Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
jdhunt

Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by jdhunt » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:19 pm

In "Milonga" by Jorge Cardoso measure eight, the chord is played in position 8 with finger 1 on 5th string F, finger 2 on 4th string C, finger 3 on 3rd string F, and 4th finger on 2nd string A - pretty much 8th position "double barre", except that open 1st string is also played. My problem is that my fingers are too big to fit into the tiny fret at this position (10th fret).

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to make this work, short of sticking my fingers in a pencil sharpener, which I did consider :) This is a beautiful piece of music and I don't have any problems with the rest of the piece, but this one measure has me frustrated.

Thanks.

avoz

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by avoz » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:24 am

jdhunt wrote:In "Milonga" by Jorge Cardoso measure eight, the chord is played in position 8 with finger 1 on 5th string F, finger 2 on 4th string C, finger 3 on 3rd string F, and 4th finger on 2nd string A - pretty much 8th position "double barre", except that open 1st string is also played. My problem is that my fingers are too big to fit into the tiny fret at this position (10th fret).
Alternative: 1/2 Barre at fret V, finger 4 on low F (5) fret VIII; note e finger 1 on barre (2); note a finger 1 on barre (1); note f (fourth sixteenth note) finger 2 on (2) fret VI - note c below f finger 1 on barre (3); note e beat 2 and c below both barred by finger 1 after removing finger 2 from f etc. Of course, you will lose the campanella effect of the open string (1) in the original - are you approaching notes with fingertips as near as possible to the vertical plane as the three fingers in line 'vertically' on fret VIII should be far from impossible.

philparker

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by philparker » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:36 am

avoz wrote: are you approaching notes with fingertips as near as possible to the vertical plane as the three fingers in line 'vertically' on fret VIII should be far from impossible.
I have to agree with Avoz - and I've just played the piece to confirm. On measure 8 I place my thumb right on the lower curve of the neck and my fingers are very vertical, with my wrist more arched than on any other measure. My index finger is almost straight, 2nd & 3rd fingers slightly bent at the middle knuckle and little finger tip is vertical, bent at the tip and totally straight at the middle knuckle. It is quite an 'arched' position, but it is required to gain a good clean sound. My fingers are fairly large, but I don't have any difficulty with this position (I find the prelude of La Catedral much more awkward!!)

Stick with it - it's a wonderful tune; enjoyable to play and popular with the listener! :casque:

jdhunt

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by jdhunt » Sat Jun 07, 2008 6:53 pm

Thanks Avoz and Phil.

And I've even tried taking my thumb off the back of the kneck all together so that practically my whole hand is vertical. On lower frets, I can sometimes overlap the fourth finger with fingers 2 and 4, but the 10th fret is too narrow to do that. And usually, I barre two strings with finger 3 and use finger 4 for the other string, but the open 1st string makes this difficult as well. I'll keep plugging away and also try the alternative fingering suggested by Avoz. I also have problems with La Catedral - Barrios obviously had much skinnier fingers than me.

I was always amazed in watching videos of Segovia playing - his fingers appeared to be twice as big as mine, yet he was able to play tight fingerings like this with no apparent problems.

avoz

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by avoz » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:10 am

jdhunt wrote:

I was always amazed in watching videos of Segovia playing - his fingers appeared to be twice as big as mine, yet he was able to play tight fingerings like this with no apparent problems.
Jerry, Those fingers tapered down to a normal 'footprint', but yours will be advantageous in other respects, e.g. vibrant vibrato produced by strength. I assume you practice any technical problems repeatedly and slowly until mastered - the chord in question is a standard major shape which you will encounter often (albeit without open first string).

jdhunt

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by jdhunt » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:26 pm

avoz wrote: I assume you practice any technical problems repeatedly and slowly until mastered - the chord in question is a standard major shape which you will encounter often (albeit without open first string).
I do indeed. As I alluded to in my previous note, for this chord patter, I typically play it with two fingers - a "mini-barre" with the third finger (e.g. on strings 4 and 3 in this case) and finger 4 on the other string (string 2). That is what I practiced last night after my follow-up post and am getting it down.

I also wanted to say that this chord just doesn't sound quite right (esentially F major plus the open E which I suppose makes it a 7th). I wanted to make sure there wasn't a mis-print on my version (don't recall offhand publisher and too lazy to run upstairs).

Guitar Slim

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by Guitar Slim » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:51 pm

I guess practice makes perfect, JD. The bad news is, this chord shape and fingering is fairly common in CG. And sometimes it's an actual barre chord in which we have to play that barred note on the first string too, which makes it even more difficult.

I suppose in theory you could use a third-finger or pinkie bar and try to clear the 1st string so that it rings -- but that's a whole lot easier to do on the electric than it is on CG. Plus, given the intricacy of CG, there are a lot of instances where a secondary barre is undesirable. You might have to lift just a single finger in the bar to play a meldy note or create a 7 chord, or use one of the fingers as a guide finger for a shift, or whatever. In fact, pinkie barres are fairly rare in conventional CG, and 3rd finger barres are even more so. We generally try to stay up on our fingertips, like ballet dancers on point...

So -- it's probably best to just get used to fingering this voicing with 1-2-3-4, without the second barre.

