Reduction of follow through

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Sebastian
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Reduction of follow through

Post by Sebastian » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:31 pm

Greetings I've been trying to reduce the follow through of a finger (i-m-a) in free stroke, specially for finger alternation speed (let's say, to be able to play a fast speed burst of m-i in one string).
I would like to mantain a very strong volume but also with a minimum of movement.

Any ideas of how to achieve it?
So far I've been (and I am) trying with planting excercises. Applying pressure, then release it very quickly. Then alternating a planting with "hovering" the same finger to try to achieve the same volume as when playing with a prepared (planted) finger.

Also, how much follow through is good enough? In his artcile: https://douglasniedt.com/freestrokepluckreturn.html Douglas Niedt states that if, say, medium finger attacked the second string with free stroke, then the follow through should not reach even the third string. However I've seen many videos of fast or moderately fast passages with free stroke where the follow through is not as short as Niedt states.
Check this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zITS0xU7pQY At the end of the video, it is more visible that the follow through is bigger than the distance Niedt suggests. Even when Allen plays Etude 1 of VillaLobos his follow through is wider than Niedt's suggestion. Also checked it in Deniz Azabagic right hand speed burst tutorial, his follow through is also wider. I'm not saying anyone is wrong, just observed than Niedt's statements seem not to be universal. Thus, again the question, how much follow through?? (For instance, for alternating index and medium at a moderately fast speed with a strong volume, and with the right hand thumb anchored to the 5th string., then hand should be near the soundhole to be warmer)
Thanks.

PS: As a curiosity, you can see that Allen collapses his fingertip joints in free stroke, also occurs when he plays Etude 1 of Villalobos. Again, not saying it is wrong just a curious fact.
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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Alexander Kalil » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:24 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:31 pm
I've been trying to reduce the follow through of a finger (i-m-a) in free stroke
Not a good idea, if you ask me. The follow through is an effect not a cause. It happens naturally in consequence of a flexion impulse applied on a releaxed finger able to swing in freely; the stronger the impulse the wider the swing. Attempting to voluntarily reduce the follow through usually leads to applying a counterforce to constraint the free swing of the finger, which ultimately raises the tension level in the hand.

It's true that fingers travel less at higher speed than at lower speed. But this happens naturally because the extension impulse that returns the finger back to playing position occurs earlier (and is possibly stronger) than at lower speed, and this naturally reduces the distance travelled in plucking direction. It is a natural effect that should not be enforced artificially.

With other words, good technique is not the result of a reduced follow through. It's the other way round - a reduced follow through, in the right situation, is the result of good technique. To improve one's playing one should work on the causes, not the observable effects of good technique.

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Sebastian
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Sebastian » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:22 am

Alexander Kalil wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:24 pm
Sebastian wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:31 pm
I've been trying to reduce the follow through of a finger (i-m-a) in free stroke
Not a good idea, if you ask me. The follow through is an effect not a cause. It happens naturally in consequence of a flexion impulse applied on a releaxed finger able to swing in freely; the stronger the impulse the wider the swing. Attempting to voluntarily reduce the follow through usually leads to applying a counterforce to constraint the free swing of the finger, which ultimately raises the tension level in the hand.

It's true that fingers travel less at higher speed than at lower speed. But this happens naturally because the extension impulse that returns the finger back to playing position occurs earlier (and is possibly stronger) than at lower speed, and this naturally reduces the distance travelled in plucking direction. It is a natural effect that should not be enforced artificially.

With other words, good technique is not the result of a reduced follow through. It's the other way round - a reduced follow through, in the right situation, is the result of good technique. To improve one's playing one should work on the causes, not the observable effects of good technique.
Let's say a guitarist is playing a moderately fast or fast passage (in a scale, for example) in free stroke, forte dynamics. And you see his/her follow through is very big, almost that it touches the heel of the palm (or even touches it). I wouldn't say that's good. I remember I used to do this (I used too much knuckle joint force and almost didn't use middle joint). So I started working on that (can't remember when) and now perceive the follow through as smaller. I could reduce the follow through by voluntary movements. Releasing tension immediately after the pluck during the reset.

