Yisrael van Handel wrote:RobMacKillop wrote:Well, he had a shorter string length and lighter strings...
Rob, how much difference does shorter string length really make? I have always heard that it is supposed to explain why Aguado's music is so difficult, with big stretches. But we have Aguado's guitar (in a museum in Paris) and the string length is 648 mm. Even if Sor's guitar was 630 mm, that only makes 4.5 mm difference in the distance from the 1st fret to the 4th fret. It is not nothing, but I have increased by horizontal reach by probably more than that by just a slight change in the way I sit. I now use the Stanley Yates position (left foot straight forward, guitar to the right of the body and held very high--nut level with ear), and elbow slightly forward of natural position; rather than the Aaron Shearer position that I learned 40 years ago (left foot to the left, guitar held to the left of the body). It is actually the elbow forward that imporves the reach. Of course, their fingerboard was about 2 mm narrower from 1st string to 6th string. It all adds up. But does it really explain how they played very difficult reaches? You can judge better than I can, because you have the guitars to check.
You can make a difference in your horizontal stretch but where do you go after that? You can push the hand anatomy so far, then it hits a wall.
Even though 4 mm's doesn't sound very much (more with the fretboard width) to someone who has small hands it can make for a significant difference. It's not just the stretches either, even 'small' chords feel more comfortable. Don't underestimate that aspect because it allows the left hand a recovery period. That's the real difficulty with Sor's Op 29 No 13, it's a bit relentless, the left hand rarely has much time to recover.