Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

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Adrian Allan
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Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:27 pm

How many people are aware of these guitar harmonics?

Can you think of any pieces where they occur?

I must admit that they are new to me
unusual gtr harmonics.JPG
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Christopher Langley
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Christopher Langley » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:03 pm

Pretty neat.. Thanks for sharing.

Naturally, I have tried playing harmonics everywhere up and down all the strings just for the sake of experimentation. You can actually find a lot of different ones all over.

I found the 3.2 and 2.6 useful for dialing them in! Found them right away.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:17 am

Adrian Allan wrote:How many people are aware of these guitar harmonics?
I expect that every professional teacher is fully aware of them.

Mid-fret harmonics are not unusual and have been used at least since the classical period. Every player that has properly studied Sor (for instance) will have played them. There is fairly a comprehensive guide in his Méthode, which anyone purporting to be a teacher of the "classical" instrument should have read (though they may subsequently choose to follow different principles).
Adrian Allan wrote:Can you think of any pieces where they occur?
A good illustrative example is Sor's Op.36 no.1 where the post-III and sub-III positions are used sequentially on the same string (four) as part of the motif in imitation of a brass instrument.
Last edited by Mark Clifton-Gaultier on Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:27 am

As well as Sor, harmonics of that kind occur in various contemporary composers; Gilbert Biberian uses them quite a lot.
Which piece is the extract from?
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:29 am

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:27 am
As well as Sor, harmonics of that kind occur in various contemporary composers; Gilbert Biberian uses them quite a lot.
Which piece is the extract from?
It is a diagram from an internet page
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:30 am

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:17 am
Adrian Allan wrote:How many people are aware of these guitar harmonics?
I expect that every professional teacher is fully aware of them.

Mid-fret harmonics are not unusual and have been used at least since the classical period. Every player that has properly studied Sor (for instance) will have played them. There is fairly comprehensive a guide in his Méthode, which anyone purporting to be a teacher of the "classical" instrument should have read (though they may subsequently choose to follow different principles).
Adrian Allan wrote:Can you think of any pieces where they occur?
A good illustrative example is Sor's Op.36 no.1 where the post-III and sub-III positions are used sequentially on the same string (four) as part of the motif in imitation of a brass instrument.
I used to teach guitar, but no longer do - and they are something I have never used - sorry!
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:14 am

Adrian Allan wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:29 am
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:27 am
As well as Sor, harmonics of that kind occur in various contemporary composers; Gilbert Biberian uses them quite a lot.
Which piece is the extract from?
It is a diagram from an internet page
Aha that explains it!
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:21 am

The reason I am asking is - is it worth mentioning these in an instruction book - as they are often not included?
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:59 am

Adrian Allan wrote:The reason I am asking is - is it worth mentioning these in an instruction book - as they are often not included?
Well Adrian, a beginner certainly doesn't need them - but the Sor that I mentioned before is not playable without them. You have to make a judgement regarding the scope of each volume. I might omit them from early instructional material.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:04 am

The old school of instruction used to be almost visual overload before the player could play a single note (eg Carcassi)- now it is more along the lines of introducing things when you actually need them,

Since these harmonics are rare, I can't see them being introduced in even intermediate books, never mind early stage books.

I have a huge collection of sheet music (admittedly piano as well as guitar) and I have never had a reason to use them - also probably because I do not play any "modernist" pieces apart from the occasional Koshkin or Walton.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:39 am

Ok - here is another question

How many of these are practically possible on the classical guitar?

This is from an electric guitar website, where, with the amp cranked up, these are obviously easier to produce
open a harmonics.JPG
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:56 am

Adrian Allan wrote:Since these harmonics are rare, I can't see them being introduced in even intermediate books, never mind early stage books.
Whilst not "everyday" they are not so startlingly uncommon in fact but, since Segovia (roughly), instruction books have focused on the same, very few, studies and pieces. Unambitious and lazy selections reprinted ad infinitum, each additional volume distinguished only by clumsy and uninformed changes of fingering (presumably to give something to support a copyright claim) and the odd extra piece from a once obscure collection.
Adrian Allan wrote:I have a huge collection of sheet music (admittedly piano as well as guitar) and I have never had a reason to use them - also probably because I do not play any "modernist" pieces apart from the occasional Koshkin or Walton.
Lol ... due to the lazy publishing referenced above it's quite easy to amass a huge pile of paper that, despite its density, includes little of value (I own plenty of that stuff). All you would need is a copy of Sor's Méthode to remedy the situation.

Actually - I place a great deal of value in those old methods and have very little time for modern junk like "Pumping Nylon" (though I do admit to owning a copy).
Adrian Allan wrote:... probably because I do not play any "modernist" pieces apart from the occasional Koshkin or Walton.
As you know, I sort of started out with a love of modern English works - Walton, Berkley, Bennett, Rawsthorne, Maxwell-Davies et al. When the Tippett came along I was in raptures - none of those required mid-fret harmonics (as I recall).

Since those days I've played the complete works (as far as they're available) of Sor, Aguado, Giuliani, Carulli, Carcassi, Legnani etc., etc. blah de blah de blah ... and read every method volume that I could lay my hands on. I strongly disagree with those who say that there's no audible difference between certain composers of that period - if I play Carcassi and Carulli side by side I strive for the audience to be able to distinguish between them - some of that possibility relies on understanding not just their approach to composition but also technique.
Adrian Allan wrote:Ok - here is another question. How many of these are practically possible on the classical guitar?
Only one way to find out ... I suspect that a "modern" instrument (and strings) will probably perform better.

Here's Sor's chart:
sor_harm.png
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:11 pm

Ok thanks - that is very useful.

I will include all of these - as you have found out by now, I am writing a guide to how to write for the guitar for musicians.

It will go through many revisions, as I will be trialing it out on non guitarists to begin with, as it can be hard to envisage the problems of writing for an idiomatic instrument.
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by 2lost2find » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:02 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:56 am


Actually - I place a great deal of value in those old methods and have very little time for modern junk like "Pumping Nylon" (though I do admit to owning a copy).
A man after my own heart. The meat of my intermediate-to-advanced study was the Tecla edition of Aguado's 1843 Nuevo Methodo Parra Guitarra. I used it because I was working on my own and didn't know jack, but now that I have better information and a lot more skills I still think it's the best thing going for self-teaching above grade 2 or so. Add in rest strokes and re-think the right hand fingering a little (which a reasonably bright grade 3 player ought to be able to do) and you're there.

I'm still making up my mind about Sor's method. I dismissed it as more ranting than teaching after going through the Merrick translation, but my lady (known 'round these parts as crazyrach) recently bought the modern translation from Editions Orphee and as time permits I'm going to use it as occasion for re-evalutation. She also found a translation of the text from Coste's version so I suppose one of these days I'll sit down with that as well.

I do not own a copy of pumping nylon. Or any other exercise book. Rachael has been talking on and off about buying one and I have thus far managed to dissuade her.

To address the original question directly: the book is a good idea. But in order for it to be useful it needs to provide a complete picture of the instrument's capabilities. Such harmonics are possible, therefore they must be included.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Unusual Guitar Harmonics - do you know them?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:21 pm

Yes - and as I write - they have been included as I have completed a specifically page on them

There will be sound files for every technique, so I have getting my finger placement just right and practising these. The ones around fret one are very haphazard and I can't imagine having to produce them under pressure.
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