How fast is a fast scale?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:14 am

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Luis_Br
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Luis_Br » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:50 am

Just my opinion.
I consider the following speed rates to play a fast scale. I don't check this in a lot minutes of sustained playing, but not a so short burst either. It should be at least a two-octave scale up and down in some position, like going up and down Villa's etude 7 first scale or a Segovian scale. I think someone who can play this really well shouldn't have problems sustaining it a bit longer.
Consider markings in bpm, 4-notes per click:
up to 80 - easy / beginner
80-120 - regular / intermediate
120-140 - good / intermediate to advanced
140-160 - very good / advanced
160-180 - excelent / technically ready
more than 180 - a true virtuoso / out of this Earth
It is also a bit subjective, might not be so perfeccionist with a baeginner, while puting a lot of care in clarity, sound quality and loudness would make some "virtuosos" fall down.

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Mark Featherstone
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Mark Featherstone » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:58 am

Luis_Br wrote:Just my opinion.
I consider the following speed rates to play a fast scale. I don't check this in a lot minutes of sustained playing, but not a so short burst either. It should be at least a two-octave scale up and down in some position, like going up and down Villa's etude 7 first scale or a Segovian scale. I think someone who can play this really well shouldn't have problems sustaining it a bit longer.
Consider markings in bpm, 4-notes per click:
up to 80 - easy / beginner
80-120 - regular / intermediate
120-140 - good / intermediate to advanced
140-160 - very good / advanced
160-180 - excelent / technically ready
more than 180 - a true virtuoso / out of this Earth
It is also a bit subjective, might not be so perfeccionist with a baeginner, while puting a lot of care in clarity, sound quality and loudness would make some "virtuosos" fall down.
Wow, 80 x 4, or even 70 x4, seems awfully fast for a "beginner".
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richardm
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by richardm » Thu May 19, 2016 9:02 pm

Wow, 80 x 4, or even 70 x4, seems awfully fast for a "beginner".
Agreed. Trinity College ask for 126bpm, two notes per click at Grade 8!

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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by leomoreira » Thu May 19, 2016 10:24 pm

Luis_Br wrote:Just my opinion.
I consider the following speed rates to play a fast scale. I don't check this in a lot minutes of sustained playing, but not a so short burst either. It should be at least a two-octave scale up and down in some position, like going up and down Villa's etude 7 first scale or a Segovian scale. I think someone who can play this really well shouldn't have problems sustaining it a bit longer.
Consider markings in bpm, 4-notes per click:
up to 80 - easy / beginner
80-120 - regular / intermediate
120-140 - good / intermediate to advanced
140-160 - very good / advanced
160-180 - excelent / technically ready
more than 180 - a true virtuoso / out of this Earth
It is also a bit subjective, might not be so perfeccionist with a baeginner, while puting a lot of care in clarity, sound quality and loudness would make some "virtuosos" fall down.
I completely agree!
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Mikkel » Thu May 19, 2016 11:38 pm

It is a very small part of the repertoire that requires sustained scale playing for a long time above tempo 135-145, and for solo recitals it is always possible to choose repertoire that is within the physical possibilities of the performer (also as regarding the left hand stretches). Getting 3 octave scales to 180 is hardly a requirement to be fast (generally anything around or faster than 16th at 140-150 is already very impressive if it's stable and smooth). Check out the guitar concertos that have fast scales, all the famous ones, if you can play the scales at the indicated tempo then you're set! (stay away from Rodrigos guitar duo concerto though - that piece is just ridiculos).

Also on the topic of tiriando/apoyando, many people will find that their tiriando tone will suffer if they shape their nails to accomodate fast apoyando scales and vice versa. Personally I never found a nail shape that encompasses both techniques and eventually decided to shape my nails for a good tiriando sound, some players (like Pepe Romero for instance) have fantastic apoyando sound but their tiriando is far less impressive (as compared to their own apoyando, not the tiriando of other lesser players!).

On a slightly different topic, the remarkable spanish guitarist Marco Socias once told me a story of how he was a judge and organizer at a competition. For the second round he made all the guitarists play a selection of studies by Sor. He said that half the otherwise "impressive and fast" players couldn't really do it objectively well. Food for thought. (Although this has nothing to do with "brute force" technique, rather with musical knowledge, sense of style, sensibility, phrasing, voicing etc. etc.)

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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu May 19, 2016 11:59 pm

I don't think anyone has ever played runs faster than Paco de Lucia. (See clip below for some mind-boggling runs.) There are others pretty close - Paco Cepero for one, and of course Grisha.

