Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

This forum is for our discussions on any classical guitar works. Regardless of whether these works are still under copyright, we can illustrate our discussions with extracts to a maximum length of 8 bars or 30 seconds, using attached audio files (mp3, wav or wma) or video files (mov or wmv). Only attached files are permitted. Links to audio and video files are not allowed.
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This forum is for our discussions on any classical guitar works. Regardless of whether these works are still under copyright, we can illustrate our discussions with extracts to a maximum length of 8 bars or 30 seconds, using attached audio files (mp3, wav or wma) or video files (mov or wmv). Only attached files are permitted. Links to audio and video files are not allowed. However, we can say in our posts "you can hear a model interpretation by such and such a guitarist on such and such a site".

This forum serves as a place of mutual help if we are stuck on a technical or musical difficulty, whether the problem stems from the notes, the rhythm, the dynamics, or the fingering. We can post several successive versions of the extract, as our work on it progresses. This will serve to help not only the member who is presenting his work, but also indirectly the dozens of other members who are having the same issues with the same passage, but who don't have the equipment or the technical knowledge to post a recording.

As a rule there should be just one topic per work. If several discussions arise on the same work, the moderators will merge the threads together.
Rojer Ramjet

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:42 am

Image

I'm 100% self-taught, and I don't read musical notation very well; I'm looking for constructive criticisms and suggestions on how to play this correctly.

I realize, now, after watching the film, that I'm not sustaining the bass notes as I should in about 1/3 of the piece.

John Kotopka

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby John Kotopka » Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:25 am

I really enjoyed your interpretation and hope you'll post a video of the whole piece.

Since you're soliciting criticisms and suggestions: You're already aware of the bass, there are a few buzzes and hiccups that should be ironed out but that's just the nature of a work-in-progress.

This is more of a stylistic suggestion rather than a criticism but the melody notes sound a bit more detached than I expected to hear. I imagine more of a smooth swaying to the pulse, almost a subtle accent on the first of each three notes: DAH dah dah DAH dah dah... Not so much in how one would pluck the strings but how one would drive the pulse on the tune. I can hear this in sections of your rendition but not the whole thing.

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:49 pm

You're absolutely correct about the "flow" of the piece; its choppy in places. I think that has a lot to do with how hard I'm striking the string both with my thumb nail and my middle fingernail; I work with my hands (I'm an electrician), so its hard to maintain a perfect manicure - for some bizarre reason, likely because my middle finger is longest, I always end up breaking the nail on the right side, where I've ramped it towards.

I get a lot of strange looks; oddly shaped nails on my right hand and none on my left... My thumbnail is long enough, and incredibly thick, that after a few days of wearing a new pair of gloves, it pokes right through, followed by the rest in short order.. reminds me of a warewolf movie sometimes...

To repair the nail I purchased some silk sheets from a beauty supply house, along with UV setting adhesives and built a UV-C lightsource (NOT eyesafe by a loooong stretch) that cures the adhesive in about 1 second; unfortunately the stuff is so hard that its like trying to file glass when I'm done.

Anyway, that's a bit off topic.

On the topic of "buzzes and hiccups," sometimes I get through perfectly, sometimes I sound like I'm trying to molest a cat with a chainsaw - I don't understand why it happens; its like if I miss one string it can cause my hand to be out of alignment, or possibly my brain, and the whole piece goes to hell, and I have to put my guitar down for awhile to "reset" whatever breaker it was that tripped.

Thanks for taking the time to watch and offer suggestions, John!

Dave325

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Dave325 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:32 pm

Hey Roger ... Just watched your piece. Great start in learning it.... Based on what was already stated ... I have a suggestion I do when learning a piece to develop more of a legato and connected melody... I slow it way down, I mean way, way down to say one beat every 2/3 seconds and watch my finger movements from note to note and chord to chord, watching to make the smallest and smoothest movements as possible. Even when I feel I know a fast moving piece I play it three ways.... Normal speed. Then super slow to watch for technique. Then, finally reading through the score to make sure I am staying on target with the written page. Of course, there are a lot of thoughts/ ideas... This is just something I do that I wanted to share with you. Enjoy your study with the Bach piece!

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:12 pm

Thanks Dave!

Those are wonderful suggestions!

As I notice with my roommates piano students, I tend to play really, really fast when learning a new piece; she's always telling them "slow it waaaay down until you have the movements perfected, then speed up." I also tend to play very quickly; the first style I taught myself was Flamenco, which is very rapid... and which forgives a lot of mistakes. Trying to teach myself the classical style is, and has been, very difficult. I'd take classes, but I'm barely keeping my doors open at the moment, and it just isn't in "the budget."

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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby ragdoll serenade » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:22 am

HI Rojer, thanks for posting your recording. I think you are making good progress. I am working on it right now as well and I love playing it! I am finding my biggest challenge to be making the passages with the dotted quarters sound musical. I think one thing you should try is to play the second note of those measures more softly. I'm experimenting with dynamics in those measures as well, starting them softly and increasing volume as I go through that phrase. Anyway, good luck, I'm looking forward to hearing the complete piece.

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:00 am

Thank you for the compliment and the advice!

OldC1guy
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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby OldC1guy » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:49 am

Roger, I admire your courage to get right into things. I started playing this a little before the last Holiday season, so I've gone through some of the same questions you're facing. You might try this. If I'm totally off base on this, others will correct me. Try to anticipate the fingering of each triplet group, and place as many fingers as you can in one move, as if it was a chord. This will help to achieve the legato effect that you are looking for. Also, leave a finger down until it is needed somewhere else, don't just lift it because you've played that note. As an example, in measure two, get your little finger on the g and the second finger on the f#, at the same time that you put you first and third fingers in place. Now, after you play the g, just lift the little finger and you've already got the f# fingered. Keep everything down, just lift the first finger to go from the b to the e. Obviously you have to lift the third finger off the d to play the open b, but you can probably see what I'm talking about here. Give it a try.

Hank, the OldC1guy...
I bought my classical guitar before my first marriage. That didn’t last, but the guitar did; one of the few things she didn't get...

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:43 am

Hank, thanks for the advice; I am grateful.

My sheet music for this piece shows a great number of "legato" transitions; what I understand to be a "hammer-on." When I "hammer-on" the next note, I have a very difficult time in doing it at the correct tempo, and it seems, at least to my ear, to be far too quiet; I imagine its somewhat louder in front of the guitar, which is why I started with this basic recording, to see where my strengths and weakness lie, from the position where a listener would be.

I imagine there are many transcriptions of this piece out there; I'm using the one from the Hal Leonard book Masterworks for Guitar mod edit: link to commercial site removed: search halleonard for Inventory #HL 00699503. Do you have any experience with this particular transcription? I think I've found a couple of errors in it, by ear, though, I have nothing to compare it to.

I tell you, in the 15 years I've been playing with the guitar, I've developed a number of really, really bad habits - flamenco is very improvisational - and trying to.. regimen myself to play exactly in time, exactly as written, and precisely as intended is phenomenally difficult. I'm constantly having to stop myself, correct my bad habit, begin again, and try to swallow my gall and disappointment with myself. Truthfully, were I not as stubborn as I am, I'd just go back to strictly flamenco; I just can't admit to myself that I'm not smart enough, or that I can't learn, so I keep trucking on, trying to get better. And its not as though I want to perform in public. I have, but I don't get any joy from doing so; I play for me, because it makes me happy; because I feel a deep personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, and I don't need that validation from anyone other than myself.

Anyway, my point for bringing up this specific transcription is that it shows the legato annotation in the second and third bars, and is then repeated regularly.

Bill
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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Bill » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:44 pm

I think you are off to a good start. This is one of those pieces which illustrates so much of what we play is an arrangement rather than a literal transcription. For years I played the Parkening (Foster) arrangement, but I was never really happy with it. It seemed plodding and lacked that walking feel. Finally, I decided to revisit the piece and listened to choral versions, and that helped me make the decision to play a different arrangement which may sacrifice to some extent the exact bass line, but has much more of the rhythmic and melodic flow of the original. It was a great reminder of how important it is to listen to the original versions. Thanks for posting, Bill

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:55 pm

Thanks, Bill.

I shouldn't have used the word "transcription;" instead I should have used "arrangement" to describe the sheet music I'm playing from.

What arrangement do you use now?

Bill
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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Bill » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:16 pm

Roger; I have played (and have) so many versions in G, but I ran across one in a Hal Leonard book "Masterworks for Guitar" which I like quite well. If you find the book, I recommend it.

Rojer Ramjet

Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Rojer Ramjet » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:29 pm

I'm using the Hal Leonard book. :)

OldC1guy
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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby OldC1guy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:20 am

I found a version on-line, no hammer ons, at www.thisisclassicalguitar.com. This is all public domain stuff, so I don't think I'm violating any Delcamp rules. Sorry if this does. The fingering works pretty well, and it was free.

Hank, the OldC1guy
I bought my classical guitar before my first marriage. That didn’t last, but the guitar did; one of the few things she didn't get...

Bill
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Re: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - first 31 measures...

Postby Bill » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:08 am

Roger; That's great. There innumerable arrangements out there, but that one is very straight forward. It is fingered well, so it will allow the melody to be played legato, and keep that rhythmic walking feel. That book is a gem. Lots of good stuff in there. I particularly like the arrangement of the 1st movement of the Moonlight. Thanks, Bill


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