Right hand technique: a new perspective

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Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:46 pm

It's a bit like reading a blog by someone claiming to have found the cure for cancer - but then frequently adding more and more posts to say that they've just worked out the very last element that will, this time...... definitely make it work.

SteveL123
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by SteveL123 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:02 am

Hi Scott,

I made a loop to highlight a part of your last video (towards the end) in the event some people may not have watched the entire video. Are you serious when you said that a metronome is not necessary to develop an even tremolo ? Do you hear any un-evenness, a very pronounced gallop, in your tremolo?

https://loopvideos.com/3twBn15e9UI?from=256&to=310

I slowed down your latest tremolo so you may hear the unevenness better.


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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:03 pm

SteveL123 wrote:Are you serious when you said that a metronome is not necessary to develop an even tremolo ?
I don't want to comment on Scott's personal demons - he's committed to fighting the battle his way - so be it.

However, the premise is true - a metronome is not a requirement - in some cases it can even be counter-productive. Don't be misled just because the video doesn't demonstrate this.

Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:57 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:03 pm
a metronome is not a requirement - in some cases it can even be counter-productive. Don't be misled just because the video doesn't demonstrate this.

That sounds the same to me as saying that practice can be counter-productive, or using a sharp knife to peel a potato can be - which clearly they both could.

But they - and metronomes - still perform a very useful function when used intelligently. Are you really saying the downsides outweigh the benefits and, if so, why? **

Paul

** I am referring here specifically to using a metronome..... :)

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eno
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by eno » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:16 pm

Ortega, you right hand is jumping a lot when you play tremolo. The problem is - you right hand is too far from the board which makes your fingers and palm to be almost perpendicular to the board. The consequence of that is that you thumb (being much shorter than the rest of the fingers) is further away from the strings compared to other fingers and you need to move the hand closer to the strings when you pluck with the thumb and than move the hand further away from the strings when you pluck with the rest of the fingers. So inevitably you have to keep the hand jumping.

I mean that's fine for an amateur, you can play whichever way you like, but that's not the way professionals play with the right hand and play tremolo in particular. You will never be able to play tremolo smooth and even this way.
SteveL123 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:02 am
Are you serious when you said that a metronome is not necessary to develop an even tremolo ? Do you hear any un-evenness, a very pronounced gallop, in your tremolo?
Exactly. And metronome will not help here, it's just a wrong right hand and tremolo technique in the first place.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Takamine C136S 1976
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:52 pm

Crofty wrote:
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:a metronome is not a requirement - in some cases it can even be counter-productive. Don't be misled just because the video doesn't demonstrate this.
That sounds the same to me as saying that practice can be counter-productive, or using a sharp knife to peel a potato can be - which clearly they both could ...
What's got into you? Did they run out of jam in Cornwall?
Crofty wrote:Are you really saying the downsides outweigh the benefits and, if so, why?
If you want to produce mechanical players I can't think of anything better than training them with a machine.

Pulse is not universally regular - it should be felt by the musician/dancer as a variable and flexible measure. A metronome serves only to place a mechanically regulated division, exoterically situated, beyond the immediate consciousness of the performer. This must first be internalised and then adhered to regardless of any other factor. It is an entirely artifical construct and has nothing to do with the making of music. Though I own one, I never use it ... and don't advise my students to do so.

I won't go so far as to say that I never would suggest it but, throughout decades of instrumental tuition, I have not once come across a situation where it has been necessary.
Crofty wrote:... and metronomes - still perform a very useful function when used intelligently.
Paperweight? Doorstop? I know that they don't burn very well.

Move over Ortega, I'm coming in.

Tremeggio
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Tremeggio » Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:28 pm

A metronome is like sailing in the bay. No metronome is like ocean sailing. Sail in the bay first then sail on the ocean

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:30 am

Tremeggio wrote:A metronome is like sailing in the bay. No metronome is like ocean sailing. Sail in the bay first then sail on the ocean
Analogies like that make no sense - like "learning to walk before one can run". Any apparent correspondence, partial similarity or logical consequence is, at best, facile and incomplete.

It would be more useful if you could explain exactly what you believe the metronome achieves, perhaps then we could understand just how so many wonderful musicians managed perfectly well before its invention. Though need is said to be the mother of invention, an invention itself is no proof of need as can be illustrated by any number of useless gadgets.

Mälzel, one of the most well known manufacturers of the device, was a business opportunist, a fraudster, liar, thief and cheat. Amonst other things he was party to a number of dealings involving Klemperer's fraudulent chess playing automaton, he attempted (unsuccessfully) to steal from Beethoven who depicted him thus:

"Mälzel is a rude, churlish man, entirely devoid of education or cultivation, it is easy to conceive the tenor of his conduct ..."

