Right hand technique: a new perspective

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Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:10 pm

It may not be perfect, but this is a miracle. I could not play at ALL for many years.

Just a few minutes ago:

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:45 pm

Crofty wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:16 am
Hi Scott,

Good luck with what you are trying to do. My responses were really aimed at anyone who might be tempted to follow the path you are describing.

Of course, only you knows your own situation so if you feel what you are doing is working for you then that is great.

Paul
Thank you so much!

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:47 pm

Christopher Langley wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:56 pm
How did/are you going about getting over the dystonia Ortega? Very intrigued.
We'll that's a very long story, and clearly I have not fully overcome, as it's far from perfect.

Again however....considering that I could not play beyond a single note, the progress at present is very encouraging!

I'll explain what I did in future posts...thanks for the encouragement!

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Christopher Langley
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Christopher Langley » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:53 pm

I will subscribe and keep tuned in.

Your progress, dedication and perseverance are all very admirable!
My name is mud.

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:46 pm

When the following law is applied and combined the axioms expressed in attached clip, as well as my long post from yesterday, dystonia all but disappears:

Must return each finger to state of total paralysis; "wet noodle" status, prior to proceeding on to the next right hand event, regardless of tempo.

In fact, this law and the consistent application of it determines whether the result will be adept, serene and secure or whether it will be total mayhem.

I've found that slowing down and applying all of the axioms expressed below, plus taking extra time between each right hand event to consciously build in this "state of paralysis" within each plucking finger *[prior to proceeding on to the next right hand event, without fail]* acts as something of a complete "reboot" of the entire right hand system.

What was infuriating chaos just a few moments prior is now an elegant and secure, relaxed and reliable mechanism that does exactly what it should. A beautiful feeling, indeed.

Impresario
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Impresario » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:45 pm

The title of this thread is very misleading since it is not a new perspective on right hand technique, not by any stretch of the imagination.
It might be a new perspective on curing focal dystonia.
So I suggest you change the title accordingly.

Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:51 pm

Impresario:

I'm slightly more troubled by the fact that Scott may be conflating two very different criteria when posting about his experiences.

Essentially, and as you say, this thread purports to be an explanation of a very personal journey to both re-evaluate and re-think his own technique. But words, like "axioms" and "laws" also seem to suggest that Scott may feel his ideas have universal benefits.

This could be a misunderstanding on my part of course - it's not always easy to be fully clear when reading the thoughts of others.

Paul

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:21 pm

Impresario wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:45 pm
The title of this thread is very misleading since it is not a new perspective on right hand technique, not by any stretch of the imagination.
It might be a new perspective on curing focal dystonia.
So I suggest you change the title accordingly.
It's fine with me if the moderators want to change the title.

Edit: Whether the title is changed or the thread is completely erased...it really doesn't matter.

These eternal truths that I have discovered, which are the only way in which the human right hand can achieve true virtuosity on the classical guitar, shall stand forever.

Yes, they are universal for all human beings who attempt to play this instrument .

William Kanengiser, Maestro Pepe Romero and numerous others have stated that my discovery is 100% correct and that in fact it is a new perspective. William has told me personally that my discovery is correct and that he believes that "it shall be a great contribution to our instrument".

It was commonly taught for many decades that the main knuckle joint is actively contracted during the pluck, and often teachers taught that the main thrust comes from the largest joint. Others taught (and still teach) that all 3 joints work together *actively, as opposed to passively* during the pluck. Others have taught that the main joined brings the finger to the string and the middle joint activates causing the pluck.

Still others have taught, and still teach that all 3 joints move in the same direction at the same time.

All of that is completely false and does not represent in any way the manner in which true virtuosos actually use their right hand, regardless of how they may express it or teach it.

Upon hearing of my discovery, maestro Pepe Romero said and I quote: "yes this is how the right hand fingers should move".
Last edited by Ortega on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:22 pm

New information, expressed here, makes the discovery functional:

36 years playing flat wrong inhibits ability to perfectly demonatrate.

Please do not miss the point. I'm well aware that I am not John Williams. I am posting this because I am allowing myself to be used as the "poster child" ("poster older guy"?) for dystonia recovery.

To be honest I'm rethinking the term "dystonia".

I prefer the term "pedagogically induced musician's focal dystonia". Our malady is simply an engrained wrong technique.

Less than one year ago, I could not play beyond one note. I'm sure that you can all hear that, as imperfect as this is, I am absolutely on the verge.

Waiting for my family, I pulled the guitar out in the back of the car again.