I'm curious, have you tried to tackle the chord in measure 11? Personally, I think getting all the notes in that chord to ring clearly without accidentally touching and muting strings with the LH fingers, is one of the toughest things in the piece. If you can nail that one, measure 8 really shouldn't be that big a problem.
Last edited by Guitar Slim on Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guitar Slim

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by Guitar Slim » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:24 pm

Oh, a couple of other points. Stupid question, but you ARE playing this on a nylon-string classical guitar with a nice wide neck, right? I only ask because there are members here who play classical repertorie on steel string. Even with my skinny little fingers, I find that particular fingering tricky on a narrower neck, especially an electric. It's much easier on a classical neck.

Would it be helpful to think of the Dom 7 version of that chord shape as a reference? You can't double-barre the Dom 7th chord because it has a gap in the middle. So, maybe you can think of it as the Dom 7, only you're plugging the "hole" with the 3rd finger -- and without the 1st-finger barre, of course.

Probably a stupid idea... :roll:

User avatar
ramsnake
Posts: 1409
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:22 pm
Location: Denmark, Western Australia (plenty of Kangaroos!)

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by ramsnake » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:40 pm

It does help that the piece is marked lento but I too find that extremely difficult to pull off cleanly so I would just leave the c out and use the 4th and 3rd fingers as notated giving you a marvellous opportunity to accentuate the campanella effect at that point! :D Letting that one bar stop you from playing the piece would be a shame! :?
Lovely piece incidentally had not come across it before.
Surfing equates to living in the very moment of 'now'. When you ride a wave, you leave behind all things important and unimportant, the purity of the moment is upon you. Bill Hamilton (Kauai, Hawaii)

Guitar Slim

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by Guitar Slim » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:14 am

ramsnake wrote:It does help that the piece is marked lento but I too find that extremely difficult to pull off cleanly so I would just leave the c out and use the 4th and 3rd fingers as notated giving you a marvellous opportunity to accentuate the campanella effect at that point! :D Letting that one bar stop you from playing the piece would be a shame! :?
Lovely piece incidentally had not come across it before.
Ramsnake, I know that in the past you've come up with some very clever and effective shortcuts and workarounds to sticky problems, but in this case I think the music would suffer too much to justify this solution unless it was absolutely impossible to play -- and it shouldn't be impossible.

The C is not just harmonic filler. In the introduction the melody is in the bass, and the C is part of the bass. In the intro the bass also defines the milonga rhythm that defines the entire piece. Dropping the C from bass means both dropping a melody note, and interrupting the milonga rhythm, and is kind of hard to justify.

I recommend playing the bass line as written if at all possible. It should also be accented as written to get the proper feel of the rhythm.

Just my opinion, of course...

User avatar
ramsnake
Posts: 1409
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:22 pm
Location: Denmark, Western Australia (plenty of Kangaroos!)

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by ramsnake » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:40 pm

Oh well, just leave the f out then and include the c - easy solution.
For me the c is not so important as that bar is at the end of a super phrase and essentially the melody, for what it is worth, ends on the f at the beginning of the bar and the rhythm does not seem to suffer to much from dropping the c at that point either. It works for me to accentuate the campanella instead and provides the bonus of making the passage easier to handle.
But you know me, it is just a suggestion for the guy so as he can feel ok about continuing on with the piece without getting all hung up about one bar!
Hell I don't mind if he doesn't take it up! :?
Surfing equates to living in the very moment of 'now'. When you ride a wave, you leave behind all things important and unimportant, the purity of the moment is upon you. Bill Hamilton (Kauai, Hawaii)

khayes
Posts: 1220
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:29 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by khayes » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:05 pm

Ramsnake, Slim - what is meant by 'campanella' ?? Thanks.
Ken

Guitar Slim

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by Guitar Slim » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:00 pm

Ramsnake,

How about an alternative solution? For those who don't know, "milonga" is not just a title. It's a dance-form related to the tango. And this particular piece is both minimalistic, and embodies textbook examples of quintessential milonga rhythms. So, just omitting a note is not the best option in my opinion, because it really breaks up the rhythm and the line. It's not the same as omitting an extra harmony note in a vertical chord.

So how about substituting one note for another, instead of just omitting a note?. For example, if you're going to omit the F or the A in this measure, you can try repeating one of the other notes instead. That way you don't end up with a hole in the rhythm or the line...

Still, as I said above JD, that chord shape and fingering is not uncommon in CG. So it's probably best to just try and tackle it instead of avoiding it...

jdhunt

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by jdhunt » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:48 pm

Guitar Slim wrote:Oh, a couple of other points. Stupid question, but you ARE playing this on a nylon-string classical guitar with a nice wide neck, right?
Yep, 1973 Ramirez 1a - nice big neck. With continued practice, I am getting better at using only two fingers in the 10th fret - third finger barre's strings 4 and 3 and 4th finger on the 2nd string. That's the fingering I've used for this chord pattern for decades - starting back in my electric guitar days. It just took more practice to get it to work for this particular chord.

Thanks for the tips.

jdhunt

Re: Help with fingering in Cardoso's Milonga

Post by jdhunt » Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:07 pm

Guitar Slim wrote: I'm curious, have you tried to tackle the chord in measure 11? Personally, I think getting all the notes in that chord to ring clearly without accidentally touching and muting strings with the LH fingers, is one of the toughest things in the piece. If you can nail that one, measure 8 really shouldn't be that big a problem.
Yeah, measure 11 is no problem. It took some practice working out all of the chord patterns and the shift from one to another, but the only one that was causing me problems was the 8th measure.

Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”