Building speed discovery

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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robert e
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby robert e » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:06 pm

Tom Poore wrote:I am, of course, speaking of my own experience. But I believe one can hear the difference between a guitarist who relies on excessive tension for speed and one who does it in a less tense way. In the video below, scroll ahead to the 6:02 mark, where the two players trade fast scales:

Speed can be done either way. Given a choice, I have my own preference. Your mileage may vary.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

Excellent example! Thank you!

And that led me to this video talk by the same guitarist, Marco Tamayo, on speed. Note that he never mentions speed, nor is that what the lesson is nominally about. Instead, he talks about the illusion of "difficulty", and he talks about engaging "difficult" passages to make them simple and fluid.

I think we guitarists, like everyone else, too easily become impressed with and concerned with speed itself, forgetting that speed is a by-product of approach and technique--a symptom of mastery, not a path to it.


Youtube

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markodarko
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby markodarko » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:46 pm

[advice removed]
Last edited by markodarko on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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astro64
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby astro64 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:31 pm

A big mistake is to push too far too fast. I am by no means fast and have no need to be. I am interested in the process (can I learn to play fast?) more than the need to play fast. I am giving myself lots of time to chip away at the edges. One success bit is that I can play tremolo very comfortably at high speed. I have been practicing it only to get the feel of fast playing for the RH with no feeling of effort. I don't care too much about tremolo in pieces but I will go there too some time. What helped was the realization that it has to feel entirely natural, you cannot get there by tension. Second, use other finger combinations than pami. Those don't go as fast for me, but they seem to help even out the pami pattern (the famous gallop). In mi alternation I demand the same ease and I won't push it faster if it doesn't come easy. So 110-120 feels ok right now. Left hand isn't there yet. Again, I don't have a time table, I don't need to make a living playing the guitar. For mi or im alternation, rasgueados help I think. For those too, no tension allowed. Speed is not the first goal, relaxed and light feeling is. My biggest worry would be focal dystonia or some such condition. I think that pushing beyond once's comfortable speed is a risk factor. Whenever I cannot feel clear awareness of each finger, I back off. Note that "awareness" is not the same as controlling each finger. You can't control each finger at high speed. But you can sense if all your fingers are moving as they should, and that none of them are running to keep up.

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guitarrista
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby guitarrista » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:30 pm

Earlier on I discovered that a lot of my RH's unproductive tensing at speed was from inadvertently "copying" the high-acceleration dynamics of the LH having to execute a sequence of quick and precise positioning of fingers across different strings - so my RH was tensing in anticipation and through the run without any need for it. I had to learn to separate the 'feel' of RH and LH so the RH can be completely 'zen' doing alternating i-m regardless of whether it is on a single open string or while the LH is doing some fireworks, so to speak. I am not saying that my LH is tensing unproductively - it works well - however the subconscious 'copying' of its dynamics feel into my RH was obviously badly done so that it resulted in an overall tense RH. I also realized that when practising 'synchronization' - which in itself is one of the most important skills to achieve greater speeds, I had to resist the 'synchronization' of high-acceleration dynamics between LH and RH.

I haven't seen anyone discuss this; maybe it is trivial enough insight that it is assumed everyone's got it.
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kmurdick
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby kmurdick » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:19 pm

ipso facto wrote:
kmurdick wrote:Here's what I mean by raw speed.

Right, I see. Glad you posted that - I was imagining something much longer and more consistent. Maybe you are only saying that it is a bad idea to practise speed bursts until your basic mechanics are OK, and a good test of this is whether you can do reasonably-fast-if-uneven im alternation. If so, markodarko's example only shows that the basic mechanics were already in place.


After she warms up at the end you can hear it much better. She could play on one string free stroke as fast as she could scratch on a table top (different than tapping which is like a rest stroke). I don't think one could do that if their hand were not in a good position and they weren't using a ballistic motion with a natural return. I didn't recommend that she dwell on this kind of thing except to once in while re-acquaint herself with that feeling of freedom. I had a couple of other guys who were faster, but I never recorded them. BTW, listen to Tom Poore; he really went after the rest stroke and could play nice bursts. But as he says, it didn't carry over into what he wanted which was a fast continuous rest stroke.

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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby guit-box » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:18 am

In my observations of 100s of right hand videos, while the main and initial impulse of the pluck comes from the main KJ flexion for both rest stroke and free stroke. Some amount of flexion of the MJ or MJ/TJ is required for the release of the string. So, for both rest and free strokes the plant and pressure part of the stroke (pre-pluck) is mostly about KJ flexion, the pluck (usually called the release) involves more than just KJ. It's difficult to see this in rest stroke because the movement at the pressure until the adjacent string is touched is so small, but it can be seen in the slow motion videos. It doesn't make logical sense that there are two separate ways of moving the fingers for rest vs free stroke. It's the same movement in a different hand position, where the string interrupts the follow-through. Rest stroke complicates the movement a bit also because most players are allowing the tip joints to collapse, which gives the impression that the release is just KJ, but it gives some of the releasing work over to tip joint flexion starting from the collapsed position. So, I have to disagree that free stroke is tapping + scratching and rest stroke is just tapping. In my opinion, when players feel like their rest stroke is heavy and getting stuck, it's likely because they are trying to force this unnatural KJ only model onto their hand.
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markodarko
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby markodarko » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:04 am

guit-box wrote:In my observations of 100s of right hand videos ...


