How fast is a fast scale?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
Robbie Flamerock
Posts: 579
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:24 am

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Wed May 25, 2016 8:19 pm

John Ross wrote:
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.
I agree. Some styles necessitate speed. And if the composer asked for speed, that's what it will take to play that piece!

Robbie Flamerock
Posts: 579
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:24 am

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Wed May 25, 2016 8:20 pm

But I've seen people that have tons of speed and leak in repertoire. That's probably because it takes so much time to develop speed!

Robbie Flamerock
Posts: 579
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:24 am

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Wed May 25, 2016 8:20 pm

Lack in repertoire is what I meant.

User avatar
Debussychopin
Posts: 546
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:00 am
Location: Orange County, California

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Debussychopin » Wed May 25, 2016 9:31 pm

John Ross wrote: 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.
Thank you . I appreciate those who recognize what it takes to achieve art. I get this a lot in the piano world.

" i dont do this bc this or that , i dont believe in it, this i dont do or i do this way only bc i strongly believe blah blah"

yeah . cop out.
just be honest!

"I cant do that bc I am not there yet. but if i put in effort and time and discipline. I can achieve it! and if I dont, I wont!"

How much more refreshing life would be if we all would be able to be honest with ourselves.

Yamaha GL1

riffmeister
Posts: 4142
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by riffmeister » Thu May 26, 2016 12:12 am

A fast scale is faster than a slow or even medium speed scale, but not as fast as a very fast scale.

Ramon Amira
Teacher
Posts: 2968
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu May 26, 2016 5:55 pm

riffmeister wrote:A fast scale is faster than a slow or even medium speed scale, but not as fast as a very fast scale.
Exactly. But as I said earlier, there comes a point of diminishing returns, or irrelevant returns. Yes, there is definitely a difference between a fast scale and a very fast scale, but for all practical purposes is there really any difference between an unbelievably blinding speed scale and an unbelievably blinding speed scale a teenchy weenchy bit faster.

Ramon
Classical and Flamenco guitar lessons via Skype worldwide - Classical and Flamenco guitars from Spain

chien buggle
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:43 pm
Location: Dublin Ireland

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by chien buggle » Thu May 26, 2016 8:23 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:
riffmeister wrote:A fast scale is faster than a slow or even medium speed scale, but not as fast as a very fast scale.
Exactly. But as I said earlier, there comes a point of diminishing returns, or irrelevant returns. Yes, there is definitely a difference between a fast scale and a very fast scale, but for all practical purposes is there really any difference between an unbelievably blinding speed scale and an unbelievably blinding speed scale a teenchy weenchy bit faster.

Ramon

yes

Ramon Amira
Teacher
Posts: 2968
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Ramon Amira » Thu May 26, 2016 9:25 pm

chien buggle wrote:
Ramon Amira wrote:
riffmeister wrote:A fast scale is faster than a slow or even medium speed scale, but not as fast as a very fast scale.
Exactly. But as I said earlier, there comes a point of diminishing returns, or irrelevant returns. Yes, there is definitely a difference between a fast scale and a very fast scale, but for all practical purposes is there really any difference between an unbelievably blinding speed scale and an unbelievably blinding speed scale a teenchy weenchy bit faster.

Ramon

yes
The only difference is maybe in bragging rights. Incredible blinding speed is incredible blinding speed, period. It doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to the music in overall effect in any musical context where speed might be called for.

Ramon
Classical and Flamenco guitar lessons via Skype worldwide - Classical and Flamenco guitars from Spain

riffmeister
Posts: 4142
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by riffmeister » Thu May 26, 2016 11:36 pm

Ramon Amira wrote:
chien buggle wrote:
Ramon Amira wrote:
Exactly. But as I said earlier, there comes a point of diminishing returns, or irrelevant returns. Yes, there is definitely a difference between a fast scale and a very fast scale, but for all practical purposes is there really any difference between an unbelievably blinding speed scale and an unbelievably blinding speed scale a teenchy weenchy bit faster.

Ramon

yes
The only difference is maybe in bragging rights. Incredible blinding speed is incredible blinding speed, period. It doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to the music in overall effect in any musical context where speed might be called for.

Ramon
More is better. And yes, I am an American. :lol:

User avatar
bacsidoan
Posts: 2351
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 1:59 am

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by bacsidoan » Fri May 27, 2016 12:17 am

Fast enough to make a fellow player jealous or awestruck.
Ramon Amira wrote:
chien buggle wrote:
Ramon Amira wrote:
Exactly. But as I said earlier, there comes a point of diminishing returns, or irrelevant returns. Yes, there is definitely a difference between a fast scale and a very fast scale, but for all practical purposes is there really any difference between an unbelievably blinding speed scale and an unbelievably blinding speed scale a teenchy weenchy bit faster.

