Sageras Method question about tempo

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Michaelwalker
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Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by Michaelwalker » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:00 pm

I am going through the sangreras book, and have made it to lesson 42 so far. This exercise in particular raises a question for me mainly after seeing a youtube video of the exercise being played by Norbert Neunzling. He plays it much faster than I am right now, and I do like the sound of the exercise up to speed.

But.... as I am learning what tempo should I be aiming for before moving on to the next exercise? I am sure that speed will also come as I learn. Right now I have been aiming more for accuracy than speed. But I also don't want to be moving on too fast and not getting what I'm supposed to out of the exercises. I am also reviewing past exercises, just to make sure I can still play them. :)

RobMacKillop
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:19 am

Take your time. Accuracy is far more important at your stage. Don't feel you have to play one exercise as competently as a pro-level player before moving on to the next. Tone production and phrasing are more important for you now.

dhbailey52
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by dhbailey52 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:15 am

I agree with Rob 100% -- be accurate in your rhythms and pitches and play with great tone before worrying about tempo.

Having said that, once you have achieved accuracy and good tone at a slower tempo, gradually increase the tempo (if you're using a metronome 4 or 5 beats per minute at a time) while maintaining accuracy and good tone. The instant you find you're no longer accurate, back the metronome off to where you can regain accuracy. If you like the sound of the exercise at the speed Neunzling plays it, keep working at it gradually increasing the speed until you can match what he did. But you have to realize that may never happen unless you can dedicate more time each day to practicing.

Also realize that once you get it to the desired speed, you may hear someone else play it slower but with different phrasing and you may well like that better. Or you may hear someone else play it even faster and like that even better.

Ultimately, in my opinion, your goal should be to get the exercise (and everything you work on) to a tempo where you can feel proud about how your playing it and if you were in the audience listening to yourself play it, you would really enjoy it.

Don't worry about listed metronome markings, other than as a general guide towards the ideal tempo -- most composers who perform or record their own music don't play it exactly at the printed metronome marking, and if you hear them perform it several times (or if they record it several times) you will notice the tempos are different from each other and different from the printed speed.

Michaelwalker
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by Michaelwalker » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback. It does validate that I am on the right track focusing on accuracy now. I am enjoying this method. The rate the the diffuculty increases feels about right. Even the simple excercises sound somewhat musical too.

What is really helping is that I very recently bought a classical guitar. I initially started the book using my steel string which wasn't working out quite as well. I just bought a cheap yamaha the cheapest one with a solid top actually.

Your point on backing off the speed until your acurate again hit home. When I am having difficulty with an excercise speed seems to be the cause. That is trying to complete the exercise too fast initially.

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guitareleven
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by guitareleven » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:45 am

(inadvertent redundant posting removed)
Last edited by guitareleven on Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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guitareleven
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by guitareleven » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:45 am

Mr. Neunzlingr doesn't actually play it very fast. It could conceivably be played faster, but what he does is play it at what might be a minimum tempo appropriate for the 6/8 time signature, i.e., so that the events of each measure can emerge as receivable by the ear as organized into two macro-pulses per measure, each consisting of three components. More concisely, that's the principle that 6 eighth notes are counted but there are actually two beats per measure, translated into wordinessese. Were it any slower,each measure would tend to sound more like six isolated events rather than an overall melodic gesture, though the patterned raise and fall by which it is composed would mitigate against the structure dissipating away entirely.
A tempo which achieves that articulation of the structure is your aim, but that being said, if you're not ready yet to do so, then what you want to do is not to continue unsuccessfully to match it, but neither is it to tie yourself to some dictatorial external reference like a metronome. Instead, what you want to do is find your own subjective "cruise tempo". This would not be the fastest speed at which you are able to play it while scrambling to keep up with yourself, but the maximum speed at which you are still able comfortably to control everything that is going on. You needn't eschew a metronome entirely, but use it as a check reference at intervals of several days, or a week, just to see how your "cruise speed" has developed after having "lived there" for a while.
Meanwhile, there are some other issues with this etude and with Sagreras in general to consider. The Sagreras method is a terrific progression of studies, but there are some caveats to it. One is that it takes considerable probing to discover what each etude is "about", or, what it can be about beyond the apparent surface of a prosaic exercise. The text that accompanies the etudes is pretty much useless for such exploration, which can be an examination that reveals that there is scarcely a one of the etudes that does not benefit from modification of the little that Sagreras does say, or what the notes themselves imply. Perhaps he deliberately held back from abundant explication, feeling that such should is actually the province of an assumed actual instruction sessions with the student. If so, this leaves inexperienced people working on their own with this method somewhat in the dark much of the time, or under the false impression that once a mechanical reproduction of a literal reading of the score is achieved, then he is done with extracting everything the etude can offer as an exercise.
This does not man that it is a futile enterprise to teach ones self from the method, but it is more problematic. Just as suggestions, here a some questions for you to think about: I notice that Mr. Neunzling does not follow Sagreras' indicated right hand fingering exactly. Specifically, I am referring to what happens in the indicated fingering in moving from measure four to measure five. There is a break in the printed fingering pattern there-- what do you think that is about? Is it a misprint, or do you think there is a fingering principle at work here? it is deliberate on Sagreas' part, then compare this etude with exercise 36. If you were to discover and articulate any sort of guiding principle for the spot I bring to your attention in exercise 42, then is that principle transgressed in 36? If so, why? Are there different considerations at work?
And, what of Mr. Neunzling's having disregarded the fingering? Was he just careless, and didn't notice? Or is he adhering to some other principle? Is he "wrong" to have done so?
Musically, what is going on this etude as a composition? Does it, in fact, merit the elevated connotation suggested of the term etude, or is it nothing more than a "mere" exercise? If it is more than a mere exercise, then how does each measure fit into and relate to the arc of the etude as composition? What means does a guitarist have, or does the instrument provide, that can be utilized to express the construction of this etude as a "piece" of music? Primarily one or two, or several? If in number, can they be isolated, and then recombined to work together? Did Mr. Neunzling do everything he could have done in order to realize the potential of this piece?
Finally, do you think that all I am suggesting here is overwrought, overthinking that is too much to bring to bear on a simple little etude like this, and that interpretive matters should be left until later, when one is working on repertoire more "deserving" of such approach? Or, is it possible that interpretation, just like technique, can be presented in basic incipient form, from the very beginning of learning, and that there are "techniques" of interpretation to be developed that are just as legitimately pat of what an etude is 'about" as are he mechanics involved.
I suppose I've pretty much tipped my hand in terms of what I think about such matters-- more imprtantly, what do you think?
Lemme know.

VasquezBob
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Re: Sageras Method question about tempo

Post by VasquezBob » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:27 pm

Somehow the word "speed" sounds out of place. At the end of a guitar concert that I attended, I was walking in the lobby and a passerby said to his friend, "Did you see the how fast his hands were going?" I wondered if that person even heard the music. One's focus, as you correctly stated, is accuracy first, then, the tempo that you "feel" in the composition will come. Just saying....

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