The Importance of Tremolo?

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.
Rognvald
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:16 pm

Johnny Geudel wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:32 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:43 pm
P.S. It is my personal belief that many defenders of tremolo do so because of the inordinate amount of time they have devoted to developing this technique with, in my opinion, negligible musical results. However, some like Vodka while others prefer Scotch. It's your choice.
It is exactly the opposite. Some guitarists hate the tremolo because they have invested an inordinate amount of time in it without result.

"...There's no doubt about it, the tremolo is one of the most beautiful effects on the guitar. But that's not the only reason we practice it.
We practice it because it is an absolutely honest diagnostic tool. It'll tell you precisely where you are in your level of mastery..." (" The art of virtuosity for guitar", Philip Hii).
Hi, Johnny,
In regards to your first statement, if a guitarist has devoted an inordinate amount of time to tremolo and has not achieved results he has either a physical fault in his RH that makes it impossible or he is practicing incorrectly. Everyone can achieve a "respectable" tremolo with proper technique and practice. I have found, as a generalization, that players with the best tremolo have thinner, longer fingers and more delicate hands while those with "sausages" are the ones who tend to struggle. Secondly, the above quote by Hii is his opinion and is not a codified law of Classical Guitarists. Lastly, the term "level of master" is a highly subjective term. There are some guitarists who are famous and considered "masters" that leave me dead as a fish when I hear them play where they have highly evolved technical skills and the musicality of an aardvark. However . . . did I tell you the story about an aardvark that went to see the Mona Lisa??? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

MaritimeGuitarist
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:45 am
Location: Saint John, NB

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:53 pm

Rognvald
I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that there’s a debate that acquiring tremolo means that you’ve somehow ‘arrived’ as a guitarist. It obviously does not. It’s one technique among many—and likely not the biggest roadblock aspiring players will face. Anyone who believes such has a pretty narrow view of the instrument. Ignoring it does mean that you are cutting yourself off from a portion of the standard CG repertoire. If you don’t like those pieces that’s fine, don’t play them. I do think it’s used in enough repertoire as to elevate it’s status from mere trick to an accepted, valid technique, however. viewtopic.php?t=103479 Take a look at this thread, are you willing to write off all of the listed works of these composers as simple trickery?

Not sure why you think people believe tremolo defines the instrument or an artist either. Can you point me to the thread on this? It obviously does not, but simply because long sustained melodies are not natural expressions in the instrument (as you put it) does not invalidate or diminish the technique as an expressive device. Flute/Sax--you describe sustain and vibrato as natural expressions of these instruments. Are you suggesting that that one should not play short staccato notes on these instruments because, after all, they’re not “natural expressions of the instrument(s).”

“There are some guitarists who are famous and considered "masters" that leave me dead as a fish when I hear them play where they have highly evolved technical skills and the musicality of an aardvark.” Agreed!! On the flip side, I’ve heard players who lacked the technical skills be musical-or at least live up to their expressive potential. We can’t downplay one over the other, the best guitarists have both.

Is tremolo necessary to be considered a competent guitarist? Depends what you mean by competent. If you consider ‘competent’ to be as subjective as you suggest the term ‘master’ is, then the only person that can answer that question is you.

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:11 am

Rognvald wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:16 pm
Johnny Geudel wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:32 pm

"...There's no doubt about it, the tremolo is one of the most beautiful effects on the guitar. But that's not the only reason we practice it.
We practice it because it is an absolutely honest diagnostic tool. It'll tell you precisely where you are in your level of mastery..." (" The art of virtuosity for guitar", Philip Hii).
... I have found, as a generalization, that players with the best tremolo have thinner, longer fingers and more delicate hands while those with "sausages" are the ones who tend to struggle. Secondly, the above quote by Hii is his opinion and is not a codified law of Classical Guitarists. Playing again . . . Rognvald
Dude...step away from the keyboard. Seriously.

llch
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:07 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by llch » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:00 am

It is not the hardest technique in my opinion, it is a technique and does not encover everything. However, showing that you have good tremolo shows you have placed some time into it. It is entirely possible to place quite some time into it without results - "see effective practicing methods". However, to entirely discard it is like throwing baby with the bath tub - just sit back, relax and enjoy it!