But does it really matter if Player A plays at incredible blinding speed, and Player B plays at incredible blinding speed plus a teenchy bit faster? The effect is the same. Player A plays - as Bream said - fast enough.

That said, the runs below are kinda scary . . .

Ramon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X6Vji2Cy-I
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by djajasoekarta » Fri May 20, 2016 2:18 pm

Mikkel wrote:.......(stay away from Rodrigos guitar duo concerto though - that piece is just ridiculos).
It seems to me, everything by Rodrigo is a kind of Scale galore :D
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Daires Roberto
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Daires Roberto » Fri May 20, 2016 3:10 pm

RichardUno wrote:Overheard at a Julian Bream masterclass:
Student to J.B.: "How fast can you play (scales)?"
J.B. : "Fast enough."
Very nice this answer.

Let change a bit the course of the discussion.

Seems a fascination discussion on speed. Why this?

No matter how many enemies a soldier kill, the the remembered name will be the name of a general or the king.

The most important is to be musical.

Speed ​​discussions are at the same level of how long a mason can make a wall.


I don´t want to be a musical mason, I want to be an architect or engineer musical.

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Mark Featherstone
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Mark Featherstone » Sat May 21, 2016 2:39 am

Daires Roberto wrote:
RichardUno wrote:Overheard at a Julian Bream masterclass:
Student to J.B.: "How fast can you play (scales)?"
J.B. : "Fast enough."
Very nice this answer.

Let change a bit the course of the discussion.

Seems a fascination discussion on speed. Why this?

No matter how many enemies a soldier kill, the the remembered name will be the name of a general or the king.

The most important is to be musical.

Speed ​​discussions are at the same level of how long a mason can make a wall.


I don´t want to be a musical mason, I want to be an architect or engineer musical.
To be fair (to me), my question had nothing to do with speed for speed's sake. Rather, I wanted to know what was expected at, say, beginner vs intermediate levels so as to be able to assess my progress. Of course, speed is one narrow aspect of technique that should never be considered in isolation. The most important thing is to be musical, yes. And sometimes the music will require speed as one attribute seamlessly integrated within the whole of artistic expression.
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JohnB
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by JohnB » Sat May 21, 2016 10:31 am

Out of curiosity I've just checked the recommended speeds for the two UK music exam boards (ABRSM and Trinity):

Code: Select all

Grade 	ABRSM 	Trinity
I			 48		 56
II			56		 62
III		  66		 70
IV			80		 82
V			 96		 92
VI			112		106
VII		  126		122
VIII		 144		136
The speeds are for 4 note groupings.
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TomPage
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by TomPage » Sun May 22, 2016 11:46 am

The original question is a good one. It is too bad scale speed questions always devolve into discussions of the merits of extreme speed. Most of us are interested in knowing whether our scale speed is sufficient to play the repertoire that is otherwise in our range, or is speed something we need to focus on more to get it in line.

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Mark Featherstone
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Mark Featherstone » Mon May 23, 2016 1:04 am

Very useful, JohnB. Thank you!

Exactly, Tom.
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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by John Ross » Mon May 23, 2016 6:27 pm

Daires Roberto wrote:Seems a fascination discussion on speed. Why this?
Speed is more difficult on the guitar than other instruments (though easier than others). And tempo including fast tempos is an essential part of being musical. If you play something vivace or allegro it has to be up to tempo, or else it's not vivace or allegro. If you play any kind of dance form, it's supposed to make people tap their feet, which it won't if it sounds like a dirge. If you can't keep up with the conductor's baton or the pace of the singer, you'll be fired. Rightly. It means you've been too lazy to put the work in, on scales, among other things. "Speed doesn't matter" is both false and a cop-out.

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Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Ramon Amira » Tue May 24, 2016 2:36 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:I don't think anyone has ever played runs faster than Paco de Lucia. (See clip below for some mind-boggling runs.) There are others pretty close - Paco Cepero for one, and of course Grisha.

But does it really matter if Player A plays at incredible blinding speed, and Player B plays at incredible blinding speed plus a teenchy bit faster? The effect is the same. Player A plays - as Bream said - fast enough.

That said, the runs below are kinda scary . . .

Ramon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X6Vji2Cy-I
I didn't bother to mention Sabicas, whose runs weren't exactly snail-like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp3f-c6NQsc - go to 3:45

Ramon
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