Just returned from a 4-day backpacking trip in Kings Canyon, CA. It was an amazing experience, tainted only by a lack of guitars. But I didn't let that stop me from practicing.
I estimate we put in over 20 hours on the trail. One can dedicate only so much time to taking in scenery, snapping photos, and interacting with wildlife. The remainder was spent lost in thought. When I wasn't trying to correct the flaws of Objectivism, I was reciting music theory exercises and practicing polyrhythms.
My favorite exercise was the interval cycle. As I wrote in a post about memorizing intervals, knowing cycles of diatonic intervals without accidentals is hugely advantageous. I ran such cycles in my head or out loud as I walked. I had previously mastered diatonic seconds and thirds, but I had to learn the others slowly before reciting for speed. I got up to three notes per step with every cycle before the trip was over.
More explicitly, here's what I was reciting, emphasis on every third note:
- seconds: C d e F g a B c d E f g . . .
- thirds: C e g B d f A c e G b d . . .
- fourths: C f b E a d G c f B e a . . .
- fifths: C g d A e b F c g D a e . . .
- sixths: C a f D b g E c a F d b . . .
- sevenths: C b a G f e D c b A g f . . .
I practiced polyrhythms over the steady pulse of my steps, while the terrain allowed it. I conjured rhythm ratios of 3:5, 4:5, 5:3, and 5:4 with my hands and mouth. I tried combining this with the interval recitation, but couldn't get the coordination down. Maybe next time.