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:58 am

" If, for any given population of guitar players, it is necessary to identify the subset of delusional crackpots, it is invariably sufficient to start a thread on the tremolo technique."

Vladimir Bosicovich, " Fundamentals of tremolo technique", Moskou, 2013.

Rasputin
Posts: 420
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:38 am

Rognvald wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:16 pm
I have found, as a generalization, that players with the best tremolo have thinner, longer fingers and more delicate hands while those with "sausages" are the ones who tend to struggle.
Interesting observation... Segovia had sausage fingers but I thought his tremolo was just fine. Yepes was a bit sausagey as well. Some people with long thin fingers certainly have excellent tremolos, but I am not really seeing a pattern here.

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 935
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by guitarrista » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:57 am

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:38 am
Rognvald wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:16 pm
I have found, as a generalization, that players with the best tremolo have thinner, longer fingers and more delicate hands while those with "sausages" are the ones who tend to struggle.
Interesting observation... Segovia had sausage fingers but I thought his tremolo was just fine. Yepes was a bit sausagey as well. Some people with long thin fingers certainly have excellent tremolos, but I am not really seeing a pattern here.
I don't buy it either. Thickness of fingers is a characteristic which varies orthogonally to the directions fingers are used for tremolo (and for guitar playing in general), so it can't have much of an effect on that.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Rognvald
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:45 pm

" don’t know where you’re getting the idea that there’s a debate that acquiring tremolo means that you’ve somehow ‘arrived’ as a guitarist. It obviously does not. It’s one technique among many—and likely not the biggest roadblock aspiring players will face. Anyone who believes such has a pretty narrow view of the instrument." Maritime

Yes, I agree but it has been stated by some in this subject that it is a necessary tool for a complete guitarist.

"Not sure why you think people believe tremolo defines the instrument or an artist either. Can you point me to the thread on this? It obviously does not, but simply because long sustained melodies are not natural expressions in the instrument (as you put it) does not invalidate or diminish the technique as an expressive device. Flute/Sax--you describe sustain and vibrato as natural expressions of these instruments. Are you suggesting that that one should not play short staccato notes on these instruments because, after all, they’re not “natural expressions of the instrument(s).” Maritime

Sentence one: I don't believe it but there are those who certainly do. Stephen writes in this thread: "In my experience, most, probably all serious, high-end players/teachers would say even if one never intended to actually play a tremolo piece, a good tremolo technique is worth having because of the control in engenders. And few such would ever consider a player 'complete' unless they are able to choose to play Recuerdos or any of the various others. " Lastly, in regards to woodwind instruments, I disagree completely since both staccato and legato are perfectly natural(not contrived to achieve an effect) to these instruments and, therefore, your comparison of staccato and tremolo does not work for me.

"Dude...step away from the keyboard. Seriously." Johnny

Well, Johnny, your articulate use of language certainly shows you have arrived as a sentient being. In all things academic, there are always proponents and detractors to any issue and this, of course, is part and parcel to intelligent debate. Contrawise, for those who oppose your viewpoint and offer a different perspective and are deemed "delusional crackpots" shows a lack of serious intent on your part and has no place in an academic discussion. This mentality is better served at your local pub talking to people who share your social skills and viewpoint of dissenting opinion.

