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Driving home the octave pattern

Practising the octave pattern

This practice regime focuses on building awareness of how to find nearby octaves of a given pitch, or find the same pitch nearby.  The guitar tab, and technique guidance, are provided at the bottom (scroll down).  The octave pattern covers a block of 12 frets, and breaks this block into 5 regions.   Here, the pattern is showing using all possibilities of “A”.

Region 1 is defined by the pitches occurring on the 6th, 4th, and 1st strings.   Region 2 is defined by the pitches falling on the 4th and 2nd strings.  Region 3 is defined by the pitches falling on the 2nd and 5th strings.   Region 4 is defined by the pitches falling on the 5th and 3rd strings.  Region 5 is defined by the pitches falling on the 3rd, 1st and 6th strings.  Region 1 starts again adjoining region 5.

A scale pattern or a chord will often roughly fit within one of the regions.  But we’re not concerned with this now.

Technique challenges

The challenges come in smooth horizontal transitions with your fretting hand, including finger swaps on the same fret, while maintaining strict time-keeping.  The focus is on the fretting hand.  Attempting each exercise with your eyes shut is very beneficial, once you’ve familiarised yourself with the exercise.  At faster tempos, accurate finger swaps become tricky.

Contents of the practice regime

We’re using the pitch B in different octaves for all of this regime, which comes with five snappets.  Four of these deal with different regions of  the octave pattern.  Each of these snappets contains two or three tracks containing variations for practising the octave pattern, plus one track of accompanying chords.  The remaining snappet is for practising all five regions of the octave pattern.    (Instructions on how to load and interact with a snappet are below)

Here is what you will see on loading a snappet. Each black strip, containing some solid coloured circles, is a track part.  In this example, the second track “region 4-5(b)” is muted (hence its darker appearance).  The third track “piano” holds two chords, one per bar.  All snappets provided have the top track and piano track unmuted.  The remaining track(s) are muted.  The notes held in the top track are linked to the “guitar” so they are visualised as the snappet plays back.

 

 

Instructions to interact with the regime

 

Click the ear-eye icon to load the snappet holding practice exercises for octave regions 1 and 2 into emuso (Rhythm-X)

Press “Start” on Rhythm-X.  Snappet playback commences, with the first (top) track and the piano tracks audible, and the first track’s contents (individual notes for the octave pattern) will appear on the virtual guitar.

(un)Muting

To mute a track, click on “Track” in the Mute section at the right of Rhythm-X, and then click on any of the coloured circles in the track.  To unmute, click again somewhere on that track.

Change tempo

Type in the tempo you want into Rhythm-X, and then press “Set bpm”.

Visualisation

To visualise a a different practice exercise, click on the “Visual feedback” dropdown arrow, and select “Link track to active layer”.  Then click anywhere on the chosen track’s strip.  You can do this while the snappet is playing.  If you click on the “Piano” track while “Link track to active layer” is active, the virtual piano will appear, and the chords

Adjusting visual size of the “guitar”

In emuso (not here!),  experiment with the three sliders shown at the top left of the next image

 

Click the ear-eye icon to load the snappet holding practice exercises for octave regions 2 and 3 into emuso (Rhythm-X)

Press “Start” on Rhythm-X.  Snappet playback commences, with the first (top) track and the piano tracks audible, and the first track’s contents (individual notes for the octave pattern) will appear on the virtual guitar.

 

Click the ear-eye icon to load the snappet holding practice exercises for octave regions 3 and 4 into emuso (Rhythm-X)

Press “Start” on Rhythm-X.  Snappet playback commences, with the first (top) track and the piano tracks audible, and the first track’s contents (individual notes for the octave pattern) will appear on the virtual guitar.

 

Click the ear-eye icon to load the snappet holding practice exercises for octave regions 4 and 5 into emuso (Rhythm-X)

Press “Start” on Rhythm-X.  Snappet playback commences, with the first (top) track and the piano tracks audible, and the first track’s contents (individual notes for the octave pattern) will appear on the virtual guitar.

 

Guitar tab

 

Technique guidance

There are two horizontal positions being used for this technique.   Make sure to emphasise every fourth note.  The last note of the first bar should be played with the 3rd or 4th finger as comfortable, and the hand must then squeeze up slightly so that the first finger is in position ahead of time, ready to play the first note of the second bar.

After playing the last note of the second, with the 3rd or 4th finger as comfortable,  you have to make a quick position shift ensuring you start the first bar again, in time, with your first finger playing the first note of the bar.

This is a very effective exercise for legato, as well, and this is where the hand squeeze needs focus, to ensure the first finger arrives in position before the pull-off is needed, and the pull-off sounds cleanly and accurately.

Rock on!!