GRAMMY-nominated violist Nick Revel created DragonScales, a complete set of scales and arpeggios, including audio play-alongs for violin, viola, and cello
Nick Revel is the founding violist of PUBLIQuartet, the multi-GRAMMY-nominated ensemble that is dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet. When he is not performing with the group, he is composing, producing, and performing original works, audio engineering, and teaching students. He has served as the artistic and executive director of the Norwalk Youth Chamber Ensembles and co-creator of the New York String Studio. He currently serves on the board of Connecticut’s Seabury Academy of Music and the Arts.
His newest project, DragonScales is available in three volumes — for violin, viola, and cello — in paperback or as digital PDF downloads. Unlike some scales books and the use of traditional metronomes and drones, DragonScales features audio play-alongs that match the notation in real time — offering a reference for pulse, rhythm, and pitch, even in the fastest rhythms. They also include visual transitions from one rhythm to the next to develop metric relationships and pulse within one tempo.
“Whether you’re a student, teacher, amateur, or professional performer, this is one of the most efficient ways to gain dexterity and intonation and rhythmic accuracy on your instrument,” Revel explains. “QR codes in the books link to YouTube play-alongs allowing easy access anywhere you go.”
Each key in the book, starting with C, includes six scales (major, minor, whole tone, two diminished, and chromatic), plus two sets of arpeggios progressing through eight harmonies. Each scale or arpeggio is notated in a slow rhythm, progressing through faster rhythms. To be more adaptable to students’ and teachers’ needs, the notation is written without fingering or slurring suggestions.
The play-alongs are organized by key in the YouTube in playlists and offline use is available, here. To try the audio for the C major scale, click here.
“This is great training for the fingers and eyes and very helpful for eye recognition when sight-reading,” said Kitty Benton from Associated Chamber Music Players. “Practicing scales with DragonScales (audio) is very different from practicing with a drone or tuner. The fact that every note you play on your instrument can be tuned to the same note in the play-alongs at every moment even through rhythmic progressions is the thing that makes it unique. It’s been enormously helpful.”
“DragonScales are the most efficient way to stay in performance shape…[its] speed levels are a perfect workup from “warming up” and honing in, all the way up to virtuoso training in efficient movement and endurance,” added Catalyst Quartet violist Paul Laraia. “It allows me to focus more on linking my body mechanics and bow arm with pinpoint pitch and rhythm control.”
To purchase DragonScales, click here.
A video of Revel introducing DragonScales can be viewed below.