Climbing the K2, Part 2

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to work with the first eight bars of the Kreutzer Etude #2 posted last week. That first section introduces a deceptively simple but very effective melodic line which descends and then builds back up diatonically along the key of A minor, transitioning in the next eight-bar section, tabbed below:


Remember to stick with strict down-up alternate picking until the patterns are smooth and comfortable, and then you may start to spot opportunities where some legato phrasing or economy picking might be useful. Definitely experiment with palm-muting to accentuate beats and phrases.

The first two beats of bar 9 begin with the triad melodic figure from the first eight bars, but here it extends one 16th note into the next beat, which affects the next musical motif. This little bit of rhythmic displacement is an effective tool to make simple ideas sound more intricate, and not like a dry scale. For the rest of this section (and on to bar 22), the first 16th note for every beat will be the final note of the bar preceding it. So there’s that high A note starting the third beat of bar 9, then the eight-note descending melody, ending on the first beat of the next bar, and so on.

The melody for this section is simply the first six notes of the scale at the respective mode position, then back to the 4th, then up to the 7th (a jump of a third, major or minor depending on mode and position). The intervals spell out 1-2-3-4-5-6-4-7, and descend Am-G-F-Em-D. A simple and effective exercise to internalize this section would be to run the modes all the way up the neck on the A-D-G strings. The rhythmic displacement will probably present the greatest challenge to practice, but once the transition from Section A is smooth, it should be easier to lock in with the displaced melody.

You can see in the final bar of this section (bar 16) how the ascending scales resolve  (with a pretty wide intervallic leap, which can be mastered starting at slower tempos) into a new melodic shape,which continues into the final section of the piece. Next week we’ll post the final nine bars of the K2, and show a simple and effective exercise to get this seemingly complicated (but very cool sounding) melodic shape under your fingers, and move it around with ease. For now, concentrate on learning this section, and combining it with the section from last week, making a smooth, musical 16 bars (so far). More fun to come, so stay tuned!

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