D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

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Coen van Dijk
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Coen van Dijk » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:54 am

Ross, apart from the speed, I think it was a really good thrill exercise. The thrills were very even in volume and all very clear performed. Speed is not that important, better to is slow and correct!

Richard, too bad a bout the slip in the end, other than that a good performance.

Goran, also a great thrill exercise! Very good quality thrills at a good speed. Las Hachas sounded great too. Its an excellent idea to play both with p and i-m. I find playng with only the p pretty difficult. I miss a bit of speed and accuracy on the higher strings. I already practiced a lot with i-m on the lower strings. At first is was difficult but now I almost prefer it over p if there are a lot of bass notes after each other, like in this song.

Marko, I think practice helps consistency very much. The other problem, nail size and sound consistency will remain always. I solved it for the larger part by keeping my nails rather short: Ony about 2 mm or so. This way the break less quickly (my nails break already if you look too closely at them :( , and in addition they are bend downward :( ) The good I found about rather short nails is that it actually improves the sound on my guitar. The sound is more full because I use part of the finger tips too. Plus, playing apoyando is more easy.

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Marko Räsänen
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:38 pm

Richard, never mind the slip in the end. That happens, and it was a good performance regardless. Of course should that happen in a live performance, regrettably that last note would be the thing that the audience remembers most vividly. Therefore I think the best option would be to repeat the B part once more so that the piece does not end in the wrong note. The audience does not know how many times you're supposed to repeat that part, and that single wrong note does not sound "as wrong" when it doesn't end the song.

Goran, I agree with Coen. Very good trills! [Purist mode on] Regarding Las Hachas, generally unless otherwise noted, or due to technical constraints, the lower voice (stems growing down from the note) should be played with the thumb, and the upper voice (stems growing up) with other fingers. The song is structured like a dialogue between the two voices, and the most effective way to separate the two voices from each other is to reserve the thumb for the lower voice only.
I think you succeed wonderfully to create two separate voices with the A part of the song, but the use of thumb for the melody in measures 13-15 somehow shatters the illusion as the longer bass note progression (F-C-Bb-A) is playing at the same time with the "other bass line". [Purist mode off]
However I think one mustn't be bound to a single interpretation of the song structure, and I'm not sure whether one would hear the two voices if one hasn't learned to interpret this kind of song in such a way. The separation of voices is more clear with an instrument such as piano, where each hand represents a separate voice, and the voices' pitch ranges do not necessarily overlap, but there may be an octave or two between them. The guitar is a very different animal though, and when you need to choose between good voice separation and making the individual notes sound as beautiful as possible, I think I'd go for the latter...

Coen, ever since I restarted my playing few months ago I have constantly shortened my nails. My thumb nail is a bit long on the side of the other fingers, as it seems to give me more control. Nowadays my i-m-a nails barely peek from behind the finger tips (they're shaped in the way that the nail peeks from behind the tip roughly at the half way of the finger width, to raise maybe 0.5-1mm beyond the tip to the non-plucking side of the finger). My annular finger nail also keeps bending downwards especially on the little finger side, which is the main reason why I keep all the nails short. Mainly thanks to vitamin D3 I eat, my nails are nowadays very strong.

I agree that the sound is better (and more variable) with short nails. Longer nails just feel more secure, as in "I missed the string because of the short nail; with longer nail the note would have just sounded bad" :) It's true though that apoyando is difficult with longer nails. I just wish there were more beginner / intermediate level pieces to use the rest stroke for.
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Marko Räsänen
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:26 pm

Goran, I also meant to comment that for Las Hachas you need to up the tempo a little bit to make it more effective, and for that I think the use of the thumb for the 8th note passages may not sound too good (the notes will become too short) and accentuating individual notes for the purpose of musical expression will become very difficult. Therefore I think using i-m for all the 8th notes is the way to go. Perhaps you could adjust the angle of fingers and/or the playing position to try to separate the voices when using i-m for both of the voices? Or possibly use p-i alternation for the lower voice, and i-m for the upper voice?
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Jack Jarrett

Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Jack Jarrett » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:13 pm

