Thursday, June 01, 2006

Playing tip #21: Composition

This is the sixth exercise in the series of duet exercises, designed to provide you with some new ideas when playing with another flute player. This is an intermediate exercise, so if you are a beginner, I recommend that you start with the earlier exercises posted on prior weeks playing tips.


This exercise builds on the ideas introduced in the prior exercises. The variable in this exercise is that both flute players will harmonize by playing different, but harmonious, phrases at the same time. There are not many rules to this exercise but the key to success is establishing one player as the lead and the other player as harmony. These roles can be switched (deliberately) during the course of the song. If you have been following along with the prior exercises over the last twomonth'ss, then you are ready for this.

Tip #1

Stay in the pentatonic scale and occasionally have both players linger together on the same note, as this is a good place to switch roles or bring your independent paths together for a moment.

Tip #2

Having one player establish the general theme to the song is a good practice. Bouncing around this theme or phrase is good way to keep things organized and in a frame of reference that is easier to harmonize with.

Tip #3

When you first attempt this with a new player, be sure to face each other and watch each others eyes. The subtle communication without words is a good watch to pass the lead role between each other. A nod or a wink is a one way to pass the lead.

Tip #4

This is as much a listening exercise as it is a playing exercise. Harmony can only be created when you are in sync with the other player and when you know your instrument well. Make sure that you listen to what the other player is playing, listen the pattern they are playing and try to anticipate where they are going.

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