Observance of these axioms, including the brand new observation that I present here, will help all of us, especially my many professional friends who have had issues with the right hand:
Last edited by Ortega on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:24 pm

Impresario wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:45 pm
The title of this thread is very misleading since it is not a new perspective on right hand technique, not by any stretch of the imagination.
It might be a new perspective on curing focal dystonia.
So I suggest you change the title accordingly.
Hello Impresario, You seem like a nice person. I'm hoping that we can be friends!

Scott

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pogmoor
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by pogmoor » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:32 pm

Impresario wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:45 pm
The title of this thread is very misleading since it is not a new perspective on right hand technique, not by any stretch of the imagination.
It might be a new perspective on curing focal dystonia.
So I suggest you change the title accordingly.
The thread has now extended to three pages; it would be a considerable labour to change the title at this stage. In any case the title does seem to reflect the OP's views. The reader will notice that these views differ from current teaching on right hand technique; if I understand him correctly he regards the habits deriving from conventional teaching as a factor in the development of dystonia.

There is a lot of advice available on right hand technique - including a number of threads on this forum such as: Review: T. Viloteau Right Hand Technique Videos Tonebase, Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?, Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique as well as the long-running thread on Tremolo. It's understandable that this topic attracts a good deal of debate and, as in all cases where views diverge, the reader needs to exercise caution.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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KevinCollins
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by KevinCollins » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:52 pm

I had a similar experience, I had to drop my entire repertoire and relearn my right hand starting with the simplest stroke, took two years. The reason I did it was, well, things had changed in the fifteen years before. And I wasn't connecting with my music or my audiences, so I was desperate. My teacher knew what to do, so I followed his advices. A lot of what you say rings a bell, so to speak, so let me try to add some information that helped me.

First, let me say, I read something about "surgery" and that implies that you had physical therapy. It is important to say that not everyone needs physical therapy. Aaron Shearer's book, written after his tendonitis, was his physical therapy and lots of people believed that that was the way to play. But they did not need physical therapy. My students sit across from me, sometimes for years, and they don't think about it, it's just the way to play, effortlessly and with an articulated sound. For you, I can see you reached the point where you are desperate (maybe like me) and excited about your progress (like me). That's great, thank you for sharing your knowledge, hope and experience. Be careful, though, not to think that everyone needs physical therapy. And, unless you've worked with a neurologist, I would be careful about throwing the word "dystonia" around, it is very serious.

That being said, Charles Duncan, in 1982, first introduced "awareness of the release of tension" as the basis of classical guitar technique. My teacher, in the intro to the first edition of his book, mentioned it, but subsequent editions (that changed according to the needs of the students who were coming to him, which constantly evolves) went straight to the technique, so the reference may be hard to find. He publishes the text from his books, The Art & Technique of Guitar by Richard Provost, free online, and you are welcome to read them, and there are people on the forum who can help you understand. If you talk to the top players, like Barruecco and Tennant, they will tell you they play like this, read his books, and constantly ask him if he has any new ideas.

Scroll down the page to Downloads, Scale & Arpeggio ->
https://richardprovostguitar.com/

Let's start with what you posted. Tremolo is actually in book three, considered advanced. There are two sounds in the tremolo, the place sound (on a) and the sequencing sound (on m-i). From what I can hear, you are observing both of these. The unevenness will go away, don't worry about it. Also, sitting in the backseat of your car may be affecting how your hand falls on the guitar, I hope you don't play there all the time :-) In the tremolo, the fingers play in a natural sequence. The fingers come out and a goes the string. a plays, drawing m to the string. m plays, joining a in the hand, drawing i to the string, and i plays, joining m and a in the hand, and p goes to the string. Then it starts again, p plays and a, m, i come out together and a goes to the string. I didn't make it up, they just work this way, if you let them. That's why it's called "sequencing", with the minimum number of steps.

In my playing, I try not to "do" anything. Instead, I find it in the music. You seem to have discovered the "release" of tension, I would suggest that the next step is to decide where to put it. There are four parts to the stroke: 1) release (the end is the beginning), 2) go to the string, 3) push across (don't pull) and 4) snap/'follow through'. And by 'follow through', I don't mean to imply that you keep swinging, just let the finger stop by itself.

The confusion comes from trying to do two things at once: as once finger plays, the other releases. The exchange occurs between i & m and there is a constraint in the hand that makes them want to work together. Trying to force the exchange has been known to lead to injury, I had a student who had RSI from keyboarding and he just about crippled himself because he was forcing the exchange. On the other hand, a good reason to learn the release and exchange is to avoid injury, but he insisted he knew what he was doing. That is why it is called "awareness" of the release of tension, he was not aware. Oh, well.

