How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

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Adrian Allan
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How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:13 pm

Hello

I sometimes revisit the very basics of technique.

I am currently looking at ways of playing a simple 2 octave moveable scale (G major in this case), partly as a preparation for pieces where such passages need to played quickly and more importantly, cleanly (ie. semiquavers over 120 bpm)

I am interested in what finger combinations work best for people.

I am trying it in the two ways attached, but I am interested in what works for other people, so please offer your own suggestions.
g major.png

g major pmi.png
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Gary Macleod
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Gary Macleod » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:32 pm

I would play it i,m. Always leading with i. Here's a little scales video I did which goes into apoyando technique

https://youtu.be/NTB0PBlzxB0

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guitarrista
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by guitarrista » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:35 pm

Definitely the i-m alternation for me. In this example you start with m. This seems to result in 2 "nice" (6-5, 4-3) and 3 "awkward" string crossings. Perhaps you can try and see if starting with i -which would give you one more "nice" string crossing - feels better.

EDIT: I don't mean that the pmi version is bad - it is interesting and may be easier if you can execute it with evenness of tone and tempo; also you would probably have to experiment if thumb apoyando or tirando (in combination with mi apoyando) works better.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:48 pm

I think I'd be worried about the change of tone using 'p' on the higher strings.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:05 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:48 pm
I think I'd be worried about the change of tone using 'p' on the higher strings.
Perhaps - but I know that Goran Schollester plays the Aranjuez Pi
I also know that David Starobin plays scales pi

so it can be done, and is done by professionals
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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:11 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:35 pm
Definitely the i-m alternation for me. In this example you start with m. This seems to result in 2 "nice" (6-5, 4-3) and 3 "awkward" string crossings. Perhaps you can try and see if starting with i -which would give you one more "nice" string crossing - feels better.

EDIT: I don't mean that the pmi version is bad - it is interesting and may be easier if you can execute it with evenness of tone and tempo; also you would probably have to experiment if thumb apoyando or tirando (in combination with mi apoyando) works better.
Perhaps I should know this (but I did say that I like to revisit basics), but what is the issue with a string crossing starting with i? I mean - it obviously can be done - so is it not just a matter of practice?
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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:14 pm

On the subject of the Pmi for scales, when Craig Ogden used to teach me, he showed me his annotated Aranjuez.

He plays the first movement (and maybe other movements) Pmi for speed, so I suppose it is a case of "whatever works for the individual".
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:38 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:05 pm
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:48 pm
I think I'd be worried about the change of tone using 'p' on the higher strings.
Perhaps - but I know that Goran Schollester plays the Aranjuez Pi
I also know that David Starobin plays scales pi

so it can be done, and is done by professionals
Sure, not least in lute repertoire. A matter of what effect one wants, as well as the sheer speed desired.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:41 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:Perhaps I should know this (but I did say that I like to revisit basics), but what is the issue with a string crossing starting with i? I mean - it obviously can be done - so is it not just a matter of practice?
I don't accept that there is a problem with string crossing starting with i when ascending (or m descending) in an independent scale. It's no diferent than "key-crossing" at the piano and involves the arm as well as the digits.

The issue only really shows itself when maintaining the kind of simultaneous accompaniment that restricts the mobility of the hand across the strings.

I always practised scales such as this using many permutations e.g.
i-m, m-i / i-a, a-i / m-a, a-m / a-m-i, i-m-a / i-m-a-m / p-i etc.

That was regardless of string crossings. In fact - i-m-a-m was stipulated in the grade system.

I played the lute for many years which meant that p-i was a normal technique - inextricably interlocked with "good" and "bad" notes.
Stephen Kenyon wrote:I think I'd be worried about the change of tone using 'p' on the higher strings.
You're correct Stephen, there can be a problem if the nails are not shaped correctly to compensate for the "above" and "below" attack but it's manageable with experience (I played sans nail on renaissance instruments).

Another issue is the inadvertent accenting which can occur when, initially, the inexperienced thumb is a bit heavy - again curable with a little work.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:20 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.

I have always thought that clear, precise scale playing lies at the heart of strong technique, so I am determined to sort out my own inefficiencies in this area.
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Guero
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Guero » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:05 pm

Another suggestion would be a-m-i, starting off with m-i

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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:08 pm

Guero wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:05 pm
Another suggestion would be a-m-i, starting off with m-i
I believe this was the approach favoured my Narciso Yepes. A very good player, but Youtube reveals that he was prone to slips in scale passages; eg, rehearsing the Aranjuez. However, that is obviously no reflection of the efficiency of ami.

