Fast and clean arpeggio

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Desperado
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Desperado » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:00 pm

I still don't understand. that is not good practice. I think there's something missing - can't quite put my finger on it - it's definitely got something to do with being a "guitarist"
:D :casque:

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:15 pm

Desperado wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:00 pm
I still don't understand...
Which is what? I honestly don't understand you point.
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Crofty
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:59 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:38 pm
Way too many over-thought processes on this thread...


Indeed. Sometimes natural, simple solutions seem to work fine, without the need for any complications.

Terpfan
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Terpfan » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:30 pm

So Crofty, what is your advice to nattyCT?? Just practice until you get it naturally?? What is a point of a teacher if everything comes naturally??

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:42 pm

terpfan

Apologies: I was actually referring to ways the thread has diverged but will go back to see what the original question was.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:55 pm

terpfan

Okay, two things: One, I agree with an earlier poster who advised that advice about something so specific, without actually seeing and hearing someone play, is all but pointless. At best it's theoretical. So, without a video I can't comment helpfully.

Secondly I am not a fan of complicated rh planting or extending methods, as you advised. I tend to allow individual fingers to relax after each stroke, as stopping them from doing so, when they quite naturally WANT to do so, seems perverse. All my pupils, over many years, have been taught in this way without encountering problems.

However, I know some people think it's a good idea and I have no interest in persuading anybody otherwise or getting into a debate about it. Basically I was just agreeing with Adrian's comment - nothing more.

Cheers,

Paul

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guitarrista
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by guitarrista » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:31 am

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm
Lot to discuss - so I'm going edit while I go. Getting rid of the excess quotes.
guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:37 pm
Yes, however in the first case you still have to keep firing the flexor muscle (which is the case I was referring to); in the latter you, in addition, are also firing other muscles that do not even participate in the motion/action. However, my point is that even in the first case, i.e. even without adding even more tension from tensing unrelated muscles (as beginners frequently do), one still has to keep firing the flexor digitorum muscles. Are we on the same page on this or is there a misunderstanding of what each is referring to?
In all honestly, I'm confused with what you are trying to say. My point is 2 fold. The first is before we even discuss the concept of sequencing the fingers, the player must first learn to release the fingers out of the hand and also hold the fingers in the hand with as little tension (which I'll refer to as "energy" for the sake of clarity between necessary tension and dysfunctional tension). There is very little energy needed to keep the fingers in the hand, but first we must explore how much (or rather how little) we need to hold the fingers in the hand. Just like how we explore how little pressure to use in the left hand to fret a note. Second, during this exploration we have to learn how to release the fingers. This meaning learning how to deactivate the muscles holding the finger in the hand, allowing the fingers to come back out to playing position. I'm confused with the point you are making in this case.

OK, I think I got it; you are making a distinction between the force needed to push through the string during the stroke compared to the force need to hold a finger from releasing back to its natural position after a stroke. I hadn't considered that the latter would require less tension, so in that I understand your point. What I don't quite get is why not just strive to release naturally as soon as the stroke is done - the way the fingers of professional pianists are shown to work: impulse forces applied at the right time for the briefest of moments, and off as soon as the string (in the guitarists case) is released.

The MA interdependence argument applies to both flexion and extension. If we accept that we have to group because of it, it means striving to group both on flexion, and on extension. But that is not what is advocated here, instead it is a grouping only on extension. So if it possible to flex A and M independently enough to produce proper tone from each despite partial AM dependency, this makes me think that the grouping on extension is not necessarily needed either - at least not because of MA interdependence. Below you touch on follow-through and I explain how I see it, which may also be of relevance here about the difference of opinions on the necessity for MA grouping on extension.

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:37 pm
Right; I am aware of the partial MAe dependency; though some people have physically separate tendons. All this means is that if you flex M, say, then A and e (your 'ch') may move along passively a bit, which is better than forcing them to stay extended (and vice versa). Notice there is nothing in this about ACTIVE muscle use to move the outside finger(s) along or to keep them flexed (or extended) - such as would be required in the instruction to hold MA together flexed.