In the Yearbook of Facts in Science and Art (1856) describes him:

"... quarrelsome, extravagant, and unscrupulous."

In his own words:

"if it is only said in London that people have paid ten gulden for admission here, that is all I care about; the wounded are nothing to me."

The above may be discounted as merely ad hominem argument with regard to the machine itself - accepted - I include it as this is the man who would persuade us that we actually need his product. He claimed to have invented the metronome and proceeded to market it as indispensable.

Winkel, the actual inventor, successfully sued but it was too late. Through clever marketing Mälzel's device came to be perceived as a "necessary" addition to the fashionable music salon, to such an extent that publishers felt the need to include settings in order to indulge their wealthy clients who wanted to play with their new toys.

Even Beethoven was persuaded, though we must acknowledge that he does seem to have been somewhat bipartisan. After all Mälzel had promised to manufacture and supply superior ear-trumpets for him for which he was beholden. Nevertheless, in a letter to Hofrath von Mosel he (Beethoven) comments with some enthusiasm, undertaking to support Mälzel in creating the conditions for the universal uptake of his machine.

However, where Beethoven comments on its merits it is with regard to ascertaining an overall tempo - not maintaining time. He writes:

"... what can be more irrational than the general term allegro, which only means lively; and how far we often are from comprehending the real time, so that the piece itself contradicts the designation ..."

He suggests that a starting metronome figure might give a more accurate indication. He is firm nonetheless regarding the "art" behind the composition further stating:

"... but it is quite another matter as to the words that indicate the character of the music; these we cannot consent to do away with, for while the time is, as it were, part and parcel of the piece, the words denote the spirit in which it is conceived."

Elsewhere he is reported as saying that any metronome marking he might suggest was, at best, good for the first few bars - after that the music should go its own way according to the artistry of the performer.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:18 am

The metronome argument is a personal perspective.

I have found invaluable in my learning. I didn't start off in life with an internalised sense of rhythm, but the metronome helped me to get there.

I also studied with one of the UK's top performers, and he also had metronome in his guitar case and used it regularly; for both me, and I think, for himself.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:05 am

"He suggests that a starting metronome figure might give a more accurate indication"

"Elsewhere he is reported as saying that any metronome marking he might suggest was, at best, good for the first few bars"

Mark: your quotes, above, by ole Beethoven seem to suggest two jolly good reasons for owning and using a metronome. You are obviously now becoming convinced yourself - which is nice.

Paul

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:26 pm

Crofty wrote:Mark: your quotes, above, by ole Beethoven seem to suggest two jolly good reasons for owning and using a metronome.
Two reasons? I see only one possible benefit i.e. accurately defining what he means in a particular instance when employing a flexible term such as allegro. This would assume that all metronomes are the same, that his was functioning correctly and that we fully understand his intention. His success in that endeavour by the way is not at all a given considering ongoing debate over interpretation of the quartets (amongst others), where all of those conditions have been brought into question.

What's the other one?
Crofty wrote:You are obviously now becoming convinced yourself - which is nice.
Lol. Not a chance - I'd happily argue the toss with old Ludwig. As for Mälzel, I'd be pleased to chase him up a tree and set fire to it ... along with his bloody contraption.

How's St. Ives? May as well ask here as my email is still on the blink. You can P.M. me.
Adrian Allan wrote:The metronome argument is a personal perspective.
I disagree. We can reflect on our personal experience but that doesn't change the truth (whatever it may be).
Adrian Allan wrote:I didn't start off in life with an internalised sense of rhythm ...
I believe that you did - everyone does - we see (and hear) it everywhere. Skipping games, nursery rhymes, football chants, work tasks such as sawing wood, hammering a nail ... even walking.
Adrian Allan wrote:I also studied with one of the UK's top performers, and he also had metronome in his guitar case and used it regularly; for both me, and I think, for himself.
What relevance does that have Adrian? I've met, studied and worked with many professional musicians that either did or didn't have a metronome.

I'll make a brief mention of one by name - Gary Ryan - absolutely brilliant technician. He happened to teach some of my students before they came to me; with one he made a great issue of the metronome and managing tempo in a particular work by Giuliani. We went together to hear GR performing that same piece, during which concert I made it a point to take note of the tempo throughout, and guess what?

It was all over the place, particularly the recapitulation where the subject came in at only around 3/4 the original tempo. Nothing like the general uniformity that he'd insisted on with our mutual acquaintance (and no, I'm not talking about expressive nuance, agogic stress or rubato). I'm not submitting this for criticism - simply an observation. How might the metronome have helped (or hindered) do you think?
Adrian Allan wrote:... but the metronome helped me to get there.
Well it's great that you achieved your goal, and there's absolutely no doubt that you're a decent player. I'm suggesting that, with the correct guidance, the metronome wouldn't have been necessary.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:54 pm

From the viewpoint of the metronome, different people achieve their goals in different ways.