I have Matt Palmer's book where he plays ami on scales, but he forces the scales so that three notes are on every string wherever possible.
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guitarrista
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:31 am

Adrian Allan wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:11 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:35 pm
Definitely the i-m alternation for me. In this example you start with m. This seems to result in 2 "nice" (6-5, 4-3) and 3 "awkward" string crossings. Perhaps you can try and see if starting with i -which would give you one more "nice" string crossing - feels better.

EDIT: I don't mean that the pmi version is bad - it is interesting and may be easier if you can execute it with evenness of tone and tempo; also you would probably have to experiment if thumb apoyando or tirando (in combination with mi apoyando) works better.
Perhaps I should know this (but I did say that I like to revisit basics), but what is the issue with a string crossing starting with i? I mean - it obviously can be done - so is it not just a matter of practice?
All I was saying is that if you start as you have annotated the scale, with m, this results in the following strings crossings - marked below with red when the crossing is i-m (as between strings 6-5 and strings 4-3), and with blue when the crossing is m-i.

string_crossings.JPG

The red crossings may feel "nicer" or more natural because we tend to place and use RH fingers on adjacent strings in chords and arpeggios so that strings 3-2-1 (or 4-3-2 etc) get RH fingers i-m-a. The opposite configuration almost never occurs and is seldom practiced - i.e. to do ascending arpeggios on string 3-2-1 as ami (a on 3, m on 2, i on 1).

So what does that have to do with i-m alternating scales? The red string crossings in the image are the usual finger-string configuration for i-m as in an arpeggio/chord; the blue ones are the "awkward" ones that we hardly ever encounter in thus are much less practiced.

I do think that almost all "awkwardness" has to do with asymmetry of practice, so yeah, just practice it. In that I do agree with Mark that it is not a "problem".
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Adrian Allan
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:59 am

guitarrista wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:31 am
Adrian Allan wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:11 pm
guitarrista wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:35 pm
Definitely the i-m alternation for me. In this example you start with m. This seems to result in 2 "nice" (6-5, 4-3) and 3 "awkward" string crossings. Perhaps you can try and see if starting with i -which would give you one more "nice" string crossing - feels better.

EDIT: I don't mean that the pmi version is bad - it is interesting and may be easier if you can execute it with evenness of tone and tempo; also you would probably have to experiment if thumb apoyando or tirando (in combination with mi apoyando) works better.
Perhaps I should know this (but I did say that I like to revisit basics), but what is the issue with a string crossing starting with i? I mean - it obviously can be done - so is it not just a matter of practice?
All I was saying is that if you start as you have annotated the scale, with m, this results in the following strings crossings - marked below with red when the crossing is i-m (as between strings 6-5 and strings 4-3), and with blue when the crossing is m-i.


string_crossings.JPG


The red crossings may feel "nicer" or more natural because we tend to place and use RH fingers on adjacent strings in chords and arpeggios so that strings 3-2-1 (or 4-3-2 etc) get RH fingers i-m-a. The opposite configuration almost never occurs and is seldom practiced - i.e. to do ascending arpeggios on string 3-2-1 as ami (a on 3, m on 2, i on 1).

So what does that have to do with i-m alternating scales? The red string crossings in the image are the usual finger-string configuration for i-m as in an arpeggio/chord; the blue ones are the "awkward" ones that we hardly ever encounter in thus are much less practiced.

I do think that almost all "awkwardness" has to do with asymmetry of practice, so yeah, just practice it. In that I do agree with Mark that it is not a "problem".
Thanks for explaining it so well.
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musikai
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Re: How would you play this scale? Suggestions, please.

Post by musikai » Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:57 pm

Wondered why you are using this scale for that passage but just read that you are training as movable scale. (for real life performance you will seldom find pieces where such a scale is needed fully. That's why e.g. David Russell suggests practising shorter passages on only 3 strings. This will occur more often.)
I would use i m for the whole scale and then also m i and try to overcome the different string crossings. Both ways shouldn't make any difference in feel. Try to imagine Paco de Lucia thinking about string crossings when playing his picado scales. He had never reached his tempo when thinking about it.

The suggestions for using a m i took my interest. For that I would take another scale:
G-major ami_0001.png
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