Friday, April 8, 2016

Ideas for Learning and Practicing Modes in Music

Normally the modes are introduced like this:

Playing the different modes with the same starting note illustrates the differences between them more clearly.

 It's also helpful to know what notes are sharped or flatted in any given mode.

Practice with a drone.

Piano players can play an octave in the bass with the left hand on the root or tonic, improvise on a mode with the right hand.

Guitarists, try tuning to "Drop D" and play the various modes using D as a tonic note.

Any instrument, turn on a drone and practice to it. Here's one online:

Try putting weights or wedging business cards in between the keys on your keyboard using a PAD setting to create your own drone.

Or, create your own drone in a recording or other software program or app.

Play around with each mode for a while to get the sound of each into your ears.

Practice modes in different keys.

For more practice like this look into the modes of the melodic minor, harmonic minor, the ten thaats, and if you're really ambitious, the 72 melakartas or parent scales of South India.

Modes of the Melodic Minor:

Ten Thaats

*Note that the first six are the same as the first six modes of the major scale.

Check out Jamey Aebersold's free book for more jazz theory and info:


Drum Coordination Exercise Double Stop Flat Flam

Just came up with this little exercise to streamline my drum practice time. I wanted to work on double-stop "flat flams". I was going to read from Stone's Stick Control but my copy is in storage so I wrote this out.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Piano Lesson: Major Chord Triads in All Inversions and All Keys Video

 Major Chord Triads in All Inversions and All Keys: Building Blocks to Improvisation
The "secret" to opening up the musical possibilities of the piano lies in building a solid harmonic foundation by having the right information presented to you in a way that is easy to understand... oh yeah, and lots of practice!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Special Delivery Carnatic Music Books from India

Carnatic music books and CD's came in the post yesterday from India! I ordered them online from The Karnatic Music Book Center. It took about two weeks and the package was so amazing that I almost couldn't open it. The materials were double wrapped in plastic, then in cardboard, then inside this white cloth bag that was sewn shut. I'm pretty sure that this package was waterproof!

The air that floated from the sky created the sound "S", which is the origin of Nadam. Along with this sound the akshara "A" considered to be the earliest was added to create the sound "SA".
With SA as the base, the other six swaras RI-GA-MA-PA-DA-NI were created.
Purandara Dasa, sometimes called the father of Carnatic Music, not only composed thousands of Krithis, but also created a set of repetitious practice exercises called "Swaravali", "Alankaras", "Geethams" etc which over time has become the standard lessons for the beginners in Carnatic Music. These exercises are in existence for the last many centuries and are the proven tools for any beginner.