Reply To: The Amazing Melodica! – Tutorial (fragments )


Coordination of right hand, breathing and articulation

Very important note: efforts applied in the process of blowing the instrument should be independent, as much as possible, from the right hand movements which have to remain always free, almost limp.

Technique of rhythm and swing performance on Melodica
Every jazz pianist knows that for creating swing effects a particular movement starting from the shoulders (or, more specific, from the shoulder blades) is needed. But even on the accordion, movements differ considerably form the ones on the piano: the lion’s share of swing effect depends on using the bellows, i.e. the left hand technique. This requires physical strength and a very good coordination of both hands’ movements.
On Melodica, all the weight of creating swing and most of responsibility for rhythmic performance falls on breathing technique and breathing apparatus: diaphragm, lungs, throat, mouth, tongue, jaws, lips and nasal cavity.
The basics of rhythm and swing articulations should be borrowed not from pianists and guitarists but from percussionists and brass wind instrumentalists – trumpet and especially saxophone performers.
The first stage of working on rhythm and swing articulation should be without sound, then on single note; only at the last stage it should be practiced on a complete melodic phrase.
Metronome should be used during practice. Indicated ranges of tempo may be varied.

Exercises for rhythm articulation

(capitals indicate accentuated syllables):
All exercises should be practiced both with and without the mouthpiece.

Ex.1 –quarters


In jazz, blues, rock etc. quarters in melodic phrase usually are not played legato.

For every part a) :”TA-tat’-TA-tat'”
b) reverse order: “ta-TAT’-ta-TAT'”
Possible variations of syllables:
“Ka-Tat'” etc.
Practice first by blowing into the instrument without sound, better without mouthpiece and not pressing the key; then proceed while pressing the key which is most convenient for the right hand – for example, A in the first register.
For one breath 8 bits are pronounced. Do not forget to inhale through the nose!
Again, first practice without sound, not pressing the key; then proceed while pressing the key which is most convenient for the right hand – for example, G in the first register.
It is advisable to work with metronome in tempo of 108 MM; those who have jazz profile may set the metronome for 2nd and 4th bit in tempo 54 MM.
At the later stages metronome can be set to the higher speed – up to 208 MM in quarters..

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