Fast and clean arpeggio

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

Post by Nikos_Greek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:45 pm

I think Lawler makes an important point. I have a question to the teachers, fellow members here: How many minutes arpeggio practice every day do you recommend to your students? As to the discussion in this thread, it is almost impossible to discuss such matters in this way, by means od successive posts, without the chance to demonstrate what ones means with videos, terminology also tend to be confusing and misleading. Thanks.

Crofty
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:45 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
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.
mmm......I much prefer the bow and arrow analogy.

In the case case of throwing or booting something, all the energy is towards the object [usually a ball] going in the same direction as the arm or leg. The follow through is not only natural it is essential. Golf uses it of course, and especially so the further the player wants the ball to go.

With a guitar string or a bow string the job of the fingers is the opposite: pull, yes, but then *release*. I encouraged pupils to sense the string building up tension and then letting it go - precisely like an archer. That way one also actively encourages the natural return of the finger to it's previous mid-range position. The further into the palm you encourage the finger to go the less efficient that return is.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:58 pm

Lawler wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Side note - the OP has only been studying for 5 months. This isn't repertoire suitable for first year study.
I previously taught the whole range of woodwind instruments as well as working alongside many other teachers of a wide range of other instruments.

In every single case the material which the student worked on was directly linked to the number of notes they had learned. So, as an obvious example, a beginner oboist working on g, a and b would only play music limited to those three notes.

The problem for many guitar players is twofold: one, they are attracted by repertoire. This means they buy a guitar and the sheet music of Lagrima or Recuerdos on the same day.

Secondly, the guitar has no agreed starting point and, also unlike other instruments, no greater difficulty between playing any open string and another, or any fretted note and another. Going back to the woodwind family for comparison, the upper and lower registers are notoriously difficult to master.

Because of these two issues many guitarists spend their time working on repertoire that they are ill prepared for, both technically and musically.

I haven't really observed any change in this situation in nearly 60 years as a guitarist - of which nearly 50 have involved studying, playing and teaching classical.

Paul

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guitarist_le
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by guitarist_le » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:04 am

I really hope this link works to.my instagram, but this os how I practice up apreggios. Not planting too hard in this take.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqGyS-cAOvw ... vh1g3nsrc7

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Lawler
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Lawler » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:03 am

Crofty wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:58 pm
I previously taught the whole range of woodwind instruments as well as working alongside many other teachers of a wide range of other instruments.
In the years I managed a community music school, the most effective teaching I saw was with woodwind and brass instruments. The guitar world has a lot to learn, generally, about how to teach.
...many guitarists spend their time working on repertoire that they are ill prepared for, both technically and musically.
Sad but true.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Julian Ward » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:19 am

I would go along with that. I have taught guitar in schools for years and I would say on the whole it is taught terribly.

Many on here have poo pooed my thoughts before about teaching through classical grades but it is what I do and there is no doubt that it is a hell of a lot easier and in my opinion, much better to do so. You learn everything you need to, and should do in order to become a good player and musician.

Many teachers of the guitar turn up to schools with youngsters and think they should teach Smoke on The Water and TAB. This mentality passes down the line and before you know it there are masses of terrible guitarists that can't play anything past the intro of any "song".

Massive generalisations there, of course, (!) But learn through the grade system and all your required technique is there, in the right stages.
Classical guitar teacher

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:25 am

Crofty wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:45 pm

mmm......I much prefer the bow and arrow analogy.

