Exercises based on modes of Limited transposition by French composer Oliver Messaien.

The seven unusual modes presented in this workbook are designed to introduce the woodwind player to some new musical vocabulary and tone colors by applying them to melodic and intervallic lines, and incorporating them into some new fingering patterns as well as some unusual time signatures.

Facility with using this modes, with the patterns shown here, can be useful in many different musical contexts, for both the classical and improvisational player.



A few words on how this project came to be. I always liked the music of Messiaen and his interesting scales. As an improviser I played around with and developed many ideas using them, opening my ears to new sounds and patterns

 

I wrote 4 exercises for each mode, focusing on sonority, fingering, articulation  and intervallic lines (interesting arpeggios derived from the scales). Whenever possible I used odd time signatures (5/8 , 7/8, 11/8) to make things even more interesting.

 

The reason for writing this book is simple: I always need to sharpen my skills as a performer in improvised and classical music, and for these I (and all of us) need absolute control of the instrument—in tone production, fingering, and note articulation. But, for the improvisational elements, I need to develop my language—as the saying goes, we are what we eat, and I say we are what we practice–so I thought it would be a great idea to add some Messiaen mode intervallic language to my vocabulary. 

 

 

Credits

I based the format of the book (the order & some shapes of the exercises) on “The 28 Day Warm Up Book” of master flute player Paul Edmond Davies. He has one of the best flute books out there, and I recommend it highly as I learned a number of very useful things from it.

http://www.pauledmund-davies.com

 

 

Check out this great book if you want to learn more about Messiaen music “The Technique of my Musical Language (Bibliotheque-Leduc)”

A Flute Workbook based on Messiaen Modes