Sunday, April 15, 2007

playing in position pt. 10a: spanning a third

Remember these?descending major scale patternthree corresponding hand shapesWe first encountered these in ‘playing in position parts 7a’ and ‘7b’. It was in the latter article that I said that “the three patterns that we marked A, B and C (and the corresponding hand shapes) recur. There’s nothing particularly magical about this, it’s simply a side effect of how a major mode is constructed…”. Well, there isn’t anything magical about the patterns and shapes, but they do not come about purely by chance. As we cross the fingerboard, we’ll be encountering more and more of these recurring patterns, so to understand them, let’s have another look at the fingerboard hand.

Question: what is the distance between the first and fourth fingers?
Answer: three or four frets.

In other words, the fingerboard hand spans either a minor third (= 3 frets = 3 semitones) or a major third (= 4 frets = 4 semitones). Imprint this in your mind-body: the distance between the first and fourth finger is, in the case of the ‘finger-per-fret’ shape, a minor third or, in the case of the ‘extended’ shape, major third.
Keep this in mind, and many recurring patterns you’ll encounter on the fingerboard will make better sense. We’ll continue this in part 10b.

No comments: