Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

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Sebastian
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Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Sebastian » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:42 am

I found this video of Tatyana Ryzhkova some weeks (or months) ago:


At 5:00 she's explaining a speed burst excercise for free stroke with index and medium alternation.
There's been speculation whether to collapse tipjoint in free strokes or not. But most people conclude it is better not to collapse (or not to collapse so much) in free stroke during "speedy" passages.

However, Tatyana, collapses her fingertip joint, it is more evident in her index finger (her middle finger tip joint is not so visible due to the camera angle so I wouldn't know). And she's an world class elite player.
At many points of the video she also collapses tipjoints.

Any idea? Thoughts?
Would she be even better (than what she already is, an elite player) if she didn't collapse?
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Conall
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Conall » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:53 am

I haven't watched the video but I attended a workshop with a lutenist who had become an expert in R.S.I. and tunnel carpal syndrome. His contention was that it was playing with stiff, tensed fingertip joints which screwed his right hand completely for years.

His lecture scared me into adapting (or being aware of & promoting to pupils) to a technique which insists on a relaxed tip joint in both rest and free stroke. It's not as visually apparent with the longest m finger but I make sure even it is relaxed (not stiffened or tensed) and when I teach free stroke I use pictures which exaggerate the "floppiness" of the tip joint, explaining later to students that in fact it is not quite as visually collapsed in practice (just relaxed).

The tension caused by stiff tip joints can be demonstrated by making a fist where the tips are tightly tucked into palm. In contrast, bending from the knuckle and 2nd joint only, keeping tips relaxed & placing in palm causes little or no tension in the hand.

Interestingly and worryingly my tip joint of the 1st finger sometimes gives me trouble (pain) after decades of playing - particularly in the basic C chord shape where it is very bent by necessity. It goes away after a few days of not playing but it worries me that bending the tip joints too much over a long period of time & after hours of practice might also lead eventually with strains in the left hand.

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tormodg
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by tormodg » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:55 am

As with everything else I think this should not be turned into a religious quest. I learned to flex the tip joint, but have also learned when not to do it (for example to avoid playing the melody notes after the bassline - unless you want to do it).

IMHO it's just a technique, it does not define a player.
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Luis_Br
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Luis_Br » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:11 pm

I don't think Tatyana is an "elite" player, but I agree both collapsing or non collapsing works. If you dig in youtube videos you will find real elite virtuosos playing both ways. When playing at the limit of your speed, maybe you should do whatever is easier to you. In regular stroke, I agree with Pepe Romero explanation, tip should collapse a bit and then flex, you control it according to sound result you want.
On using fixed tip and RSI/carpal tunnel, I don't think using fixed tip is the problem, the problem is how you do it, or how much wrong tension you generate to achieve this. Maybe should pratice collapsing and then gradually tense tip. Most probably problem is not in the tip tensing itself.

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lacatedral
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by lacatedral » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:24 am

Luis_Br wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:11 pm
I don't think Tatyana is an "elite" player, but I agree both collapsing or non collapsing works. If you dig in youtube videos you will find real elite virtuosos playing both ways. When playing at the limit of your speed, maybe you should do whatever is easier to you. In regular stroke, I agree with Pepe Romero explanation, tip should collapse a bit and then flex, you control it according to sound result you want.
On using fixed tip and RSI/carpal tunnel, I don't think using fixed tip is the problem, the problem is how you do it, or how much wrong tension you generate to achieve this. Maybe should pratice collapsing and then gradually tense tip. Most probably problem is not in the tip tensing itself.
You stated there are youtube videos of guitarists playing with collapsing and non collapsing (in free stroke, as the thread context defines).
Could you refer us to some concrete examples? I watched some videos in slow motion and close ups but only found some examples of guitarists collapsing tipjoints in free strokes in fast passages, but only collapsing tipjoints in medium and ring fingers, never in index finger.
The only exception was Tatyana, who collapses index finger tipjoint in free stroke in fast passages. But then again, I must have watched less than 10 slow motion videos, not 100.
I many times tend to be very literal and extremist with explanations, one professor told me "never to collapse in fast free strokes". Now I think that was a very absolute statement, the correct statament should have been something like "one should control how much of give/collapse happens".

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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by kirolak » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:57 am

This whole subject terrifies me, if I have to worry about this as well I might just strangle myself with a d string.

