Learning the tremolo technique

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Non Tabius
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Non Tabius » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:00 pm

It would appear we are on the same page now Mark.

paulcroft

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by paulcroft » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:06 pm

Actually no: Mark's on page three.

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Non Tabius
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Non Tabius » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:28 pm

Well I am pleased to see that you have taken the trouble to comment here Percy all the way from Bernard Castle.Should you not be praticing your tremolo's ,ready for submission as Larghetto has requested.Only kidding nice speaking to you again Paul.I think you should also consider looking for a possiblilty of adding tap dancing as part of your cv as in "Happy Feet" something like tapping both feet while playing cg.
Last edited by Non Tabius on Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

paulcroft

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by paulcroft » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:32 pm

I'll seriously consider that NT.

Paul.

Robert Phillips

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Robert Phillips » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:06 pm

benessa wrote:
Robert Phillips wrote: Emphasis on "slightly curled..." But yes. When my hand is relaxed the fingers do not extend out. And I believe you are correct in saying that this is where some of us fundamentally disagree - it is my opinion that the ready position requires an active extension.

Are you saying that the "active extension" (fingers out) is the position required to play, but that your relaxed hand holds the fingers in? Sorry for my confusion - just trying to follow the debate.
Probably a bit of an overstatement. Relaxed does not, by its very definition, imply that one is holding the fingers in. But once a finger has been contracted into the hand, and with the adjacent finger following it closely, in order for the finger to extend back to a playing position requires an effort. When you pluck with a and follow it immediately by plucking with m, it requires some effort to simultaneously re-extend a. Therefore, I believe that the most relaxed position for the ring finger is to simply remain where it is, curled very slightly and not quite in its ready position. This seems to me to be its natural tendency. The same for the middle finger as i plucks. At least 2 of my colleagues here at Delcamp disagree pretty strongly, and I respect them immensely, so one cannot dismiss their opion. But the technique that I describe has been used by many players, and taught by many teachers, so neither should it be easily dismissed. This is pretty typical of all things guitar; there seem to be differing schools of thought on just about every topic. This is also a good thing, because lively disagreement forces a thinking person to reevaluate his position, and see if it still holds.

paulcroft

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by paulcroft » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:30 pm

Robert Phillips wrote:
But once a finger has been contracted into the hand, and with the adjacent finger following it closely, in order for the finger to extend back to a playing position requires an effort. When you pluck with a and follow it immediately by plucking with m, it requires some effort to simultaneously re-extend a. Therefore, I believe that the most relaxed position for the ring finger is to simply remain where it is, curled very slightly and not quite in its ready position. This seems to me to be its natural tendency. The same for the middle finger as i plucks.
Can I suggest that anyone interested in this discussion reads the above closely: it seems a logical approach......

BUT ......the reality of right hand technique is that there are many occasions when it is absolutely essential that what Robert describes as "requiring effort" actually happens. Every time we alternate m and a, at speed and, even more often, i and m at speed, that's precisely what we are requiring our alternating fingers to do.

So why does it make any sense at all to have one "special" sequence where we then inhibit the natural springing back of a finger when we've spent so long specifically training it to aquire that very habit? I asked this of Kevin Collins, a couple of years ago, with no response, and likened it then to spending ages training a dog not to sit on the sofa, and then inviting it up. It is just confusing.

I stand by what I wrote before: this idea simply reinforces the concept of tremolo as a stand-alone technique and it is that very concept that means few players can perform it well. All tremolo is is a sequence of right hand alternation, no more difficult than many and easier than some.

Paul Croft.

Richard Christie
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Richard Christie » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:26 pm

One of the fundamental rationals of the right hand technique I use is that the default ready position of the fingers is relaxed and about 5 -10mm above and forward of the string. Of course this distance and the degree of relaxation constantly varies as it depends on the hand position and the string that is under active consideration for play. In comparison, when playing prepared strokes the fingers are no longer in a relaxed start position but flexed slightly onto the string.
So in tremolo I tend to agree with Mark and Paul's observations and I offer another from my experience.

When the ring finger relaxes after play to begin its recovery to its start position, its return is delayed somewhat by the subsequent action of m playing. I put this down to shared tendon sheaths of these two fingers and issues of anatomical interdependence. When i follows m in play, both a and m can, and do, fully return to start position with the a finger leading m. The index recovers as p plays. In my action the recovery of all appears totally driven by relaxation, and the delayed full recovery of the ring finger is due to the fact that a and m fingers do interact but are fully independent of i.

The last observation about relaxation for recovery highlights a difference between the recovery action for a and m in this particular approach to tremolo (and some arpeggio)- with that of the action used when a and m alternate in scale-like situations. In scale alternation, the two fingers m and m require at least some active effort to immediately recover to ready position while the other plays, i.e. they are never completely independent, although training certainly increases apparent independence markedly. Alternation of i and m is different story again due to their independence.

These discussions are very difficult to put across in text. Hope my observations make sense to someone.
The guitar, causes dreams to weep.
The sobs of lost souls, escape from its round mouth.
And like the tarantula, it weaves a great star
To snare the sighs,
Which float inside its dark wooden cistern
- Lorca

RonK

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by RonK » Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:45 am

II am not to intervene but ask a question.

A few months ago I've seen a DVD, where some guy (I can recall he was in a fitness room, but i don't remeber his name, sorry) was giving a tremolo lesson. Something about using stacatto.

Is that method any good?

Richard Christie
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Richard Christie » Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:55 am

RonK wrote:II am not to intervene but ask a question.

