Left hand fingering

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.
Stickyhead
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:45 am
Location: USA

Left hand fingering

Post by Stickyhead » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:49 am

I'm Working through the Julio Sagreras book. On the last several measures in lesson 23 the fingering for the g note on the 1st string is finger 4 instead of finger 3. This g note is 1st position fret 3 so why is it not using finger 3 ?

User avatar
George Crocket
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9138
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:48 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Left hand fingering

Post by George Crocket » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:22 am

It allows you to play the melody using 1, 2 and 3 while playing the repeated G "accompaniment" using 4. The most efficient way to repeat the same note is by keeping the same finger on the required fret. In this case 4 has to be used to allow 3 to play the D. You will often find 4 being used on the 3rd fret in 1st position.
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

Todd Tipton
Teacher
Posts: 305
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:21 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

Re: Left hand fingering

Post by Todd Tipton » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:58 pm

George Crocket wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:22 am
It allows you to play the melody using 1, 2 and 3 while playing the repeated G "accompaniment" using 4. The most efficient way to repeat the same note is by keeping the same finger on the required fret. In this case 4 has to be used to allow 3 to play the D. You will often find 4 being used on the 3rd fret in 1st position.
Funny. I've always interpreted everything as melody. If those G's were accompaniment, I'd be inclined to do something different with the E in the next measure.

Here is the way I interpret it:

In my studio, either with Shearer or Sagreras, this is one of the first times a student is introduced to a basic technique in guitar playing. Perhaps it was one of Sor's Maxims? I forget. Anyway...

Sometimes in a melody, we are required to play two consecutive notes on different strings that share the same fret. As a general guideline, we usually don't want to use the same finger to play both notes of the melody. Why? It takes time for a finger to leave one string and arrive on another. In the Sagreras exercises, it takes time for the 3rd finger to lift from the D and arrive to the G. Musically, this is similar to a singer taking a breath and creating a disconnection. A singer shouldn't take a breath in that spot in order to smoothly keep the melody connected. For the same reason, a guitarist shouldn't use the same finger for both notes in that spot in order to smoothly keep the melody connected.

Musically and technically, there are really two things a student needs to practice and master in this lesson. First, take a look at the entire piece. Consider that the melody should be played as legato as possible. For example, consider the 2nd measure. All of these notes are on the same string. With a beginning student, the notes are going to sound disconnected. We must consider that pure legato is either impossible or very difficult, depending on how you look at it. To play a note, the left hand must first press. Only after that, the right hand must prepare, then pull, and finally release. Only on the release is the sound produced.

Still focusing on the 2nd measure of the piece, this overly detailed look at what is needed is very important for a beginning student. Why? Because in order to achieve a great legato, it requires a level of refinement that is not instant to a new student learning new movements. It allows the student to be kind to themselves. It helps them to appreciate that a less than smooth and connected sound is what will probably be produced in the beginning. As the student improves through careful and consistent repetition, only then can the more refined movements gradually develop. This happens through listening. With all of this, the student can then gradually improve on those highly refined movements by always listening, and always trying to produce the best legato possible. It is that point that a student is actually practicing part of what should actually be practiced.

Stepping away from the 2nd measure of the piece, it should be obvious this this is the attitude that is required for all of the first 37 lessons. This is the attitude that must also be used in scale practice as well, and applied to the melodies in repertoire. Sagreras is a great way for students to begin developing this necessary skill of playing legato melodies.

Now, finally to the two notes in question.
With a little practice like I have suggested above, the student would then hear something offensive if the 3rd finger were used for both notes. We have a technical problem because we are needing to play the next note on a different string, but on the same fret. But the music doesn't care about our technical problem. We need all the notes to sound just as smooth and connected as the other notes. The solution is the 4th finger on the G.

It is probably worthwhile for the beginning student to isolate that passage. To set aside the music and focus on those two notes: the D to the G. And then use the ear to produce the most beautiful sound possible. Lifting the 3rd finger too early produces the same disconnected results as using the 3rd finger for both notes. Lifting the 3rd finger too late produces an undesirable blending of both notes.

In even the most basic and simple of melodies, we frequently encounter the situation of two consecutive notes on different strings sharing the same fret. For these reasons, it is imperative that a beginning student has a detailed understanding of how to handle the situation. The good news is, if great care is taken the first time, it will quickly become easier and even second nature. The student will see this again and again, and very soon. It will quickly become easy.

As always, happy practicing!
Dr. Todd Tipton, classical guitarist
Cincinnati, OH, USA (available via Skype)

Stickyhead
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:45 am
Location: USA

Re: Left hand fingering

Post by Stickyhead » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:00 am

That makes a lot of sense now that i think about it.. Thanks

tsulej
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:49 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: Left hand fingering

Post by tsulej » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:46 am

There was a discussion here on the forum about using 4th finger on 3rd position for g and d (first two strings) as a default position. I can't find it now but main reason was better hand position and faster access to lower strings with other fingers. Sor used such fingering.
Admira Malaga

tsulej
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:49 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: Left hand fingering

Post by tsulej » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:59 am

Admira Malaga

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”