In the case case of throwing or booting something, all the energy is towards the object [usually a ball] going in the same direction as the arm or leg. The follow through is not only natural it is essential. Golf uses it of course, and especially so the further the player wants the ball to go.
Right, except you are missing my point of volume. The energy of pushing the string needs to be displaced naturally. Artificially imposing small "efficient" motion only increases the amount of tension inside of the hand. It also attributes to a "tighter" sound, which some would describe at bright.
With a guitar string or a bow string the job of the fingers is the opposite: pull, yes, but then *release*. I encouraged pupils to sense the string building up tension and then letting it go - precisely like an archer. That way one also actively encourages the natural return of the finger to it's previous mid-range position. The further into the palm you encourage the finger to go the less efficient that return is.
The return (which I call release) of the finger happens by the muscle which engaged the initial movement into the hand turns "off". Thus letting the finger fall out of the hand. This is the most effective way to release the finger and it is quite efficient. The hand position of a classical guitarist allows gravity to assist in the finger coming out of the hand. At this point we are getting into the difference of introducing the skill verse developing/refining the skill (and far off what the OP has asked). Initial teaching of follow through the student has to feel the sensation of what it feels like for the finger to move into the hand. As I'm sure you are aware of, we do this often times with over-expressing the motion. This is done so the student can actually feel the energy of the finger in the hand. When they can feel that, they can learn to release said energy which allows the finger to release from the hand. You cannot release tension if you don't feel it. From there the continuation of refining the skill includes learning how to push into the string and release the string. There's a follow through involved in this, and as the student develops speed the hand will adjust to the necessity of smaller movements. The difference is that this is not an artificially implemented concept, but rather one that develops organically as the student develops their skill and acquires faster speeds.

Now to the idea of sequencing - you may disagree, which is your right to do so, BUT when you watch player playing at fast speeds preparing fingers in an arpeggio individually (no full plant), the fingers release in a sequence. There are two types of sequences, one a bit simpler than the other. Both are effective, and both can be useful depending on the arpeggio pattern you are playing. Finally these sequences are personal. Going with something more aligned to your individual release idea is the sequence which groups the hand into 3 groups: P, I and MAch. M and A cannot effectively alternate at high speeds, it's a physical limitation. Now with that said there's individual differences obviously, but almost everyone will find it difficult to extend the middle finger while the ring finger is the hand, and vise verse. You may be able to do it, but it takes a lot of effort. And isn't the point to effortlessly play?

So the solution is to learn to release MAch together so they are back at their starting position (you refer to it as mid-range position). From that point the fingers can approach the strings individually and play. But coming out of the hand (NOTE - when playing FAST) it is 1) more efficient and 2) less stressful on the hand to release the fingers together as a unit rather than individually. Since M and A are connected via a tendon, that tendon is attached to a muscle. If you are extending M while simultaneously retracting A, that grouping is using 2 different muscular movements. Which is a similar issue to the ideas of bicycling in a single finger (where the top knuckle moves upwards and the mid knuckle moves in toward the hand).

You don't have to agree with me, however I've spend decades not only studying these concepts for myself in my own playing, but also speaking with doctors and physical therapists who understand the make-up of the hand, all of whom agree with me and acknowledge the logic behind how I conceive of the right hand movement. Maybe it's "too much to think about for you", but I've found that just like music theory, a Bb is always a Bb - so you might as well know what to call it.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:31 am

Nikos_Greek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:45 pm
I have a question to the teachers, fellow members here: How many minutes arpeggio practice every day do you recommend to your students?
Nikos, generally I tell my students to devote half their practice time to technique. If a student is practicing for 30 minutes, that means 15 is working on technique. The student may have several things they are working on technique wise. From there, we go through and make a list of all their exercises they are working on and find a suitable schedule that allows them to cover everything. Ultimately this is a several day schedule which rotates so that by the end of the week the student has done everything 2 or 3 times. Obviously the more they practice, the more time the student has for their technique practice.

As a professional, I devote about 2 hours to technique practice (Scales, Arpeggios, Slurs, Over 12th fret exercises), 30 minutes on an "etude", from there I have 60 minutes of excerpts from the repertoire I am working on and I try and do 90-120 minutes of repertoire practice, depending on what I "have" to practice. This year, I've really decided to reinvest my time into my technique practice.

I don't expect my students to do this much practice, but the proportions tend to stay the same, just the amount of time is different.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

Nikos_Greek
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nikos_Greek » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:28 am

Thanks Nick! My practicing routine looks similar. 1 hour technique (arpeggios, scales, slurs ascending and descending, rasgueados, vertical exercises (LH finger independence), stretches, and I hour etudes and pieces. I have 3 or 4 of them which I rotate every 2 days and every now and then I revisit old repertoire.