So you get the release, the "noodle". Okay, the next part of the stroke, go to the string, is pretty natural. The finger swings from the main knuckle. The entire finger action is from the top knuckle. Keep it as simple as possible. On the next part, the finger will push but the tip joint resists, until the tip joint releases and snaps. This is literally like snapping your finger. Push, release the tip joint, snap.

So, where in this does the exchange occur? As I said before, I like to find it in the music. Now were are going to talk about something that hardly ever comes up in the guitar, articulation. Other instruments have volumes of articulation studies but I can't name one for guitar. Articulation is controlling the duration, the ending point of the note. When you play your beautifully sequenced tremolo arpeggio, each note is shortened by the stroke that follows. But the tremolo doesn't have an exchange, unless you count p to a, but you can't really hear it. Exchange is a scale sound, sometimes occurs in complex arpeggios, mainly between i & m.

I tend to put the release on the "go to the string" step, the articulation or muting of the previous note. If you are crossing strings, the sound is not apparent but on one string it is obvious. It is a beautiful day out and at this point I'm going to take a break. Here's is an exercise I give my students, play the rests by releasing (one finger) and going to the string (other finger) at the same time. As you have discovered, it is the release finger that needs all your attention to get this to work. More later, thanks for the topic.

Even exchange of i & m, simple articulation
i & m exchange.jpg
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Simple does not mean easy, someone said.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Jack Douglas » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:42 pm

Thanks for an excellent post Kevin! I appreciate your rigorous and disciplined investigation of the subject. Such an approach leads to defensible data whereas the aha moment is more of an individual moment self discovery. Having others agree that the described right hand technique is in fact the right way implies that it was certainly known and utilized by others prior to the aha moment.
I’m an enthusiastic hobbyist player, but recognized years ago that a relaxed hand was key to my having a better tone and staying injury free. I try to always play with a feather light touch keeping my right hand very relaxed.
I appreciate that you wrote in such detail a very informative description of the right hand technique. One point you made regarding what to do with the release got my attention; ie going back to the noodle. I assume that means when one finger is crossing the string the other is relaxed and going away from the string.
Again, thank you.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

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KevinCollins
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by KevinCollins » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:17 pm

Jack Douglas wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:42 pm
One point you made regarding what to do with the release got my attention; ie going back to the noodle. I assume that means when one finger is crossing the string the other is relaxed and going away from the string.
There is the release and there is the exchange, Jack. The release is part of the exchange. The exchange is tricky because, simultaneously, I snap with the other finger (i.e. release the tip joint). I don't "relax", I release the tension. The muscles that close the hand are four times stronger than the ones that open it, so, if there is any tension left you risk injury. But we're talking practicing many hours a day for many years, so someone who plays a couple hours a day can get away with a lot, up to a point.

So the release is something I would "overlearn", until it is automatic. We call this replacing an instinctual behavior with a learned behavior. It is known in Alexander Technique, the stress reaction. Under stress, the fingers exhibit a "clawing" action. Learning is, by definition, stressful, so it creeps in from the start.

Because the brain wants to "do something", it doesn't want to "not do" anything. So, to convince yourself to simply push across the string by letting the tip joint collapse, and then stop, is difficult to explain and to teach, especially to someone who has been playing for a while. And then, simultaneously, release the other finger? Hopefully, if you are my student, you've seen me play that way and you just do it.

It sounds like you enjoy what you are doing now, so I wouldn't worry about it. And, believe me, relearning the finger action was crushing. When I did it, I couldn't play any of my old music. And the one piece I did want to bring back was a totally crushing experience. Crushing.

As far as sound goes, I also have to play loud in the concert hall, so I can't afford to play with a light touch. When I play with a microphone, sure, I play with "a microphone sound", that's easier, I can do to two 2-hour concerts back-to-back with a mic. And when I'm learning new material, I start light, while I'm learning the piece. But the goal is always to push the sound, play with weight. What you do is fine, it seems to be working for you.

For Ortega, here, he hit the wall. And pulled himself up, again. Bravo to him, bravo! Still a ways to go, but the first step is always the hardest. Bravo.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:35 am

Kevin,
Thanks very much for your response. Like the picture of fingers walking across the yellow pages? When I use my ‘i’ finger to play my ‘m’ finger snaps out relaxed and ready to play the next note. I’m hoping this is what you mean.
I’m lucky to have a guitar that is easy with which to get good volume, but like your microphone description.
Thanks again. I’ll look up your WEB site.
Jack
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

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