Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by lacatedral » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:11 pm

Hi I just found out this book by Segovia, I was wondering some few questions:

1) Does these scales have any sustancial difference with Carlevaro's book number 1 (the one with scales)? I find that both books' premise is the same, gradually work in 24 scales wiith shifting positions. A minor difference I find in "segovian scales" are that he preffers not to use any open string.
I previously worked on Carlevaro, so I'm not sure if it's really worth buying it (I read instead a free sample on Scribd).

2) The scales open with the following statement: "Practice each scale apoyando seven times as indicated below: i m, mi, etc...", when he says "apoyando" it means rest stroke. So Segovia intended the scales to be studied only with rest stroke? I find studying them with free stroke more productive as it is more used, and then alternating to apoyando.

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Re: Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:21 pm

I don't know the Carlevaro scales, but would suggest that you may find too many books of basically the same thing less useful, so long as the one thing you are working on is well worked out and gives a reasonably comprehensive set of fingers and techniques.

Re apoyando vs tirando for scales, yes of course practise them with both techniques, working on your weaknesses, playing with your strengths. You may find for instance that doing some of the more extreme combinations of RH fingers with apoyando is harder than tirando - if so, great, there's a reason for that and its something to work on; challenges are your friend.

Re both the Carlevaro and Segovia scales you may also consider that both are fairly ancient in pedagogical terms, and newer versions may offer better worked out ways of approaching things, perhaps especially in the matter of argeggios. I normally recommend the scales books by ABRSM.
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Re: Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by hpaulj » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:19 pm

Daniel Nistico, has tried to highlight J. K.Mertz scales (from his School For Guitar, Boije 1136)

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Re: Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by RonT » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:50 pm

I'm just getting back to playing classical guitar. I studied in my early 20's and learned the Segovia Scales. For years I played in blues bands and jam bands but even on my electric guitar I always practiced and adapted the Segovia scales and moved most of them to be in the 3 octave format. I also learned all sorts of other scales/modes...etc but the Segovia scales are the ones that opened up the fretboard to me and taught me where every note is on the instrument. Previous to that I thought of them in shapes and boxes as most who explore electric blues end up doing...

All other scales and modes are just adaptations of the major and minor scale and that is what I learned from the Segovia scales...

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Re: Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by doebringer » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:02 pm

One of the things I think a lot of guitarists don't realize with the Segovia scales is that they have incorporated into them position shifts in many different places across the fingerboard. Quick, relaxed, and accurate shifting such that a listener can't hear the shift is great practice for almost any intermediate or advanced piece.

Keeping the sound and rhythm consistent for each individual line of music, even when the hand is shifting is a subtle thing that can really take one's playing to the next level.

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Re: Question regarding Segovia's scales.

Post by KevinCollins » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm

The basis of the Segovia technique is (rest stroke) scale playing, as compared to, say, Giuliani, which was (free stroke) arpeggio playing. The purpose is to even out the sound, i.e. the differences between the fingers and the constraints in the hands. Segovia advocated 2 hours a day. These days, no one has that kind of time, so we had to look down there and make the constraints work for us, rather than trying to even them out with 2 hours of warm-ups. There is lots about this on the forum, search for release & exchange.

Segovia's fingerings themselves are based on violin technique, namely big shifts. Segovia's mission was to elevate the guitar's acceptance to the conservatory level and he borrowed heavily from the violin, with its 250 year tradition. However, the violin is much smaller than the guitar and what would be an easy shift on the violin is a big leap on the guitar. There is also the issue of the shift on the leading tone, ascending and descending, not musical. They served their purpose.

The main thing is to have a fingering that is so ingrained that you don't have to pay attention to the left hand, because scales are a sound study and your attention should be on the right hand. If you are learning release & exchange, they are probably way too busy for that. But, in general, they work okay.

My teacher published another set of fingerings based on putting the shift on the side of the hand in the direction you are going, that's interesting. You can order it from GSP, he posts the lessons from his books free here ... d-provost/. Lots of people use his ideas, Tennant, Barrueco, York, those guys.

When I was coming up, though, we played the Segovia. So, what do you do with the fingerings. At the 1968 Segovia class. Jose Tomas, Segovia's top protege (who never left Spain, hated to travel), handed out these scale rhythms to practice, q = 60, resting heartbeat. Here you go, the famous Segovia C-scale --

Segovia-Tomas Scale Practice Rhythms
They aren't special, all the instruments use them. Play them as a continuous piece of music, without pausing between. When I teach these, I start with the four sixteenth notes half-speed, then add the other sixteenth note rhythms, 2x, 3x + 1, 1x + 3, to establish strict alternation. And playing four notes gives you time to set up the left hand. Once that is established, ingrained, I start at the top. Remember, scales are a sound study, and where does the sound come from? That is correct, the right hand.

Happy fingers to you!


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