Root and Scale Workout

Ok. No diagrams in this lesson. The reason is that this technique should work on pretty much any instrument. We've tested it on keys, bass and guitar so we're jumping to the logical conclusion that it'll work on any instrument. Which would include vocals [EDIT: works great with vocals. Tried it], but we'd think you'd have to be a pretty dynamic singer to pull this off. Actually, it's not beginner material for any instrument. That's for sure.


First up. This exercise mentions chords. But if your instrument does not play chords (like a saxophone or flute) then just use a root note. Your choice of chord can vary according to your style. If you're a metal guitarist and just want to use a powerchord, fine. If you're a jazz guitarist and want to go something augmented not a problem. The most important thing is that your root note/root chord must always remain the same, and obviously the scale you choose must match that root chord. If you're a non-chord player as mentioned earlier stick to a scale or mode of your choosing. And, use this technique on a variety of chords/scales/keys. From now on we will just refer to your foundation chord/note as 'root'.

Here's the challenge. Play your root note and then an orderly sequence of notes from the scale - it could be three notes, four, five, or just two. Plenty of room to experiment. We're going to use three notes for this example. If you do happen to be a keys/piano player this is one hand only, ok! Now, try this sequence. The numbers are the notes of the scale you've chosen (and remember R = root note or root chord).

R, 1, 2, 3 - R, 2, 3, 4 - R, 3, 4, 5 - R, 4, 5, 6 - R, 5, 6, 7 - R, 6, 7, 8 - R, 7, 8, 9 - R, 8, 9, 10.

Round it off with the root note or chord to resolve the harmony. A great thing about this exercise is it expands your ability to jump from foundation (lets say a chord) to a melody - whether it's a riff, passing tones, embellishment, or leaping into a solo. 

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