Ramon

yes
The only difference is maybe in bragging rights. Incredible blinding speed is incredible blinding speed, period. It doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to the music in overall effect in any musical context where speed might be called for.

Ramon
Admit it Ramon, you want to be as fast as Paco.

Ramon Amira
Teacher
Posts: 2968
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
Location: New York City

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Ramon Amira » Fri May 27, 2016 4:32 am

Not really, though if I could wave a magic wand and be as fast as Paco I would take it. But though I can play runs pretty fast, I would settle for Sabicas' speed. Really, as I said, blinding speed is fast enough.

It's fun to watch Paco's runs and go "oooooh," but in the end one goes "oooooh" just as well at Sabicas, Paco Cepero, Grishsa, and others. And the fact is anyway, that there are relatively few places where you can turn speed on. Here and there in classical, and even in flamenco, where you would expect more opportunity, the fact is that there are only a few palos where you can use great speed.

There is a misconception about flamenco - that it is played "fast." The truth is - notwithstanding that you mostly hear flamenco played fast - that the majority of palos are more of an introspective nature, and should be played at a moderate to slow tempo depending on the palo. This includes Siguiriyas, Soleares, all of the "toque libre" (free time) palos - Granadinas, Malaguenas, Tarantas, also Tientos, Peteneras, Farruca . . . You can turn on all the speed you want throughout in Bulerias, Zapateado . . . to a certain degree in Alegrias. But even though Alegrias goes reasonably fast, it isn't generally played at breakneck speed. Same for Sevillanas. Like Alegrias, it just needs to be lively.

To recur to my original point, I consider "unbelievable blinding speed" to be an absolute term, and as such does not admit of degrees.

Ramon
Classical and Flamenco guitar lessons via Skype worldwide - Classical and Flamenco guitars from Spain

User avatar
Mark Featherstone
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:26 pm
Location: Singapore

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Mark Featherstone » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:32 am

Just want to push this a little bit further. Posters have given me a good idea of how to gauge my progress. (Thanks!) What I'm wondering is whether I should assume that I am aiming at a given speed for all possible two-finger alternations. In other words, if I'm aiming for 140 bpm, 4 notes per beat, should I be practicing all of these: i-m, m-i, m-a, a-m, i-a, a-i? Should I assume that I have not reached a given speed if I cannot play at that speed for all these alternations? Obviously, i-m and m-i are easiest, and i-a and a-i are the most difficult.
Francisco Navarro Concert Classical, cedar top, 630 mm scale, 50 mm nut

"The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."
Bruce Cockburn

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6555
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:19 pm

If you can get a-m at 140 BPM I think it's safe to say that you are doing extremely well.
Historicalguitars.

FJ25

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by FJ25 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:07 pm

Mark Featherstone wrote:What I'm wondering is whether I should assume that I am aiming at a given speed for all possible two-finger alternations.
I am just starting out but had been wondering the same thing.

I suppose it's a question of how often you come across fast passages that don't lend themselves to im or mi.

It would be so useful to have a list of fast passages in the core repertoire so as to be able to judge how much speed really is enough, and how often you have to use a more difficult combination.

In one of glassynails' posts a fast passage in sueno en la floresta was mentioned. I know there is another one at the end of serenata espanola as well (and a similar one in the middle). I found the sheet music for SELF and that passage does not require a, as long as you don't mind crossing strings the wrong way. I don't know about serenata espanola... so not much use just yet in terms of answering your question, but FWIW that is how I have been trying to figure it out.

Another question would be whether the fastest players stick with a particular combination, like people seem to do with tremolo, or whether they can do it any which way.

User avatar
markodarko
Posts: 1879
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:41 pm
Location: Leyenda-On-Sea

Re: How fast is a fast scale?

Post by markodarko » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:30 pm

Mark Featherstone wrote:if I'm aiming for 140 bpm, 4 notes per beat, should I be practicing all of these: i-m, m-i, m-a, a-m, i-a, a-i?
You should definitely be practicing all finger combinations as it'll aid to free up your RH, but...
Mark Featherstone wrote:Should I assume that I have not reached a given speed if I cannot play at that speed for all these alternations?
No. Use different measurements for the different finger groups.
Mark Featherstone wrote:Obviously, i-m and m-i are easiest, and i-a and a-i are the most difficult.
That's most interesting because my IM and IA are pretty much identical in speed, it's the AM that's slower for me.

Cheers,

Mark.
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”