Harmonizing Scales

I was looking back at the newsletters I published in early 2014, and in revisiting all the descending scales and modes, I got a good batch of new ideas. What inspired me most was working slowly and methodically with block chord shapes. These are moving along very slowly: I mostly keep them at the half-note level and take my time — letting them ring out nice and long.

Here is one version of the descending D Major (while I’m tuned in DAD):

DA/C#G/BD/AGD/F#A/ED
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Adding Minor Triads:

DF#m/C#G/BD/AEm/GD/F#A/ED
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DA/C#G/BF#m/AEm/GBm/F#A/ED
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May 2020 Dulcimer!

NEW RELEASE On Bandcamp!!!

Bandcamp is forgoing their share of revenue today, May 1st, so if you decide to download some of my new music, I will get 100%. This is a very helpful and generous gesture from a GREAT company! Many of us musicians and music teachers have been hit pretty hard by this COVID-19 Quarantine: we’ve had many gigs cancelled and festivals postponed or cancelled altogether. So this income helps a LOT!

My brand-new May 2020 Dulcimer EP just went live at around 7AM this morning. There are 6 tracks here representing some of my BEST work-in-progress. It is not available anywhere else (yet, anyhow) and all my recent EPs from earlier this year are “Pay what you want” including ZERO (you just enter “0” in the pay field).

Jerry Rockwell at Bandcamp

I hope everyone is getting through this COVID-19 Quarantine OK. Not much fun for us here in Northeast Ohio, but we’ve got some acres of trees around us, and life isn’t too different in many ways.

Skip’s Round (and Jam-A-Round!!) TAB and Music Download

This original tune is part of my 2017 Patreon lessons, and it is a FUN tune I keep coming back to over and over.

1.) The first page is basically the main melody (16 bars), with an 8-bar sparse bass part at the bottom. The latter may be used as sort of a ground for the whole tune, even though the next two pages have some specific “ground” parts to be used throughout – especially for group play.

2.) These next two pages are the parts for a round or a “Jam-A-Round” as I like to call it. This basically means that you can plug in any 8-bar part anywhere you want, so you have freedom to mix-and-match.

You’ll see some very “bare-bones” parts on these pages, consisting mostly of half-notes. These represent what you might call guide-tones or structural pitches. These are really cool, as they show us the overall contour of a melodic design: kind of the essence of a melody.

For me personally, they often serve as clues for when I want to change chords or harmony. For example, if I see a continually-descending melodic line, that’s my cue to try an ascending harmony part. This often creates a workable harmony with a minimum of “thinking” !!

The other use for these bare-bones parts is that they make a GREAT group playing experience, especially for players just getting started!

3.) The last two pages were the Intermediate Level when I first published them in 2017. As I’m looking back on them, and playing through them again right now, I’m getting oodles and boatloads of ideas!! I’m even writing some brand new parts!!! These color-chord harmonies add just a touch of jazz harmony with the minor 7th chords, but I have to be careful not to use too many — and not to use any Major 7th chords at all — because the result is often way too sweet and thick. (remember that much of my current music is extremely simple and minimalist, so that I’m really a less-is-more sort of guy. You may want to try more of the “tall chords” like the seventh and ninth chords for your own arrangements).