Yes, M-A movement is not as independent as for I-M (in most), however the effect is not at its maximal when fingers are at their mid-range - as they typically are in a normal guitar hand posture. And we still manage to do non-grouped M-A movement where required in arpeggios. Even in the instruction above thread, only the extension is done as a MA group; the flexion is still done as individual fingers even though the argument for extension grouping as you presented it is a more general one which would apply to both flexion and extension of M and A.
I think the difference of opinion is best stated in the bolded section. A proper follow through to activate the string downward toward the guitar to achieve the best and also loudest sound is allowing the fingers to follow through into the hand past the point of mid-range. When we play we do not stay in the mid-range position, we start there. Dealing with how to ultimately minimize this motion is a whole different topic which I'm glad to elaborate on, but for the sake of keeping this reply on topic I won't here. Because the M or A finger will pluck and go past mid-range of motion into the hand, we need to group the fingers properly and also allow for sympathetic motion to aid in bringing the fingers to the string.

OK. Here what I would disagree with is how much follow-through (deviation from mid-range) one really needs to have after string release. Finger motion after the moment the string is released from the finger does not contribute to the sound itself. At that moment of release, we are still pretty comfortably within mid-range so the potential MA interdependence effect is minimized. Maybe for beginners it is proper to teach them a large follow-through into the palm, but there is no reason to insist on that in advanced guitarists. The motion after release is, as far as I am concerned, brief and passive (no active force as the impulse is over) and after it the extensor muscle starts resetting the fingertip back for another stroke. However IF there was a large follow-through, the MA grouping argument would make more sense - except for BOTH flexion and extension, not just for flexion alone.

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:37 pm
Separately - I've seen this mentioned before - avoiding "double muscle action (flexing and extending at the same time)" - and it makes sense when applied to the SAME finger. However here you seem to be using it more generally to apply to different fingers. If so, I don't understand the argument. Flexion and extension involve different muscles as well as different fingers (one finger extend, the other flexes) - where is the overlap or counter-productive function?
How do you alternate your I and M fingers? One finger plays (comes in) the other extends (goes out). This happens simultaneously, no? The process is exactly the same with an arpeggio but again grouping MA due to their linked tendons which limit their independence.
Yes of course this is how I do I-M at speed, but I thought you were implying that one should avoid simultaneous flexion of one finger with extension of another. I was asking why should we avoid that. Here's what you said previously that made me think this:
Going between I and MAch you aren't using any double muscle action (flexing and extending at the same time). This is the reason why it's so hard to alternate between M and A.
And then I asked in essence, what is wrong with flexing and extending at the same time when it is two different muscles and two different fingers (provided it is away from extremes of range).

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:37 pm
Yes, but so many instructors (especially on video) just skip over that. I guess I am advocating for being extremely clear about the context and all relevant assumptions of a particular instruction, to minimize misinterpretation (and its consequences) by the student.
I agree. There's an assumption that everyone's developing their arpeggios for fast usage. If I'm playing a slow arpeggio my hand will be more relaxed by me releasing the fingers individually. But the difference is that I have the time for that to happen with each finger. It takes more time to individually pluck and release each finger than it does to group the fingers for releasing out of the hand, thus why we do this type of sequence for FAST playing.
In my experience all this seems to be pushed into the subconscious at super-fast speeds - so I am not consciously pluck-and-releasing individual fingers but it might be happening, though to an outsider it probably looks like straight alternation or arpeggio; however I don't feel tension which tells me that it's working itself out. I propose that this is the outcome of a slow practice with impulse-force for each finger (what others have unfortunately named "ballistic"). It is possible there are multiple ways to achieve a similar outcome, though.

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm
Here I think again, we are misunderstanding each other. I'm not advocating for M and A to PLACE together, but rather to only release out of the hand together. Their motions to prepare on the string and pluck are separate movements. The only linkage they share are to 1) release out of the hand together so they are ready to be used and 2) sympathetic motion to bring the fingers to the string (IE M plays, A finger sympathetically moves to the string and prepares to pluck OR A plays, and M sympathetically moves to the string and prepares to pluck) Obviously the plucking motions are independent from each other.
Yes, my bad, I totally confused another of your responses (to Desperado, where you did mention full vs. sequential planting) for this one :-)
Konstantin
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:39 am

guitarrista wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:31 am
OK, I think I got it; you are making a distinction between the force needed to push through the string during the stroke compared to the force need to hold a finger from releasing back to its natural position after a stroke. I hadn't considered that the latter would require less tension, so in that I understand your point. What I don't quite get is why not just strive to release naturally as soon as the stroke is done - the way the fingers of professional pianists are shown to work: impulse forces applied at the right time for the briefest of moments, and off as soon as the string (in the guitarists case) is released.

