This is a short guide to help you understand the basic guide to help you understand the basic principles of the technique ‘enclosure’. A further lesson will be made to help you apply this technique to your style of music.
Simply put, enclosure is a musical technique in which a select note pattern of 3 notes within a scale are played to add new characteristics.
We can name these tones:
- Upper tone – The tone above your object tone
- Object tone – Your I tone (the resolve note)
- Lower tone – The tone under your object tone
You can play these in any order you wish, however every variation will have it’s own phrasing and give off a different feel. You can also alter the distance between these tones. For example, you may wish to have both your upper and lower tone only a half step away from your object tone, or you may wish to have them both a full tone away.
- 1 scale tone up – object Tone – half step down – object tone
- half step up – object tone – half step down – object tone
- 1 scale tone up – half step down – object tone
- half step down – 1 scale tone up – object tone
Note: a scale tone is not necessarily a full tone/semi-tone. The best way to explain this is with an example; let’s use A minor. Within A minor there are no sharps/flats, so when we are moving along the A minor scale using enclosure and reach, let’s say E for example; our upper tone would be a half step above to F, which is also a scale tone above. This can cause confusion when starting so I would recommend writing out the notes of the scale and the enclosure pattern you wish to play and practice using enclosure from note to note.
Our example below follows the A minor triad arpeggio using the pattern: scale tone up – object tone – half step down – object tone. Our diagram also shows the notes as crotchets, however once you feel comfortable playing this pattern, try playing it in 8th and even 16th note duration.
Applying enclosure over chords:
When playing over a dominant chord, the preferred choice would be playing a half tone up and a half tone below around your object tone.
When playing over a minor chord, the preferred choice would be playing a scale tone above and a half step below your object tone.
When playing over a Major chord, the preferred choice would be playing a scale tone above and a scale tone below your object tone.
although these are the more traditional ways enclosure is played over chords, there are no strict rules in music. play around and see what you can do!