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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Dofpic » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:28 pm

Everyones fingers are different different shapes lengths flexibility. My tips do not collapse that much where my old teachers tips collapsed quite a bit. He could keep them taut and or super flexible depending on the sound he wanted.
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by jayjayrose » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:53 pm

I seem to recall that, years ago, the collapsed tip joint was a hallmark of Aaron Shearer's teaching. Then the tide swung the other way and everybody forswore that technique (even Shearer recanted). I find this issue perplexing, and maybe the best thing is to do what works best for oneself. I will follow this thread, because this is an issue I have to deal with in my teaching as well as my playing.
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jayjayrose
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by jayjayrose » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:54 pm

Addendum: Maybe it was just rest strokes that were the issue. Any other thoughts?
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Luis_Br » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:31 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:24 am
You stated there are youtube videos of guitarists playing with collapsing and non collapsing (in free stroke, as the thread context defines).
Could you refer us to some concrete examples?
Sorry, I don't remember the examples and I don't have time now to search them back. But I didn't pay that detailed attention to remark if only 'a' finger is collapsing while the 'i' finger is not. What about their finger length, nail etc. Fingertip will not collapse to some people even if they are relaxed, they simply don't have this joint flexibility.
In my experience I would just say that it is not the use of collapsing or non-collapsing that will make you play fast. I thinke we can play fast enough with either of them. Some people argue that collapsing is worse because it requires wider movement to pass over the string. It is a reasonable argument, but I think even with collapsing we can be fast enough. Maybe to be even faster the collapsing would make some difference, but I see little musical application, except for showing off pure speed.

To me and important point is that you have to work adpating your technique to something that feels easier, so you can play in an easier way almost immediatly. If you just imitate someone, some rule, or some recommendation by the teacher and it doesn't feel easier in a few days, than it is worthless. Maybe should work enhancing your internal perception first, try out all different things, figure out and test yourself what is easier. To become effortless, one must develop the feeling for "effortlessness".
Our internal tensions and acquired habits several times fake our correct feeling. I think trying different approaches help us develop a path. I like a comparison I've heard from a Fendelkrais teacher, that working and releasing our internal tensions is like untying a tangle of matted wool. If you loose some part too much, you may tight a knot somewhere else, and vice-verse. So you have to gradually release everywhere, or maybe you find the main knot and suddenly release everything at once.

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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by jayjayrose » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:00 pm

Luis_Br wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:31 pm
lacatedral wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:24 am
You stated there are youtube videos of guitarists playing with collapsing and non collapsing (in free stroke, as the thread context defines).
Could you refer us to some concrete examples?
Sorry, I don't remember the examples and I don't have time now to search them back. But I didn't pay that detailed attention to remark if only 'a' finger is collapsing while the 'i' finger is not. What about their finger length, nail etc. Fingertip will not collapse to some people even if they are relaxed, they simply don't have this joint flexibility.
In my experience I would just say that it is not the use of collapsing or non-collapsing that will make you play fast. I thinke we can play fast enough with either of them. Some people argue that collapsing is worse because it requires wider movement to pass over the string. It is a reasonable argument, but I think even with collapsing we can be fast enough. Maybe to be even faster the collapsing would make some difference, but I see little musical application, except for showing off pure speed.

To me and important point is that you have to work adpating your technique to something that feels easier, so you can play in an easier way almost immediatly. If you just imitate someone, some rule, or some recommendation by the teacher and it doesn't feel easier in a few days, than it is worthless. Maybe should work enhancing your internal perception first, try out all different things, figure out and test yourself what is easier. To become effortless, one must develop the feeling for "effortlessness".
Our internal tensions and acquired habits several times fake our correct feeling. I think trying different approaches help us develop a path. I like a comparison I've heard from a Fendelkrais teacher, that working and releasing our internal tensions is like untying a tangle of matted wool. If you loose some part too much, you may tight a knot somewhere else, and vice-verse. So you have to gradually release everywhere, or maybe you find the main knot and suddenly release everything at once.
Great points! It's really about the relaxation, isn't it?
"…that all-pervading talisman of Spanish pleasure, the guitar." -Washington Irving

Conall
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Re: Collapsing tipjoint (free stroke) 2

Post by Conall » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:21 am

jayjayrose wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:00 pm

Great points! It's really about the relaxation, isn't it?
Precisely. Avoid tension if at all possible. Tensing the tip joint is unnecessary in either rest stroke or free stroke. The whole point of guitar technique is using the fingers as efficiently as possible with the minimum of tension.

Incidentally, I used to go out with a prize winning harpist. They effectively use free stroke and she told me all the action must be from the knuckle and middle joint, never the tip joint.

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