The MA interdependence argument applies to both flexion and extension. If we accept that we have to group because of it, it means striving to group both on flexion, and on extension. But that is not what is advocated here, instead it is a grouping only on extension. So if it possible to flex A and M independently enough to produce proper tone from each despite partial AM dependency, this makes me think that the grouping on extension is not necessarily needed either - at least not because of MA interdependence. Below you touch on follow-through and I explain how I see it, which may also be of relevance here about the difference of opinions on the necessity for MA grouping on extension.
I think the difference of opinion is best stated in the bolded section. A proper follow through to activate the string downward toward the guitar to achieve the best and also loudest sound is allowing the fingers to follow through into the hand past the point of mid-range. When we play we do not stay in the mid-range position, we start there. Dealing with how to ultimately minimize this motion is a whole different topic which I'm glad to elaborate on, but for the sake of keeping this reply on topic I won't here. Because the M or A finger will pluck and go past mid-range of motion into the hand, we need to group the fingers properly and also allow for sympathetic motion to aid in bringing the fingers to the string.
The key to the disagreement here is playing within midrange motion. To don't agree with that concept, and in fact mid-range doesn't factor into what I work on from a technique perspective. The follow through is directly related to how much volume you produce from the guitar. Think of it like a pitcher's follow through when they throw the ball. In this case the ball is the sound. Obviously as faster playing is required the movement needs to be smaller, however I do not artificially create this movement. Rather the hand learns this movement through the necessity of playing faster. Thus it naturally becomes minimized as speed is increased without tightening up the hand.
OK. Here what I would disagree with is how much follow-through (deviation from mid-range) one really needs to have after string release. Finger motion after the moment the string is released from the finger does not contribute to the sound itself. At that moment of release, we are still pretty comfortably within mid-range so the potential MA interdependence effect is minimized. Maybe for beginners it is proper to teach them a large follow-through into the palm, but there is no reason to insist on that in advanced guitarists. The motion after release is, as far as I am concerned, brief and passive (no active force as the impulse is over) and after it the extensor muscle starts resetting the fingertip back for another stroke. However IF there was a large follow-through, the MA grouping argument would make more sense - except for BOTH flexion and extension, not just for flexion alone.
Finger movement relates directly to how much volume and quality of sound. As a player advances - especially developing speed and the ability of creating more volume - they learn to minimize this, but I never start from the idea of small movements.

As for MA grouping, since both fingers are attached to the same tendon/muscle you absolutely have both flexion and extension when using the two fingers in opposing motion. Again, in slow passages which allow for time between notes one can release individually each finger. At fast speeds, grouping allows to have both fingers ready while remaining to release the necessary tension.
In my experience all this seems to be pushed into the subconscious at super-fast speeds - so I am not consciously pluck-and-releasing individual fingers but it might be happening, though to an outsider it probably looks like straight alternation or arpeggio; however I don't feel tension which tells me that it's working itself out. I propose that this is the outcome of a slow practice with impulse-force for each finger (what others have unfortunately named "ballistic"). It is possible there are multiple ways to achieve a similar outcome, though.
The idea of sequencing is that it takes the motion which happens naturally at a fast speed, and instead of just "letting it happen" you train it to happen in your hand. So when you are practicing sequencing you are developing the proper control over the sequence as well as the release of tension and control over the finger movements. At a slow speed its exaggerated, but when we practice a fast passage slow - we don't practice slow motions but rather the motions of the fast playing - slowly. If I were to play a slow arpeggio I'd play it with individual finger releases because in performance holding the fingers and sequencing feels "wrong" (IE too much tension). However, at the fast speed there isn't time for the tension to build up, especially if you have trained yourself to release it within the sequence itself.
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by guitarrista » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:25 am

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:39 am
The follow through is directly related to how much volume you produce from the guitar.
Not directly - only indirectly related - in that, especially for beginners, thinking about a large follow-through makes them apply a larger force when it actually matters - when they are displacing the string. So this functions as a cue to trick the mind into pushing the string harder while in contact, at a stage of skill development when it is not possible to produce (and to teach?) an impulse force applied only during actual string contact and immediately switching it off after string release.

