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Review in AMERICAN STRING TEACHER (February, 2010 - P. 74)
(reprinted with permission from American String Teacher and the American String Teachers Association, 4153 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030)

ACCIDENTALS HAPPEN! A COMPILATION OF SCALES FOR VIOLIN-VIOLA-CELLO-BASS TWENTY-SIX SCALES IN THREE OCTAVES. William H. Somach 2008

(review by ASTA President Jeffrey Solow)

In my 2004 survey of cello scale and arpeggio books for AST, I noted that practicing scales provides familiarity with all of the keys, is an indespensable tool for developing fluency over the total range of one's instrument, perfecting intonation and enhancing coordination. I also noted that most such books have much content in common. Violinist/Violist William H. Somach has given us something new in versions tailored for each of the bowed string instruments. Somach's book includes the normal major and minor scales, scales in the 12 modes, Dominant 7th scales, Pentatonic, Ethnic (Spanish/Jewish, Hungarian "Gypsy", Arabic and Hindu), Augmented and Diminished, Whole Tone, Jazz and Blues, Bebop and Chromatic-plus various combinations and variants of these. Similar to Galamian's method, the scales are presented as stem-less noteheads without fingerings. To point out the salient characteristics of each, Somach indicates half-steps and, where they are prevalent, augmented seconds. The book begins with a quick guide to Key Signatures and Enharmonic Equivalents and a brief discussion giving each scale's history, usage and intervallic sequence introduces every section. Pianists are lucky in that the keyboard itself provides a guide to intervals and harmony. With this book, Somach appropriately notes, string players will have a tool "for providing a better understanding of music harmony." Intended as a supplement to the more standard scale books, Accidentals Happen! provides all of the usual 'fingerboard geography' benefits of scale practice but players who desire to explore or expand their proficiency in Alternative Styles will find this to be a particularly useful addition to their library.
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