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This activity uses the notes
On certain instruments it may be easier to think of them in the order GA DE (Bb instruments: AB EF#) Either way, you have two pairs of next door notes with which to work.
If it is a group activity, let one player start it off. What they play will give a particular character to the opening of the improvisation. Other players can join in when they wish, playing whatever this opening suggests to them. It's a bit like going for a walk in an unfamiliar place - various group members will draw attention to interesting or unexpected features, as you explore new paths.
Do not play all the time but do listen all the time! Don't talk - all communication should be through the music. If everyone is listening carefully, you will all know when you get to the end.
You can use any instrument for this activity but, if you are exploring ideas on your own, it is most interesting to use an electronic keyboard and to experiment with different instrumental sounds.
If you are playing alone, decide which of the four notes is going to be the most important. It is a good idea to start and finish on this note. Experiment with ways of bringing out the importance of this 'home' note.
Take each note, in turn, as your 'home' note (the proper musical term for this is 'the tonic').
©Audrey Podmore, 2003