Finally, this has been a good discussion for me since it has fleshed out many preconceived notions concerning tremolo. Music is many things to many people and we all have our opinions and prejudices. For those of us who have studied with many competent teachers and have played professionally, we have a different view of Music and differing beliefs from those who are fledgling initiates and feeling their way in the genre. However, based on my experience, tremolo is considered by many to be a necessary tool for a "complete" classical guitarist. I don't agree.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:15 pm

If that logorrhea is academic, then I am the prime minister of Japan.
Last edited by Johnny Geudel on Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rognvald
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:42 pm

Johnny Geudel wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:15 pm
If that logorrhoea is academic, then I am the prime minister of Japan.
Geez, Johnny,
You're not only a music critic but also a psychologist?. . . albeit with the talent of disallowing any opinions that are contrary to your own. It's amazing the talents and qualities one can possess when they hide behind a computer screen. As an aside, the only adults I know with the name of John that call themselves "Johnny" live in the Southern United States and are fans of NASCAR and Budweiser beer. But, I'm sure you're the exception, Johnny! Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:12 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:45 pm
... However, based on my experience, tremolo is considered by many to be a necessary tool for a "complete" classical guitarist. I don't agree.
Well it is of course all opinion, and we can all remember to respect others' opinions, and when ours are contradicted, not just keep re-stating our own.

I would point out though that since tremolo is a guitar technique, and it is used in several well known and important repertoire items (not just Recuerdos!) really by definition, a complete technique has to incorporate tremolo - or not be complete. I certainly do not regard my technique as complete, because my tremolo is well below par and while in the past I have performed Regondi Nocturne Reverie and of course Recuerdos, and all three of my efforts in the genre, I would not normally do so now, and feel that is a restriction and impairment of my capability ... an incompletion, so to speak.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

Rognvald
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:06 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:12 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:45 pm
... However, based on my experience, tremolo is considered by many to be a necessary tool for a "complete" classical guitarist. I don't agree.
Well it is of course all opinion, and we can all remember to respect others' opinions, and when ours are contradicted, not just keep re-stating our own.

I would point out though that since tremolo is a guitar technique, and it is used in several well known and important repertoire items (not just Recuerdos!) really by definition, a complete technique has to incorporate tremolo - or not be complete. I certainly do not regard my technique as complete, because my tremolo is well below par and while in the past I have performed Regondi Nocturne Reverie and of course Recuerdos, and all three of my efforts in the genre, I would not normally do so now, and feel that is a restriction and impairment of my capability ... an incompletion, so to speak.
Well said, Stephen . . .with clarity and in the manner of a gentleman. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

MaritimeGuitarist
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:45 am
Location: Saint John, NB

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:46 pm

My point was not compare tremolo to staccato. I was attempting to point out that there is no objective criteria for defining the "natural expression of instruments." Therefore, to argue against the value of tremolo using this as a premise is not valid.
Further, even if we do accept your premise, history is full of composers (some of the greatest) who pushed instruments well past what both the general public and musical elite accepted as 'natural'. How boring would music be if they didn't? Are you suggesting that composers should stick within the confines of what is natural (whatever that is...)?

Rognvald
Posts: 156
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:57 pm

"My point was not compare tremolo to staccato. I was attempting to point out that there is no objective criteria for defining the "natural expression of instruments." Therefore, to argue against the value of tremolo using this as a premise is not valid. " Maritimeguitarist


M,
If there is no objective criteria for defining the natural expression of instruments, then we must disregard the last 300 years of symphonic music and the composer's intimate knowledge of the uniqueness, timbre, range, tone, pitch, and loudness of each instrument group: brass, woodwinds, stringed and percussive. How could a composer possibly write anything of value without knowing these differences and the "natural expression of the instruments." Wagnerian horn passages could not possibly be played by the strings since the effect would not be the same. The lyrical sonority of the violin/cello cannot be duplicated by the trumpet. The 1st Movement of Beethoven's Fifth would not have its impact if it were played by the woodwinds. If there is no "natural expression of instruments," then we are truly living somewhere in the Fifth Dimension. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1530
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:05 am

"then we are truly living somewhere in the Fifth Dimension."

Where bellbottoms and Nehru jackets reign supreme. And so do the Supremes!
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”