Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:26 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:52 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:57 pm
...
Therefore my personal experience (and while playing guitar 50 years I tried and used all kind of ways and played in "classical" position for many years too) confirming that "standard" opinion regarding "standard position" ...is just... taboo...
Yes, your experience is yours to own. Its still is not a taboo to not sit in the standard way, its to do with the way others, other than yourself, have found desirable, effective, to such a high degree of probability that other methods are vanishingly rare and it takes an individualist (like yourself) to benefit from another approach. I have tried, hard, to play standing up, and found it didn't work for me. I do not say that playing standing is taboo, and I'm happy that it works for you, and a few others.
Thanks for your comment, Stephen!
no..
not mine.
Absolute majority of guitar players (electric, acoustic, fingerstyle, country, mariachi, folk etc.) play standing with strap...
And they fell fine...
and sure, thanks - I am not alone playing classical guitar standing - there are others too.
But until it will be MUST to sit in "standard" position in all schools exams and even concerts - taboo will continue :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:47 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:26 pm
...
Absolute majority of guitar players (electric, acoustic, fingerstyle, country, mariachi, folk etc.) play standing with strap...
And they fell fine...
and sure, thanks - I am not alone playing classical guitar standing - there are others too.
But until it will be MUST to sit in "standard" position in all schools exams and even concerts - taboo will continue :)
Well if you are going to move the goal posts, that's not cricket … we are talking about a small subset of guitar players, not the whole world. Electric players have the advantage that the guitar is relatively thin, and the bulk of what is played on the other types is simple enough that posture does not make the difference between success and its absence. (I do play and teach both electric and acoustic and always the direction is towards playing standing up.) Yes there are plenty of exceptions in that world and good luck to them, though I can think of a few who prefer to be seated, for stability in the main.
I think you are either misunderstanding or at least misapplying the word 'taboo', but its clearly beyond my wit to get that over.
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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:40 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:47 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:26 pm
...
Absolute majority of guitar players (electric, acoustic, fingerstyle, country, mariachi, folk etc.) play standing with strap...
And they fell fine...
and sure, thanks - I am not alone playing classical guitar standing - there are others too.
But until it will be MUST to sit in "standard" position in all schools exams and even concerts - taboo will continue :)
Well if you are going to move the goal posts, that's not cricket … we are talking about a small subset of guitar players, not the whole world. Electric players have the advantage that the guitar is relatively thin, and the bulk of what is played on the other types is simple enough that posture does not make the difference between success and its absence. (I do play and teach both electric and acoustic and always the direction is towards playing standing up.) Yes there are plenty of exceptions in that world and good luck to them, though I can think of a few who prefer to be seated, for stability in the main.
I think you are either misunderstanding or at least misapplying the word 'taboo', but its clearly beyond my wit to get that over.
from Wikipedia:
"A taboo is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake.[1][2] Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.[1] The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs, or cultural norms.[citation needed] "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable ..."

Isn't it a really good description of things about opinion/belief which dominates classical guitar culture/society relating to subject that we are discussing here?
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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robin loops
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by robin loops » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:09 pm

I didn't see prohibition for reasons of 'human physiology and ergonomics' in that definition. Things that are preferred because they actually work the best for the majority of cases don't fall into the category of 'taboos'. So I'd have to say, "No, that is in no way a good description of tried and true methods of classical technique". That's not to say that things outside of 'classical technique' (aka contemporary technique) won't work for some, for the reproduction of classical music, and therefore doesn't even loosely fall into the category of taboo. They simply just don't fall into the category of 'classical technique', which isn't to say they don't have merit or some benefit for some or many.

From Merriam Webster (dictionary)
"classical: of, relating to, or being music in the educated European tradition that includes such forms as art song, chamber music, opera, and symphony as distinguished from folk or popular music or jazz"
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:13 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:40 pm
...
from Wikipedia:
"A taboo is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake.[1][2] Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.[1] The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs, or cultural norms.[citation needed] "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable ..."