Marko, Your observations are excellent!Thanks so much for the well thought out and very helpful insights. I especially like your tip for Richard regarding the last note and using a repeat, as I have done this many times while trying to make recordings, and having that advice really is a great idea.
Here are my second tries, not perfect but since I am going out of town for awhile, I better get them on here.
[media]https://youtu.be/dfleuq77gYw[/media]

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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Stewart Doyle » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:27 pm

Hi everyone,

Sorry I've been absent from the forum for a while, hopefully I'll find some time at the weekend to record something and provide some useful comments. A warm welcome to Marko - your excellent detailed analysis will be a real asset to the group. It looks as though you are setting a high performance level too. That is a good point about repeating a final note/chord - I think the audience might suspect something when I've attempted it eight times though! :lol:

So much has already been written, can I simply say :bravo: to Ross, Coen, Ned, Goran, Marko, Richard and Jack!

Some general points:
On the trills I wonder if we should still be trying to aim to pull the fingers across to the next string rather than vertically (or 45 degrees) off the string. Clearly, this is far harder at speed, but should we perform them this way slowly and then gradually build up speed while preserving the technique?

I do find my 4th finger often overcompensates for its weakness (do you notice that I talk about it as if I have no control over it!) and often snaps off the top E string with painful results when performing the 3/4 trills.

On the final note slip – somewhere on Delcamp there’s a wonderful version of the Sor B minor study (I think) except for the final chord which is catastrophically wrong – I hope it’s genuine.

:bye: Stewart
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Mark Bacon
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Mark Bacon » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:13 am

[media]https://youtu.be/oBcLpZIER7E[/media]

I can't say I'm overly pleased with this so far, but it occurred to me today just how far behind I am due to my finger injury. Sigh.

Richard Judge

Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Richard Judge » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:36 am

Well done Mark I would be really happy if this was my video. :bravo:
Your fingers are very relaxed and the trills are fast and even.
On the trills I wonder if we should still be trying to aim to pull the fingers across to the next string rather than vertically (or 45 degrees) off the string. Clearly, this is far harder at speed, but should we perform them this way slowly and then gradually build up speed while preserving the technique?
One of the problems I'm having is that I catch the next string when playing these and your suggestion should help however I would be concerned about getting up to speed. Perhaps a balance where the last pull of is given a bit more welly and left to rest on the adjacent string as a proper pull off. This would certainly give the melody note more volume at the end.

The notation shows the trills as triplets of demisemiquavers (thirtysecond notes) with the main note as a dotted quaver (eighth note). By that reconning the main note should sound 3 times the length of the trill. The metronome marking is a quaver (eight note) at 84 so each Crotchet (quarter) is only 42 which is slow. The main note is the melody note after all and I am trying to concentrate on getting the sound of this note right while letting the trills just happen, so to speak.

My submission will now be blighted as I try to demonstrate what I mean. :roll:

Ned Henderson
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Ned Henderson » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:31 am

Dear All

Sorry to say I have not been online much lately but just catching up on your practices. All looking very good. I am having difficulty with the trills although advice from Marko and others has been extremely helpful. My timing is slowly improving but I find the 4th finger is weak and also that I do not seem to be hammering back on vertically or with much force...so with the third and fourth finger trills the hammer-on part does not sound as loud or emphatic. I guess this is down to regular practice to strengthen the fourth finger. I am definitely a bit better when I just use the third finger repeatedly for the trills (which I occasionally slip into, by default mode), but I am trying mostly to stick to what M. Delcamp asked of us and to hope slowly the fourth finger on LH will improve.

Ross - :merci: for your recommendation re Luteman on the arpeggio practice, I did check him out and I find his advice very clear and practical. I have most of the "beginner" errors he mentions even though I hhave been playing for a while :oops: but never mind, at least he is helping me to focus on eliminating some of the wasted movement in the left hand. It will take time though and patience!

Jack - I was impressed by your trill practice, seems very clear and steady, equal in volume and duration of the trill notes. The playing is good too on La Minona although the timing seems to wander a bit at times and it may be helpful to practice a few times with a metronome and without the trills, just playing the piece through with no ornamentation, as Marko recommended to me. I am finding this helpful in improving my timing though it is still far from perfect...because the trills seem to throw the mind's focus away from awareness of the tempo onto the new challenge of managing the trill with adequate dexterity.

Richard - good stuff, never mind the blip, good clear trills!

