Bridging the Gap between a Scale and a Melody: Muse-Eek Publishing Releases “Essential Scales: Twenty Two Indispensable Contemporary Modes for All Instrumentalists”

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Although scales are the building blocks of western music, simply learning those blocks is often not enough to build an improvisation or a melody. “Essential Scales” not only provides the most valuable scales to know, but is the only book that takes on how we hear these scales within changing contexts, to free the creativity of the aspiring musician.

Essential Scales

Essential Scales

Every music school makes sure that its students learn scales.  But the application and contextual mutability of these scales frequently remains a mystery to the student, even after graduation.

Part of any musician’s toolbox is the scales upon which music is built, and every music school makes sure that its students learn scales. But the application and contextual mutability of these scales frequently remains a mystery to the student, even after graduation. “Essential Scales” zeros in on the most commonly used scales in contemporary improvisation, (which include Modes of Major, Modes of Melodic Minor, Ascending, Diminished, Symmetrical Diminished, Whole Tone, Harmonic Minor, Blues, Major and Minor Pentatonic) but goes an extra step further. It tackles how to hear and use these scales in multiple situations.

For example, imagine using a series of chords in the key of C. When played at a moderately fast tempo, the use of a C major scale would work well over these chords. But if the tempo is slowed down, there comes a point when each chord starts to create its own key center, thus changing the way one might hear and improvise over it, and the whole progression.

Topics like this are discussed throughout the book, and applied to the 22 most important scales used in improvisation and composition, in any style of music. The book also contains modal sequences (also known as patterns) to help find new melodic ways to use each scale.

Each scale presented in the book is accompanied by a list all possible three and four note chords that can be derived from them. “Essential Scales” also contains a list of all common chords that each scale can be played over. The inclusion of both of these lists gives the musician a rich resource for applying a scale in a multitude of ways.

Another element that sets this publication apart is the concept of "Long Line Rhythm," which is presented in detail.  "Long Line Rhythm" is essentially a way to increase velocity in playing by feeling a larger “macro” pulse when negotiating scales or other melodic patterns.  Many students think from beat to beat when practicing which hinders speed, but by switching over to a "Long Line Rhythm" concept, very quick progress can be made and within days of practice there is a noticeable improvement in not just speed, but accuracy.

While “22 Scales” is written for any musician, there is an appendix showing the fingering positions for each scale on the guitar neck.

For students wishing to expand their ideas using modal sequencing, Muse Eek also offers these additional modal sequencing pattern books “Two Note Sequencing for 22 Modes in All Keys for all Instruments” (269 pages) and “Three Note Sequencing for Major Modes in all Keys for all Instruments” (415 pages). These two books are part of Muse-Eek’s “Chops Busters” series.

The author of "Essential Scales," Bruce Arnold, also has a blog where he answers music related questions. Please visit his website for more information.

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Bruce Arnold

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