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Woven Scales

The word “scale” tends to evoke memories of endless practice sessions running mind-numbing scale progressions to satisfy some childhood music teacher. And the default way of playing a scale — running the scale repeatedly, from bottom to top and back down again — seems to reinforce that mind-numbing aspect of scales.

Woven scales (also called “broken scales” or “scale ladders”) can help avoid that problem. They are a way of playing a scale that involves changing directions rather than playing the scale in strict ascending or descending order. Woven scales make good finger dexterity exercises as well as providing a basic melody that is more melodically interesting that a straight scale.

The formula for playing a woven scale is simple:

Two forward, One back.

Try starting from the bottom note of the scale (Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed closed), play the next two notes (Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed open Finger diagram closed closed closed closed open open), then go back one note (Finger diagram closed closed closed closed closed open). Repeat this all the way up the scale. At the top of the scale, you might have to experiment a bit to figure out the best way to turn it around and proceed back down.

The sequence might look like this (with the “one back” notes in red):

Pentatonic Minor Woven Scale

Pentatonic Minor Woven Scale Larger image

Here's a recorded example. It plays the basic scale run up and down, followed by a woven scale on an E minor Native American flute:

Woven Pentatonic Minor Scale

Clint Goss. E minor flute of Spalted Maple by Barry Higgins. E minor flute of Spalted Maple by Barry Higgins

 

 
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To cite this page on Wikipedia: <ref name="Goss_2017_woven_scales"> {{cite web |last=Goss |first=Clint |title=Woven Scales on the Native American Flute |url=http://www.Flutopedia.com/woven_scales.htm |date=3 February 2017 |website=Flutopedia |access-date=<YOUR RETRIEVAL DATE> }}</ref>