Mark - another very good practice. Still can't see you, do you film at night, your room seems very dark, but anyway your trill practice was spot on so no advice I could offer. :bravo:

I am behind on my practice and my posts, will try to put something up soon.

Ned

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Marko Räsänen
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:45 pm

Jack, there is clearly improvement in your trills and La Minona! Well done! Trills are something that will get slowly better with practice, and also as the left hand technique improves in general. There are a couple of things in your playing, not particularly related to this lesson, which I think you should pay some attention to, if possible.

The first one is planting. You seem to plant your right hand fingers quite well ahead of the time, which makes your playing sound a bit staccato-like. It may be that you only do this when recording, for extra security, but nevertheless it may be something that you're not fully aware of. I also think it is something that many beginner classical guitarists are not aware of, unless it is pointed to them (at least that was the case with my playing when I started to study classical before the big break). Breaking the habit requires at first constant effort to make the notes sound as legato as possible, i.e. to reduce the planting time to the absolute minimum you can get away with. After a while it becomes fully automatic. Reducing the planting time is also needed in order to play fast passages, so in fact learning to play legato is half of the skill of playing fast.

The second thing is your right hand position. It may be that the camera angle you use exaggerates it a bit, but to me it looks like your right hand is bouncing to the rhythm of plucking the strings. When I started to analyze it further, I noticed that your hand position is very low, and your fingers bent nearly 90 degrees from the second joint, so that the first segments of your fingers (counting from the wrist) are nearly parallel with the guitar top, and second segments perpendicular to it (or actually bending over, so that the tips of your fingers are pointing slightly upwards). From this position it is impossible to pluck the string using mainly your major knuckle (as one should do), and instead you do most of the plucking motion with your wrist and elbow. This makes the plucking motion direct outwards rather than inwards, which makes the sound thin, and the playing seem difficult. What you should do, is to lift your palm slightly to let your fingers straighten out a bit. The general rule when playing free stroke is that when playing for example the first string, the major knuckle should be positioned on top of the 2nd string, etc. The exact hand position will depend on individual anatomy, but the basic plucking motion should be this: Keep your two smaller finger joints in a fixed position (i.e. slightly flexed) as you plant and pluck the string using the major knuckle only. I think it's ok to slightly flex the middle joint when plucking so that you miss the next string when your hand position is not ideal (for example for the string crossing), and you need to do so nevertheless when the finger returns to its "ready position" (otherwise it would make contact with the string that it just plucked). Furthermore, just before releasing the string, the finger should be pressing the string half towards the bottom of the guitar, and half towards the next string, i.e. 45 degrees between those two directions. This should give the best sound, and provides an easy way to control the volume (for increased volume, apply more pressure to the string before releasing). I haven't mastered this myself, as my free strokes tend to be directed towards the next string (except for brief moments when I do get into the "zone"). Anyway, I think your planting issue may also be related to your hand position, so it's worth giving some thought and experimentation. Changing your hand position probably isn't something that will happen overnight, but I think it would pay off in the long run to make notice of what your right hand is doing and try to adjust it every now and then.

At least this is what Bill Kanengiser teaches on his "Effortless Classical Guitar" and "Classical Guitar Mastery" DVD's, and he is very convincing at it. I'd recommend those DVD's to anyone who's studying CG, as it mostly covers basic technique that is useful at any level of playing. You can also find some clips of those DVD's at YT.

Stewart, that's a good question about the pull-off parts of the trill. I tend to agree with Richard. The trills could be longer than a pull-off - hammer-on - pull-off -sequence, (and that's where using two fingers instead of one will show its strength), and generally they are intended to be performed fast. Doing a sideways pull-off stopped by the next string then really isn't an option, because you cannot get that finger back to the hammering position fast enough. For the last pull-off of the trill it is important to leave the string ringing clearly, so a more sideways angle could be used. It very much depends on the context of the trill though (and which string it is to be played on; bass strings do not need much force nor very sideways angle to sound loud), and you need to ask yourself how much volume is required? Also you need to keep in mind that pull-offs aren't either sideways or vertical, but everything in-between those extremes. For each situation you need to experiment and find the technique and angle that works best there.
Generally I think when doing a trill, the next string should be damped by either the left hand index finger (usually possible by laying the index finger flat similarly to half barre, unless the index finger itself is doing the trill), or one of the right hand fingers, because it will tend to ring unless damped.

