This month, Shaun Baxter encourages you to leave your comfort zone and take a look at a systematic way of producing melodic variation.
note, 3 is the highest, and 2 is the middle. If this same ‘unit’ were applied to the fifth string, we would get F-A- G. on the fourth it would be B-D-c etc.
Let’s now take a look at some of the possibilities for three given pitches. for convenience, we are simply going to look at three-notes-per-string first. The only ground rule here is that we are not going to play the same note twice in a row. If our system deals with the order in which three pitches can be played, and 1-2-3 represents all three notes played in ascending order of pitch, then we only have the following mathematical possibilities. Starting from:
1 2 1-2-3 2-1-3
3 3-1-2 even though there may be three notes on a string, it doesn’t mean we have to play all the pitches. Ideas can stem from just playing two notes, of which the following are the possibilities: 1-2 (lowest note then middle note) , 1-3 (lowest note then highest note) , 2-1 (middle note then lowest note) , 2-3 (middle note then highest note) , 3-1 (highest note then lowest note) , 3-2 (highest note then middle note). here are the three possibilities: 1 (lowest note only), 2 (middle note only), 3 (highest note only). At this point, you might start thinking that things are getting a bit silly, and incredibly obvious, but this sort of thorough examination will lead you to fresh ideas that will not result from simply listening to the sounds in your head. You will see applications of this particular approach in this lesson’s recorded musical examples.