I had very little sense of internal rhythm, the sort of thing where, even in a slow piece, there is a very definite sense of pulse behind the playing.

Now I think that my internal sense of pulse is quite good, and I know exactly what I have to improve on (scale technique; sounds basic, but sometimes you have to start over again). I achieved the sense of pulse by working with a metronome, and I still do use it sometimes. Generally speaking, it tightened up my playing.

So what works for one person may not work for another, and there are different ways of achieving the same goal.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Tremeggio
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Tremeggio » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:10 am

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:30 am
Tremeggio wrote:A metronome is like sailing in the bay. No metronome is like ocean sailing. Sail in the bay first then sail on the ocean
Analogies like that make no sense - like "learning to walk before one can run". Any apparent correspondence, partial similarity or logical consequence is, at best, facile and incomplete.

It would be more useful if you could explain exactly what you believe the metronome achieves, perhaps then we could understand just how so many wonderful musicians managed perfectly well before its invention. Though need is said to be the mother of invention, an invention itself is no proof of need as can be illustrated by any number of useless gadgets.

Mälzel, one of the most well known manufacturers of the device, was a business opportunist, a fraudster, liar, thief and cheat. Amonst other things he was party to a number of dealings involving Klemperer's fraudulent chess playing automaton, he attempted (unsuccessfully) to steal from Beethoven who depicted him thus:

"Mälzel is a rude, churlish man, entirely devoid of education or cultivation, it is easy to conceive the tenor of his conduct ..."

In the Yearbook of Facts in Science and Art (1856) describes him:

"... quarrelsome, extravagant, and unscrupulous."

In his own words:

"if it is only said in London that people have paid ten gulden for admission here, that is all I care about; the wounded are nothing to me."

The above may be discounted as merely ad hominem argument with regard to the machine itself - accepted - I include it as this is the man who would persuade us that we actually need his product. He claimed to have invented the metronome and proceeded to market it as indispensable.

Winkel, the actual inventor, successfully sued but it was too late. Through clever marketing Mälzel's device came to be perceived as a "necessary" addition to the fashionable music salon, to such an extent that publishers felt the need to include settings in order to indulge their wealthy clients who wanted to play with their new toys.

Even Beethoven was persuaded, though we must acknowledge that he does seem to have been somewhat bipartisan. After all Mälzel had promised to manufacture and supply superior ear-trumpets for him for which he was beholden. Nevertheless, in a letter to Hofrath von Mosel he (Beethoven) comments with some enthusiasm, undertaking to support Mälzel in creating the conditions for the universal uptake of his machine.

However, where Beethoven comments on its merits it is with regard to ascertaining an overall tempo - not maintaining time. He writes:

"... what can be more irrational than the general term allegro, which only means lively; and how far we often are from comprehending the real time, so that the piece itself contradicts the designation ..."

He suggests that a starting metronome figure might give a more accurate indication. He is firm nonetheless regarding the "art" behind the composition further stating:

"... but it is quite another matter as to the words that indicate the character of the music; these we cannot consent to do away with, for while the time is, as it were, part and parcel of the piece, the words denote the spirit in which it is conceived."

Elsewhere he is reported as saying that any metronome marking he might suggest was, at best, good for the first few bars - after that the music should go its own way according to the artistry of the performer.
Interesting history here about which I had no idea. If nothing else I’m glad my comment prompted you to write about it.

To be honest I don’t use a metronome much but it did help me link written rhythms with how they should sound and ingrained it.
Conversely a performance should flow - ride the waves so to speak - open ocean. Not be locked into metronomic timing.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Tom Poore » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:45 am

In my experience, amateur players who never practice with a metronome are easy to identify. (And not for good reasons.) As for playing freely, a good player can do tempo rubato with a metronome. Further, it’s hard to effectively vary the beat if you don’t know where the beat is.

Here’s what a former student of Chopin wrote:

“In keeping tempo Chopin was inflexible, and it will surprise many to learn that the metronome never left his piano. Even in his much-slandered rubato, one hand, the accompanying hand, always played in strict tempo, while the other—singing, either indecisively hesitating or entering ahead of the beat and moving more quickly with a certain impatient vehemence, as in passionate speech—freed the truth of the musical expression from all rhythmic bonds.” ——— Carl Mikuli: Chopin as Pianist and Teacher (1879)

By the way, tell an experienced chamber music or orchestral player that practicing with a metronome is a waste of time. The polite ones will suppress a smile and change the subject. The less polite ones won’t.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

prawnheed

Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by prawnheed » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:04 am

If you ever wish to play with others, practise with a metronome. Not only does it help with your own timing, but it also teaches you to listen and play in time with others.

I can see no possible negatives.

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