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I play a kora, which has a fixed set of notes. I am playing traditional and non-traditional music on it. For the traditional music there is a specific didactic approach I am following.

For the non-traditional I have a "warmup" routine I follow, which is centered around timing and... finger agility/placement. I would like to have some focus on my warmup also teaching me the, I don't know, musical logic behind it.

Initially my question was going to be if someone could help me devise a routine. But I think what I am really after is a better understanding of how someone would come up with it. So for instance, it is not hard for me to find the notes of a chord, and the layout of the instrument kind of lends itself to that anyway, but that does not feel particularly meaningful musically.

The one example I have of what I am talking about, is that after playing up and down the strings I play descending octaves where I try to hit all the "F" notes together, then all the "E", but... Would it be helpful to do the same thing with 5ths? other intervals? I don't really know, but more importantly I don't totally understand how anyone goes about knowing.

I have read up/studied music theory but have trouble connecting what feels like abstract ideas with the actual music in front of me/that I want to make.

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  • As you know, there are lots of "fixed-note" instruments, from piano to sax to flute to harp, and so on. How to practice and what finger-patterns to learn depends on the instrument. If there's no "Kora For Dummies" book :-), then you will have to find a teacher. – Carl Witthoft Oct 20 '20 at 15:41
  • @CarlWitthoft the notes on wind instruments can be adjusted as opposed to piano and harp where they are in fact fixed. – Lars Peter Schultz Oct 20 '20 at 15:53
  • @LarsPeterSchultz They can be "bent' but they cannot be adjusted in the way that an unfretted string instrument can. For that matter, a Kora can be adjusted similar to how a concert harp is adjustable. This is not something you do during performance in general. – Carl Witthoft Oct 20 '20 at 18:16
  • @CarlWitthoft Good musicians care a lot about intonation. Let us say two musicians are playing a duet. At a certain point they are playing a fifth, the lower voice is G, the upper voice is D a perfect fifth higher. They can intonate the fifth so it is in fact perfect as opposed to a fifth on a piano where it is slightly out of tune. That is the kind of intonation good musicians are capable of doing. Leading notes can be played extra sharp and if they are playing blues they can play blue notes that are really blue. – Lars Peter Schultz Oct 21 '20 at 22:13
  • @LarsPeterSchultz true, but I fear I fail to see the relevance to the question posted here – Carl Witthoft Oct 22 '20 at 15:12