A few months ago I've seen a DVD, where some guy (I can recall he was in a fitness room, but i don't remeber his name, sorry) was giving a tremelo lesson. Something about using stacatto.

Is that method any good?
Lee Ryan endorses that in his book The Natural Classical Guitar.
I teach that method and find it very efficient. But in my view the training action is not quite the same as the playing action. The staccato approach seems to train accuracy individual of finger attack as well as accurate recovery to a prepared position. However in play the fingers do not begin their attack as prepared strokes. Ryan gets around this with a bit of a cop out, saying at one stage in the training process the player has to cease trying to control the action and just "let it happen".
The guitar, causes dreams to weep.
The sobs of lost souls, escape from its round mouth.
And like the tarantula, it weaves a great star
To snare the sighs,
Which float inside its dark wooden cistern
- Lorca

AsturiasFan

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by AsturiasFan » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:24 am

Richard Christie wrote:
RonK wrote:II am not to intervene but ask a question.

A few months ago I've seen a DVD, where some guy (I can recall he was in a fitness room, but i don't remeber his name, sorry) was giving a tremelo lesson. Something about using stacatto.

Is that method any good?
Lee Ryan endorses that in his book The Natural Classical Guitar.
I teach that method and find it very efficient. But in my view the training action is not quite the same as the playing action. The staccato approach seems to train accuracy individual of finger attack as well as accurate recovery to a prepared position. However in play the fingers do not begin their attack as prepared strokes. Ryan gets around this with a bit of a cop out, saying at one stage in the training process the player has to cease trying to control the action and just "let it happen".

If Ryan is copping out then so is Scott Tennant. Form my memory Tennant just says staccato doesn't sound like staccato at full speed. He does not say how to go from staccato to full tremolo. A staccato at 120 tremolos per minute speeded up uniformly to 140 will sound horrible. On the other hand if the time interval between finger strikes is somewhat stable across speeds he certainly doesn't say so. Douglas Niedt and I believe some Flamenco player on YouTube say to just let it rip (concerning fast scales) once a base has been established-- it seems like tremolo involves the same concept.
Last edited by AsturiasFan on Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nick Payne
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Nick Payne » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:05 am

Have a look at Brouwer's Estudios Sencillos No 3. It's meant as a pre-tremolo study using just i and m for the top line, but once you have it up to a reasonable speed as written, add the third note to the top line for each bass bass note so that you are playing a full tremolo.

Robert Phillips

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Robert Phillips » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:44 pm

Richard Christie wrote: When the ring finger relaxes after play to begin its recovery to its start position, its return is delayed somewhat by the subsequent action of m playing. I put this down to shared tendon sheaths of these two fingers and issues of anatomical interdependence. When i follows m in play, both a and m can, and do, fully return to start position with the a finger leading m. The index recovers as p plays. In my action the recovery of all appears totally driven by relaxation, and the delayed full recovery of the ring finger is due to the fact that a and m fingers do interact but are fully independent of i.

The last observation about relaxation for recovery highlights a difference between the recovery action for a and m in this particular approach to tremolo (and some arpeggio)- with that of the action used when a and m alternate in scale-like situations. In scale alternation, the two fingers m and m require at least some active effort to immediately recover to ready position while the other plays, i.e. they are never completely independent, although training certainly increases apparent independence markedly. Alternation of i and m is different story again due to their independence.
This makes a great deal of sense to me. The only difference between this and my tremolo is the timing of the reextension ("recovery" may be a better term) of the ring and middle fingers, but this approach seems to avoid the problems that I believe may be created by Paul's and Mark's approach. (In fact, I will probably spend some time trying this one out to see if it is an improvement over the technique that I had originally learned and embraced.)

Richard Christie
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Richard Christie » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:51 pm

Phil, I have to add a rider, or further clarification, to my post in regard to relaxation. I wrote "appears totally driven by relaxation", but it is difficult to determine with absolute certainty as it relies on subjective self reporting. The recovery feels relaxed and I can discern no impulse 'command' to extend the fingers (in contrast to the attack/pluck impulse). However when I practice slowly I use the staccato approach which indeed does require active effort to recover and plant.
Somewhere in the transition from training to performance the active effort sublimates to real or apparent relaxation.
The guitar, causes dreams to weep.
The sobs of lost souls, escape from its round mouth.
And like the tarantula, it weaves a great star
To snare the sighs,
Which float inside its dark wooden cistern
- Lorca

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bacsidoan
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by bacsidoan » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:45 pm

All the postulated theories on relaxation, planting, different sequencings, exercises ... cannot replace hours and hours of practicing to build "muscle memory". For me what has worked best is finding easy, short, non-intimidating pieces with nice, soothing melodies that would allow me to practice them repeatedly without being bored out of my skull. RDLA was not one of them.

Ramon Amira
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Re: Learning the tremolo technique

Post by Ramon Amira » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:46 am

bacsidoan wrote:All the postulated theories on relaxation, planting, different sequencings, exercises ... cannot replace hours and hours of practicing to build "muscle memory". For me what has worked best is finding easy, short, non-intimidating pieces with nice, soothing melodies that would allow me to practice them repeatedly without being bored out of my skull. RDLA was not one of them.
Yup - muscle memory it is. I have never been able see any point whatever in practicing odd sequences like PMAI, PIAM, PMI, then later add A, etc. Every single non PAMI repetition practiced is one less that could have been practiced with PAMI. The whole point of practicing something is to...um...practice it.

Ramon
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