Isn't it a really good description of things about opinion/belief which dominates classical guitar culture/society relating to subject that we are discussing here?
Nope, because its a purely practical matter; if you want to get a certain result you do a particular thing, and if by some rare happenstance you happen to need to do a different thing to get that result, then you do that different thing. Then if you are signing up for an education you have to expect to be guided by various means to work to do it the way you are most likely to benefit, and then maybe one day it will happen that you will under your own guidance find a different way, and if you are good enough perhaps that way will spread and pretty much everybody will do it and consider it the new normal.
Players used to try many different sitting/standing positions and doubtless it worked for many but then for various reasons - mainly, increase in technical demands, and concern for tone quality, along with increase in guitar body size in my view - one or two players came forward who were good enough to influence everybody, and they used a footstool and were called Tarrega and Segovia*, and effectively everybody found that way was best for them until they didn't anymore and some players started using cushions and other guitar rests and some people even started standing up with a strap, for reasons they can explain and demonstrate the benefits of if they like, please do, but it doesn't change the fact that for many standing up doesn't work.
So its a practical, not a value or moral question; does it work? We might say there is a classical guitar taboo against metal strings, but no its a practical question because the sound is different, and nails are unlikely to survive so many players would never go there. If the taste in tone, and the use of nails, changed sufficiently in the coming decades that players and audiences started wanting metal strings in classical guitar music, it could happen, probably if somebody good enough came along to act as catalyst.
The Wikipedia entry cited really doesn't compute here. A taboo of a purely practical nature might be incest, where we can clearly understand the reason its a bad idea, and most if not all cultures have long had that taboo, whether they arrived at it after the practical results became clear they just thought it was icky who knows. Pretty much all the other usual kinds of taboo are arbitrary and arise from some variety of cultural artefact lost in the mists of time, e.g. are fundamentally irrational. An example of taboo within our sphere might be Segovia's antipathy to amplification; he couldn't understand how it could have been of assistance in his concertos etc, but even here, one can see that there is a germ of rationality if we think of him growing up in a time when amplification was largely extremely poor quality, and was associated with the pop music he detested and did not want to allow to be associated with his art.

* yes I know neither was the first to use a footstool.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by Susil » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:22 pm

rdebashis wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:27 am
Hi,

I am planning to take the Trinity exam for classical guitar during June/July 2018. I have a question regarding the posture.
It appears the sitting posture is mandatory for classical guitar.
Is it also mandatory to hold the guitar at an angle of 45 degrees, with the body supported between the legs or can I play with the fret board in horizontal position with the body supported by one thigh?

Anyone tried this posture at the Trinity exam so far? Is that allowed?

Best wishes,
- Debashis
This thread is probably drifting away from the initial question somewhat, and I'll leave the wider debate to the more experienced folks here.

However I can attest that it can certainly be picked up on by Trinity examiners, whether or not they're a specialist. I had a student last year enter his Trinity Grade 2 - he was very resistant to the left leg posture, to the point of sitting in a pop/right leg fashion for the exam as well. This was picked up in the 'additional comments' box, where the examiner wrote something along the lines of "may I direct your attention to the requirement in the syllabus to use a footstool" (the one that's been quoted in this thread already).

What wasn't clear was if this had affected his marks in any way. The general gist of the comment was critical so it's possible that it may have prompted the examiner to be overall less generous in giving out marks for technique. The student in question did pass so it's presumably not a capital offence - but as others have pointed out, as well as the many benefits of traditional posture, why risk losing out on marks?

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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:12 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:13 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:40 pm
...
from Wikipedia:
"A taboo is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake.[1][2] Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.[1] The word has been somewhat expanded in the social sciences to strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs, or cultural norms.[citation needed] "Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable ..."

Isn't it a really good description of things about opinion/belief which dominates classical guitar culture/society relating to subject that we are discussing here?
Nope, because its a purely practical matter; if you want to get a certain result you do a particular thing, and if by some rare happenstance you happen to need to do a different thing to get that result, then you do that different thing. Then if you are signing up for an education you have to expect to be guided by various means to work to do it the way you are most likely to benefit, and then maybe one day it will happen that you will under your own guidance find a different way, and if you are good enough perhaps that way will spread and pretty much everybody will do it and consider it the new normal.
Players used to try many different sitting/standing positions and doubtless it worked for many but then for various reasons - mainly, increase in technical demands, and concern for tone quality, along with increase in guitar body size in my view - one or two players came forward who were good enough to influence everybody, and they used a footstool and were called Tarrega and Segovia*, and effectively everybody found that way was best for them until they didn't anymore and some players started using cushions and other guitar rests and some people even started standing up with a strap, for reasons they can explain and demonstrate the benefits of if they like, please do, but it doesn't change the fact that for many standing up doesn't work.
So its a practical, not a value or moral question; does it work? We might say there is a classical guitar taboo against metal strings, but no its a practical question because the sound is different, and nails are unlikely to survive so many players would never go there. If the taste in tone, and the use of nails, changed sufficiently in the coming decades that players and audiences started wanting metal strings in classical guitar music, it could happen, probably if somebody good enough came along to act as catalyst.
The Wikipedia entry cited really doesn't compute here. A taboo of a purely practical nature might be incest, where we can clearly understand the reason its a bad idea, and most if not all cultures have long had that taboo, whether they arrived at it after the practical results became clear they just thought it was icky who knows. Pretty much all the other usual kinds of taboo are arbitrary and arise from some variety of cultural artefact lost in the mists of time, e.g. are fundamentally irrational. An example of taboo within our sphere might be Segovia's antipathy to amplification; he couldn't understand how it could have been of assistance in his concertos etc, but even here, one can see that there is a germ of rationality if we think of him growing up in a time when amplification was largely extremely poor quality, and was associated with the pop music he detested and did not want to allow to be associated with his art.