"Attempting to voluntarily reduce the follow through usually leads to applying a counterforce to constraint the free swing of the finger, which ultimately raises the tension level in the hand. "
-I'm don't completely agree with this one. I just see it as releasing tension fast after the pluck

"It's true that fingers travel less at higher speed than at lower speed. But this happens naturally because the extension impulse that returns the finger back to playing position occurs earlier (and is possibly stronger) than at lower speed, and this naturally reduces the distance travelled in plucking direction. It is a natural effect that should not be enforced artificially. "
-Agree, the fingers at low speed are different than in faster speeds. I see it like running vs walking: running is not walking fast, and walking is not running slow. Just different a different process.
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Luis_Br
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Luis_Br » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:00 pm

I wouldn't care about follow through, but focus on speed of play-relax/release in two ways:
1 - play and quickly relax finger towards rest position (ready for next stroke), before starting stroke with next finger.
2 - play and keep finger toward palm, then relax at the same time next finger should start the stroke (synch relax of one finger with tension/stroke of the next one).
I don't know what happens at speed, just practice both, work relaxing the most you can, the least effort, and speed of attack/release, individually as well as in synch with other fingers. Then at speed you think nothing, just play fast and let the body decide.
The fastest players/teachers I know, recommend doing the 2nd method when playing fast. But to me it seems exercise 1 helps focusing on pure relaxation, enhancing the degree of relaxation, its speed and controlling relaxing towards the "ready" position the shortest path. Then part 2 helps increasing speed through synch/coordination, which helps grouping movements to increase reflexes speed.
Christopher Berg also recommends practicing all exercises with both approaches, in his book "Classic Guitar Technique: Process & Essence"
An important part of "economy of movement" is learning to get louder and stronger sound with lighter touch, through correcty placement and speed of attack passing finger over string without "catching" it.

Terpfan
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Terpfan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:07 am

You might want to try the bicycle motion that guit-box always talk about. Everything that I was taught 20-30 years ago are being challenged( rightfully) and the level of players are really high. One thing that I noticed in younger players is use of left hand preparation is used in practically every single note being played. (ESPECIALLY THE STUDENTS OF JUDICAEL PERROY) Last generation just used preparation only on tricky parts. My consistency has been improved much beyond 20yrs ago, when I was a serious player practicing serious hours. It has been 6 months since I started to play again after 18yrs and I really think I am much better now than before. (Except for hand endurance) will post video soon .

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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:37 am

In my experience here, LH and RH preparation were always taught and a very important part of technique. It is something to use all the time. As usual, the point is how to do it, the experience and attention to detail from the teacher/player to every single movement. An important advance came with Carlevaro's thoughtful aproach on whole body and hand/arm preparation, rather than simply thinking on fingers. I think continuous movement, fingers moving in between, is also an important concept and it generates a great flow. This is something I notice a lot in Barrueco and also in Perroy and some others. I saw Perroy giving a tip for a continous LH motion in a passage, that helped a lot the student to solve the difficulty.
On the other hand, I see very little teaching on how to achieve different sound features and colors. Carlevaro used to teach 5 different strokes, and there are several variations and approaches to this. With very little exception, I don't see modern players using or teaching this. Vibrato is also generally weak and with little variation either. To me modern interpretations are poor in dynamics, sound and "mood" contrast. They become boring quite fast...

Terpfan
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Terpfan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:10 am

Luis_Br wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:37 am
On the other hand, I see very little teaching on how to achieve different sound features and colors. Carlevaro used to teach 5 different strokes, and there are several variations and approaches to this. With very little exception, I don't see modern players using or teaching this. Vibrato is also generally weak and with little variation either. To me modern interpretations are poor in dynamics, sound and "mood" contrast. They become boring quite fast...
Where can you find 5 different stroke??

Luis_Br
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:37 am

Terpfan wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:10 am
Luis_Br wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:37 am
On the other hand, I see very little teaching on how to achieve different sound features and colors. Carlevaro used to teach 5 different strokes, and there are several variations and approaches to this. With very little exception, I don't see modern players using or teaching this. Vibrato is also generally weak and with little variation either. To me modern interpretations are poor in dynamics, sound and "mood" contrast. They become boring quite fast...
Where can you find 5 different stroke??

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Scott_Kritzer
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Scott_Kritzer » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:10 am

While there have been many interesting points forwarded since the original post, I hope you'll indulge my late arrival and let me go back and answer Sebastian's original question.....

Agreeing with Alexander, limiting your range of motion is not something you want to strive to do. Quite the contrary.
There is a specific range of motion which I've found allows for the fingers to move rapidly and naturally. To do otherwise (with minimal movement) creates tension and limits endurance and/or speed.

