Below is a brief introduction to the mixolydian mode for guitar. Also included are some practice ideas to help incorporate this mode into your clinical tool box.
CREATING A MUSICAL FRAMEWORK IN CLINICAL IMPROVISATION
I. INTRODUCING MIXOLYDIAN
- The relationship to the major scale (5th degree)
- Relationship between major scale and Mixolydian
- Based on the 5th scale degree of the relative major scale
- Varies from the major scale by the flatted 7th.
- The scale degrees are R, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and b7
Mixolydian: Basic Chords/Triads
Exploring the Mixolydian: It’s a Process
- Sing the scale and begin to anticipate and “hear” the b7 (minor 7th)
- Sing & develop short melodic themes that you repeat (emphasize the b7th)
- Create tonal center (we are in G mixo, not C major, yes?)
- On piano/guitar begin with a simple ostinati in the left hand and begin to sing
- Continue with osinati and play in the right hand/sing your simple created melody
- Understanding harmonies (develop chords on each tone)
- Choose 2 chords and play a melody between the 2 chords
- Let’s not forget about rhythm, tempo, range (piano/guitar) and singing
- Guitar: Play the scale with 1 finger on 1 string, slowly and evenly
- Guitar: Play 1 octave scale (see above), then 2 octaves
- Guitar: Develop simple melodic themes with guitar
- Follow same ideas as piano
Additional Ideas: Simplicity is Key!
- Start with a simple short idea
- Listen to what you’re playing
- Create a beginning, middle, and end
- Transitions: process of change in the music to take place
- Enjoy the experience of doing it
You need to start somewhere
- 1-note, 2-note, 3-note, and 4 note improvisations
- Improvising on a single chord
- Improvising with one hand
- Melody improvisation alone
- Finding and announcing the tonal center
- Understanding triad for each tone (i.e. major, minor, ½ diminished)
- Constantly emphasizing tonal center
- Focusing on identifying tone/s in the mode (i.e. G mixo- F, D mixo-C, etc.)
- Chord placement
- If your in G mixolydian to hear the resolution going to C or G?
- Sing the mode up and down
- Conducting: Half class sings mode & half class sings tonic (conductor incorporates elements)
- 2 students (guitar and vocal)
- Improvise freely over either ostinati and/or chords
Improvisation with melodic instrument
- Guitar improvisation with melodic instruments
- Guitarist follows instrumentalist, using ostinati and/or chords
- Use your voice/accompaniment to facilitate engagement and musical relatedness
The initial focus of the music therapist (improviser) is to use music to facilitate musical engagement and interaction
- Musically approach
- Follow musical cues
- Meeting music
- Extend the play: deepening the experience
Playing experiences to do in the lab
- Create simple melodies, and write them down
- Create musical themes for your melodies and play variations of the theme
- Be able to go back to the original theme
- Now, take your theme, repeat it, feel it, experience the theme-then create a B section
- Now, take you’re A and B sections and massage them, begin to play variations of the themes
- Now, try and transcribe your melody into another key, maybe the relative
- Remember to use your voice and interchange musical elements and various strumming and picking
- What is the relevance of the above assignments?
- Was it difficult? Fun? What was the most difficult part of the assignment?
- Playing with another student (one on guitar the other on another instrument)
- Create musical profiles for each student
- What are the musical traps you fall into?
- What is your main instrument?
- What are your musical strengths and weaknesses?
- Write down each style, mode, etc. and write down the characteristics of each music (i.e. emotional qualities, differences, especially within the musical elements, etc.) this can only be done while playing.
- Experience the music, begin develop a relationship/understanding of what the music may be saying/conveying
Partial excerpts taken from “Orchestrating Affective Relationships®” Training Module I: Clinical Improvisation
John Carpente, PhD, MT-BC, LCAT, NRMT
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