Blimey. I can't help but feel that you're overanalysing this somewhat. :D Providing that whatever stroke you do is done in the most relaxed way possible but still giving maximum results, that's all that matters.

If we're looking for a simplistic representation of how to describe rest vs free stroke however, I would describe it thusly:

If you put your IM fingers vertical on a table and pretend that they're legs of a man (stick with me), then a rest stroke would be like the man doing the moon walk and free stroke would be like the man kicking his heels up like a bull getting ready to charge.

That's in the most extreme exaggerated example. In real life the movements are much closer to each other.
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guit-box
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby guit-box » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:24 am

The point I'm making with the video analysis is that there's evidence of how the pros are moving their fingers when playing fast. Of course you need to be relaxed, have nails optimally shaped, and practice A LOT to play fast, but I'll choose to follow the examples of the pros (who can actually play fast) over people like all of us on this forum who haven't reached that level of speed. Search thread called "Romeros and tip joints" about fast rest stroke playing with multiple videos of world class player's right hands playing fast.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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markodarko
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby markodarko » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:09 am

[advice removed]
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Robbie Flamerock
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby Robbie Flamerock » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:14 pm

My theory is that developing speed takes *a lot of time* employing accurate, efficient movements. If you can't do it, isn't it at least possible that you don't practice enough? Your expectations may be too high. This is very tough stuff.

Robbie Flamerock
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby Robbie Flamerock » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:16 pm

markodarko wrote:
Robbie Flamerock wrote:But that's not a very long chain of 16ths!


The idea is to to increase your short speed and synchronisation with this exercise. I use a different exercise to build up overall endurance.



I'm just saying that your example of how fast you can play isn't really that fast. I don't mean to be rude.

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markodarko
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby markodarko » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:39 pm

Robbie Flamerock wrote:I'm just saying that your example of how fast you can play isn't really that fast. I don't mean to be rude.


If you're saying that a ~50bpm increase in speed in 3 months is not a quick enough pace to learn at for you then I'm afraid I have no more advice to offer on this matter.

I wish you the best of luck in finding a method that suits you for increasing your speed. I appreciate that we're all different.

All the best,

Mark.
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kmurdick
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby kmurdick » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:03 pm

Git-Box, I trust your analysis, but I think you leave out one important thing. Just because you have a clear idea of how the the fingers should optimally move in the rapid free stroke and rest stroke, does not mean that moving ones fingers that way will bring optimal results. The movements you describe, I believe, are the result of finding that feeling in the hand which gives the raw speed I describe.

It's lot like trying to get the left hand to move faster by limiting the distance the fingers move. We know that as you play faster, the left hand fingers travel a smaller distance, but this is really the result of careful training, not the other way around.

Still, knowledge is power, and the more we know, the better off we are. You are not wasting your time. I think this kind of analysis will keep teachers from making big mistakes with their students.

guit-box
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby guit-box » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:24 pm

Yes, I agree that the ballistic motion or play-relax technique (whatever people choose to call it) that allows the fingers to move freely is critical. I don't believe the two things are mutually exclusive. You have to move the fingers correctly, slowly, deliberately, with a good amount of force to develop muscular coordination. You also have to let the KJ drain tension and spring back. I disagree that you should practice moving your fingers differently than the pros move their fingers to play fast, yes the movement is tighter when going fast sometimes, but I don't believe I ever suggested intentionally moving the fingers in a restricted trajectory. The problem I have with the play-relax technique that some teachers have historically taught is they focus so much on the impulse coming from the KJ followed by a relax back (which *is* critical), that they ignore (or are unaware) that the other joints are also participating in the stroke. I see the relax-back as an important part of the stroke. It's just like the left hand hammer-on/pull-off. The relaxing of the KJ happens at the moment the pulling from the MJ begins.
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Robbie Flamerock
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Re: Building speed discovery

Postby Robbie Flamerock » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:26 pm

markodarko wrote:
Robbie Flamerock wrote:I'm just saying that your example of how fast you can play isn't really that fast. I don't mean to be rude.


If you're saying that a ~50bpm increase in speed in 3 months is not a quick enough pace to learn at for you then I'm afraid I have no more advice to offer on this matter.

I wish you the best of luck in finding a method that suits you for increasing your speed. I appreciate that we're all different.

All the best,

Mark.


How could you make any assumptions about my speed? Zero data!


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