I identify three range points for a single free stroke, the two most important being the extended position, (see Extended illustration below) where the finger is in position to play.
Extended copy.jpg
The next important position is the where I strive to finish the stroke, in the flexed position. (See Flexed illustration below) When we flex the finger and finish the stroke in the flexed position, a static tension loads in the extensors. You can feel this above the knuckles on the top part of the hand. A gross exaggeration would be to take your right arm, and while at shoulder height, bring it all the way to the left shoulder. You can feel the static tension in the right shoulder.
Flexed copy.jpg
This static tension allows for whats called a ‘passive recoil’ where the arm, or in our case, the finger returns naturally, without the use of the extensors, and where the static tension began to load, to the neutral position. (See Neutral illustration below). Then the extensors engage, taking the finger from the neutral to the extended position with less effort.
Neutral copy.jpg
If one limits this natural range, the suffcient amount of static tension required to return the finger by relaxing (or passive recoil) isn't present- instead, the extensor muscles must be employed. Flexing and extending the finger in this limited range requires an almost simultaneous firing of both the flexors and extensors, creating a great amount of tension in the fingers. Yes players can achieve speed with this tension but accuracy and endurance will suffer. I studied minimum motion with my first teacher, a Manuel Lopez Ramos student, where small movements are made from the middle knuckle, albeit as a preliminary exercise. I found later, with my work with Aaron Shearer, that muscles respond better, with a full range of motion and the interplay of tension and release that comes with that movement. Speed, along with accuracy can be achieved. And with less tension. A limited range only creates tension, it never releases it.
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by guit-box » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:45 pm

Shearer's idea that all the joints either flexion together or extension together is false. You can look at all the videos of pros that I slowed down and observe that joints are very naturally moving in opposite directions most of the time -- an orbital trajectory of the fingertip from the beginning of one stroke to the beginning of the next. That said, in order to make any sense using the term 'follow through" we have to define which joints are following through and when. The large joint (MCP) is shown to not follow through once it reaches the string, but the other two smaller joints do follow through after the string is plucked. But it's not enough to observe that the MCP doesn't follow through, it's actually doing the opposite of following through at the moment the string is release, it's extending and re positioning for the next stroke. The MCP joint's function is to taxi the fingertip to the string and then the other joints take over while the MCP extends/relaxes. That's not to say the taxi function isn't important, it's hugely important, the MCP joint can move very quickly and that is what aids in playing fast, but in my opinion it's the extending/relaxing of the MCP that should be focused on since that is what occurs at the instant the string is sounded.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Terpfan
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Terpfan » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:39 am

guit-box wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:45 pm
Shearer's idea that all the joints either flexion together or extension together is false. You can look at all the videos of pros that I slowed down and observe that joints are very naturally moving in opposite directions most of the time -- an orbital trajectory of the fingertip from the beginning of one stroke to the beginning of the next. That said, in order to make any sense using the term 'follow through" we have to define which joints are following through and when. The large joint (MCP) is shown to not follow through once it reaches the string, but the other two smaller joints do follow through after the string is plucked. But it's not enough to observe that the MCP doesn't follow through, it's actually doing the opposite of following through at the moment the string is release, it's extending and re positioning for the next stroke. The MCP joint's function is to taxi the fingertip to the string and then the other joints take over while the MCP extends/relaxes. That's not to say the taxi function isn't important, it's hugely important, the MCP joint can move very quickly and that is what aids in playing fast, but in my opinion it's the extending/relaxing of the MCP that should be focused on since that is what occurs at the instant the string is sounded.
It has been 7 month since playing the guitar again and what I am realizing is thing I've learned at Peabody in early 90s is outdated. However, it seems like you have to learn the rule first, then break the rules to reach the next level. I am started to teach my son how to play and without telling him to follow through, I can not get him to properly stroke the string.

Luis_Br
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Re: Reduction of follow through

Post by Luis_Br » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:03 pm

Terpfan wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:10 am
Luis_Br wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:37 am
On the other hand, I see very little teaching on how to achieve different sound features and colors. Carlevaro used to teach 5 different strokes, and there are several variations and approaches to this. With very little exception, I don't see modern players using or teaching this. Vibrato is also generally weak and with little variation either. To me modern interpretations are poor in dynamics, sound and "mood" contrast. They become boring quite fast...
Where can you find 5 different stroke??
Just linking to another lesson on some different strokes (he shows 4 different ones) without mentioning the rest vs free or the follow-through:


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