Mark, your trills sounded very good and even to me! The only criticism I have is that you played the final trill (dcd-c) one time extra :P La Minona should present very little challenge to you, unless you come up with something difficult as the improvised additions :)

Ned, something that may or may not be beneficial for you, is to know that good hammer-on sound doesn't have much to do with strength, but more to do with speed. When you practice the trills or simple slurs with the little finger, the wrong approach is to try to press hard with the finger; the right one is to concentrate on the speed of which the finger contacts the string. As the little finger has very little mass, it is also beneficial to use the clockwise wrist rotation for the hammer-on, which combined with the finger movement will dramatically increase the speed of which the finger tip meets the string.

Last night, I had my second attempt at changing to Savarez 500PR strings. The first time 1st string broke at the nut when tuning it up to pitch. After buying the rectified treble set I had a second go, and this time the 1st string broke only after I had changed the rest of the strings. Needless to say, there was something in the 1st string slot of the nut that keeps cutting the strings, but regular nylon strings seem to be handling it better. I did a little filing of that slot, but as I was again out of Savarez rectified 1st strings, I decided to put on the Hannabach PSP set (with polished basses), and will try to record La Minona with them again tonight. The bass strings feel somehow "sticky" against my thumb nail, which I hope will be temporary.
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Marko Räsänen
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:59 pm

La Minona, 2nd try

[media]https://youtu.be/G3RNuVoVfTM[/media]

I'll work on Las Hachas next. I think it's quite challenging piece, but at the same time very interesting to interpret into music.

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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:49 am

Regarding Las Hachas, I just watched Mr. Delcamp's playing of it, and he seems to be using i-m alternation for all the 8th note passages, whereas I've been using my thumb for the passage in bar 11. I think I'll switch into all i-m, as the use of thumb does sound a bit forced here.
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Goran Penic
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Goran Penic » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:58 am

Hi all :bye:
I'm sorry that lately I do not have enough time to exercise. I try as much as possible to keep track of your work.
Tonight I catch a little bit of time to work on Las Hachas

[media]https://youtu.be/aOE9yqYCmq8[/media]
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Marko Räsänen
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Marko Räsänen » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:19 am

:bravo: Goran! Very accurate playing!

I've been working with this for a couple of nights but haven't dared to record it yet. I'm trying to build up some tempo as well, which makes things a bit hard. The problem spots for me are the position shifts in bar 10, and the change of finger for the f note in bar 13. Very often I forget to change the finger, and then I'm in trouble at the beginning of the next bar :) Also I notice that my left hand keeps tensing up when I practice the second part of the piece. I should try and learn to relax it better in-between movements. I'll try to come up with a recording tonight.
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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Jack Jarrett » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:29 pm

Thank you for you clear analysis! It has been pointed out to me in the past, about my hand position, and I do see the benefits of pulling my wrist up. Actually, I think I tend to tense at times, especially when working on harder or new pieces, and the wrist seems to fall closer to the guitar, thus changing my finger angles. And also I think I do this when I am trying to use rest strokes, as the angle is flatter when I pluck the string, allowing the finger to land on the adjacent string.It boils down to inconsistency on my part, and I need to really focus and concentrate on this problem. The planting is a security thing, I believe, and I can see how doing this would dampen the strings prior to plucking, so probably not good when I am trying to play legato,also something that has been pointed out to me, but alas forgotten as I struggle to learn new material! :?
:merci:

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Re: D03 Classical guitar lesson 06

Post by Ned Henderson » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:14 pm

:bravo: well played Goran. You are setting a good standard for Las Hachas!

:bravo: Marko....Your playing was excellent and so I have had to look deep for very small imperfections! Overall the trills are clear and precise and the melody comes through nicely.
I notice in the second ("B") section, the last note of the first bar (open E) is barely audible, possibly because of the slight stress on playing the trill that precedes it. You also hold the trill on the E note in the final bar a bit longer than its strict duration but maybe this is intentional as there is a slight rallentando as the piece ends?
Thank you for the time and effort you are putting into feedback to us all. I will bear in mind what you say about the trills with the 4th finger and experiment a bit.

Ned

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