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:13 pm

Nikos - looks like a good practice program! It's so important to maintain a practice regimen for technique. I'm currently restructuring mine so I can have at least 2 hours of technique. I've been including more technical areas as over the years I've found issues with things that I don't do normally in repertoire (like playing over the 12th fret, which I rarely do).
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Crofty
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:40 pm

NICK C

You wrote to me:

"Maybe it's "too much to think about for you".

I have no idea how you justify those quote marks as that is neither what I have written or implied. It sounds rather arrogant to me but perhaps you didn't intend it to be read that way.

Perhaps I should repeat my point: my own third finger springs back as soon as I use it and in the same way as the others. It always has done and I see no reason to discourage it from continuing to do so.

With regard to arpeggios, and keeping the rh fingers at p, i, m and a there are 24 four note variants, six for each one you start with.

It seems incontrovertible to me that, if one experiences no problems at all in fingers returning to their default position *as soon as they have plucked a string", there is very little point in making them do so, given that number of possibilities - and I am also absolutely certain that my own experience is not unique.

I discussed this some time ago with a highly renowned surgeon who specialises in fingers, and his opinion was that this is not unusual, either for guitarists or with musicians in general.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Larry McDonald » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:57 pm

Hi,
This is a fascinating discussion, and I think you are both correct. I have yet to form an opinion, but I lean toward Paul's assertions that the fingers can move interdependently to a certain degree in an advanced player.

I think that Nick (Provost?) has made a correct observation that the MA complex moves together -especially in beginners. As he correctly points out, these fingers share tendons an muscles in the forearm.

Advanced players have added the intrinsic muscles in the hand. The follow-through into the palm is discarded (re. the now famous MCP extension discovered in guit-boxes slo-mo vids). So, for advanced players, the MA tendon/muscle limitations are reduced, and the now sensitive guitarist can individually (at least partially) release the fingers back to their pre-snap midrange flexion point.

All the best,
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2018 Michael Thames "Ancient Dragon" Cd/Ir
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar and Theory Instructor

Crofty
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Crofty » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:20 pm

Cheers Larry!

Paul

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:24 pm

Crofty wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:40 pm
NICK C

You wrote to me:

"Maybe it's "too much to think about for you".
Crofty wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:15 pm
The routine outlined above - which seems to have a lot of followers - just seems bizarre to me.

I can't get past the first - and most obvious - question: why ??????????

As guitarrista implies, the fingers already have a perfectly functioning return method - literally available at hand - almost as though designed specifically for the right hand of classical guitarists in particular and musicians generally......

Making it obsessively complicated for them seems both pointless and somewhat perverse.

Paul
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the context of this statement.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Re: Fast and clean arpeggio

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:36 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:57 pm
Advanced players have added the intrinsic muscles in the hand. The follow-through into the palm is discarded (re. the now famous MCP extension discovered in guit-boxes slo-mo vids).
I think there's different situations which necessitate different aspects and ways of playing. If I'm looking for power, there needs to be an "expelling" of that power. Also sensation does not ALWAYS equal what we see. IE playing from the large knuckle. The problem is expressing how things actually work and doing so quickly, effectively and clearly.

I however do not believe the follow through into the palm is discarded. It is rather limited based upon the necessity of the situation. If we are speaking about speed - the situation necessitates smaller movements. But these smaller movements are not artificially created by thinking "small movements". Which is the trouble most players trying to limit their finger movement run into.
So, for advanced players, the MA tendon/muscle limitations are reduced, and the now sensitive guitarist can individually (at least partially) release the fingers back to their pre-snap midrange flexion point.
Speaking specifically in the context of speed, the limitations are reduced due to the smaller movement, the guitarist learning where the point of the activation of the A finger and learning how to control their playing to just before the point of A finger activation. With that said, there's still slight sympathetic motion, thus grouping MA together allows the hand to take advantage of sympathetic motion. And as you stated Lare, the individuality is only partial. Faster the speed, the less time the player has to individually do these things. Thus where this grouping comes in.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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