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MP Day 3: Third Helpings

Day three of the Moyse Project introduces the first variation to the exercises - scales in thirds and broken chords. My initial reaction when turning the page was to groan and close the book, but I'm on a mission to go through the whole thing. I pulled up my socks, took a deep breath, and moved my mentronome down to a reasonable (read: low) number.

My main issues were not so much technical because in some places it was all a lot easier than playing the scales straight. It was just a brain teaser seeing things written the way they are. The problem with full-range exercises is the scales and arpeggios you're used to practicing hit their tops and bottoms in awkward places. Most of us don't practice scales by changing directions somewhere in the middle. It's a strange pattern that doesn't sound right, and it really threw me for a loop.

The most interesting thing I discovered was that the minor scales were actually easier than their relative major counterparts. The finger patterns were more logical and my playing was smoother as a result. Or maybe it was because I was playing things painfully slowly that my mind could keep up. We'll find out in a few days when I return to these exercises.

Exercises G and H (broken triads and sevenths) were where I really struggled. Even after slowing down the metronome even further some of them just wouldn't come out. In particular anything starting on B. Just...nope. I did get them in the end, but I cracked a lot of notes before being able to play each one successfully - high E's and F-sharps are my least flexible notes and I really had to isolate certain intervals before being able to play a chord correctly.

The chromatic scales in thirds (the exercise covers both major and minor thirds) was actually easier when I didn't think about what note I had to play. By just going with the pattern it worked, for the most part. I only ran into trouble going over the top when the pattern breaks. The same went for whole tone scales in thirds as well. Augmented 5ths and diminished 7ths, while not as smooth as could be, were, from a technical standpoint, solid.

Practicing these exercises at 8pm was not my greatest idea. I thought I'd be done around 8:30-8:45, but it was already 9 by the time I finished H. All in all, these 8 exercises of varying length took me an hour and twenty minutes. Not great for my evening plans, alas, but sacrifices must be made to acheive greatness. Or at least technical competence.

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