* yes I know neither was the first to use a footstool.
Thanks for your answer, Stephen!
Certainly people could use position (sitting, standing, etc , whatever) which works for them best!
But... this topic clearly shows that all other positions, rather than ergonomically difficult "standard" sitting with footstool (which could and does create different back and other health issues) are rejected.
It shows clear "moral" judgement on the side of examiner since examiner give certain mark, according to the position used.
And it is not particular examiner only position in this case, but the position of the "classical guitar" folks in general...
That is why, yes it is a Taboo :)
And by the way most of the people do not understand and do not question taboo...
and taboo is not something to which you or one could give a "rational" basis...
Taboo is a part of our human "religious" psyche... Our "recognized" leaders in all areas of life creating all kind of taboos all the time throughout our human history, and we follow without real rational consideration. Just authority and reputation of "great teachers" usually enough to put down any questions and doubts for absolute majority.
It is certainly a useless discussion, and please forgive me for sharing my thoughts !
Thanks!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:20 pm

I don't think the examiner can be at fault for having regard to the syllabus.

As for whether the requirement should be in the syllabus in the first place, I can understand the view that the candidate should only be judged on musical results, but I also think it makes sense to insist that candidates use a tried and tested method until they have enough experience to judge for themselves - after a bit of experimentation - whether it is worth switching to something less orthodox.

I wonder whether the same requirement appears in the syllabus for the more advanced certificates.

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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by Kevin Cowen » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:51 pm

rdebashis wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:27 am
Hi,

I am planning to take the Trinity exam for classical guitar during June/July 2018. I have a question regarding the posture.
It appears the sitting posture is mandatory for classical guitar.
Is it also mandatory to hold the guitar at an angle of 45 degrees, with the body supported between the legs or can I play with the fret board in horizontal position with the body supported by one thigh?

Anyone tried this posture at the Trinity exam so far? Is that allowed?

Best wishes,
- Debashis
Is there any chance you could reply to people who have taken the time to offer advice?

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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by PeteJ » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:23 pm

I do not sit in the standard position and prefer to just sit normally. This means the neck is pretty much horizontal. This is not taboo, just an inefficient way of playing. If I were a serious classical player I would not do this. Hand movements are less efficient and more tense, tone production is harder to vary, muscles in the LH are contorted unnecessarily etc etc. There are some upsides but they don't include having ones hands in a better position. Different positions are not taboo just less effective. Nobody criticises Chet Atkins for playing Recuerdos without a footstool, but he uses a flat RH position that won't work for a lot of CG music.

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Re: Is vertical guitar posture mandatory for Trinity exams

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:21 pm

rdebashis wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:27 am
Hi,

I am planning to take the Trinity exam for classical guitar during June/July 2018. I have a question regarding the posture.
It appears the sitting posture is mandatory for classical guitar.
Is it also mandatory to hold the guitar at an angle of 45 degrees, with the body supported between the legs or can I play with the fret board in horizontal position with the body supported by one thigh?

Anyone tried this posture at the Trinity exam so far? Is that allowed?

Best wishes,
- Debashis
I wrote a lot in this topic, but.. not regarding this original question:
This position,with neck parallel to the floor could be even worse for one's back (and health etc) than "standard" position...therefore if I will be examiner I certainly will evaluate playing itself, but would suggest to the player that he probably have to find position more suitable for his hands and fingers than this one... :)
When I was writing about "standing" position here - I meant exactly same position for hands and fingers, therefore neck angle too as with "standard" one...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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