With increased proprioception, attention to detail, and skill development, that type of cue is not necessary; the follow-through is now just passive and its amplitude is decoupled from the volume of the sound produced. At fast speeds that follow-through is also cut shorter - without loss of volume - because the extensor muscles are activated sooner, accelerating the fingertip in the opposite direction.
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:26 am

Re all the above, my own playing and teaching philosophy on the rh is that once a finger has released the string one simply allows it it's natural impulse to spring back, immediately, to it's default position. I've never felt or seen any reason to arbitrarily interrupt that process.

Rather than thinking of it as someone releasing a ball I prefer to think in terms of an archer releasing a string. In that case the arrow is released whilst in our case the sound is released.

I must say that the simplicity of it has always appealed to me....
Last edited by Crofty on Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:53 am

as a ps to the above, I have always thought that the problems many students perceive, with tremolo on the inner strings, has its root cause in too long a follow through with the rh fingers. I'm not saying that makes it impossible [one sees/hears many fine players doing exactly that] but it certainly creates an extra difficulty.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Julian Ward » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 pm

Crofty wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:26 am
Re all the above, my own playing and teaching philosophy on the rh is that once a finger has released the string one simply allows it it's natural impulse to spring back, immediately, to it's default position. I've never felt or seen any reason to arbitrarily interrupt that process.

Rather than thing of it as someone releasing a ball I prefer to think in terms of an archer releasing a string. In that case the arrow is released whilst in our case the sound is released.

I must say that the simplicity of it has always appealed to me....
Totally agree. I have been teaching for over twenty years and I have never seen or heard such over complicated explanations (in this thread) as to what is occuring very much naturally. The fact is young players often have a weaker tone and not such ideal finger movement. As the player progresses all of these skills gradually improve. The problem with adults learning is they very often over think everything and want scientific explanations as to what is occuring.
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by guit-box » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:31 pm

nattyCT wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:53 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm studying the song below.



At 4:00 mark, arpeggio part starts and she keeps it mostly at 140 bpm. I can play it as clean as I can up to 100 bpm and I can bump it up to almost 110 bmp by being very unclean and I've been practicing it for a week and a half. Beyond 110 bpm, my right hand cannot keep up with the tempo. 140bpm looks impossible for me with the rate I'm improving. I don't know whats wrong with me, long nails or technique or lack of practice. Can anyone guide me how to reach that rate with arpeggio?

Update: Shortened nails, having worse tones but it actually helps me to play faster. Have practiced on open string for 2-3 hours, got up to 140 bpm fine in terms of speed. However, there should be heavy training towards having a good tone and timing between strikes. My guess is left and right hand coordination is limiting my right hand tempo. Step by step I will hopefully be there. Also another problem is warming up, it takes very long for me because of my stiff forearm muscles from heavy lifting and snowboarding.
Has NattyCT even replied to any of this? This seems all to common on this forum, someone leaves a question and then never returns for any follow-up. Without a video with closeups of NattyCT's right hand, there's no way to know what's going on.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:59 pm

Crofty wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:26 am
Rather than thing of it as someone releasing a ball I prefer to think in terms of an archer releasing a string. In that case the arrow is released whilst in our case the sound is released.
The two examples don't describe the same thing. One is talking about the relationship between volume and movement, the other is about the return of a finger. Two wonderful descriptions, both of which I use regularly in my teaching (obviously the 1st one because I mentioned it) - but they work on two completely separate points.
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Lawler » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 pm
...over complicated explanations (in this thread) as to what is occuring very much naturally...
Yep.

Side note - the OP has only been studying for 5 months. This isn't repertoire suitable for first year study.

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