here’s a game for two players that you can use to improve your intervallic awareness, develop your melodic reflexes on clarinet or piano or just as a fun way to get into the Christmas mood. You can play it in … Continue reading

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The least practiced interval and why you should practice it

If I were to ask you the commonest melodic interval in today’s commercial music what would you guess? Well, with just listening to the radio for 10 minutes, I declare the clear winner to be: nothing. Or in MOVES notation: =0. The word “unison” is the … Continue reading

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How to work a lick

So you can’t get that lick or turnaround out of your head. You wonder how anyone can just come up with something that cool –  just like that! – in the middle of a solo. You realize it’s time to … Continue reading

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Learning one halfstep at a time

If you want to know what quartertones sound like, get your class of kids to sing the Beatles song When I’m 64. The second line is supposed to sound like this: And what you will generally get, when you average … Continue reading

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Olivier Messiaen’s seven dwarfs

One of the fun things about playing wholetone panpipes is the way they make short scales – not just the whole tone scale – ridiculously easy. Short scales are my name for a large family of interval arrays that includes … Continue reading

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Intervallic improvising

When making analyses of great solos, jazz teachers like to look at the scales and arpeggios used and try to relate them to the underlying chord sequence. The operation consists of extracting all the notes in a passage and stringing them out … Continue reading

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Peacocks Takeaway

Anyone trying learn the bridge of Jimmy Rowles’ sublime composition “The Peacocks” will end up consciously or otherwise doing a MOVES breakdown of the patterns it contains. In the illustration you can see the bracketed patterns are {-1 -3 -1 +3} and {-9 … Continue reading

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Seventh Heaven

Like Monsieur Jourdain in Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme who didn’t realise he had been talking prose all his life, most of you have performed faultless major and minor seventh leaps (± 10 or 11) without thinking. Yet if asked to sing … Continue reading

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