guit-box wrote:The videos show many variabilities such as: hand position, pronation and supination of forearm, wrist height, left/right wrist orientation, guitar position, etc. For all those variabilities we can definitely say there is "no one way" to do them. For the finger strokes and specifically medium-fast tempo free strokes we can see all the videos share a commonality-- middle joint is the producer of the sound at the precise moment the note is sounded and the main KJ does not follow through into the palm.
LIke Ortega, I was taught by some teachers to play exclusively from the main KJ. I don't blame or hate anyone for this, that would be immature. I do believe after much observation and practice that they were wrong, but 20-30 years ago this kind of teaching was the norm and we didn't know any better. Judging by all the resistance to what I'm saying and have proved with crystal clear video closeups and slow motion video examination, it's clear this mis-information persists. All the methods at the time that I remember (except Parkening's method) said that free stroke and all strokes are played from the main knuckle joint: The Natural Classical Guitar--Ryan, Effortless Classical Guitar--Kanengeiser, Pumping Nylon--Tennant. I remember also having Solo Guitar Playing--Noad, Classical Guitar Method--Duncan and Celedonio Romero Method for Guitar. I don't recall what they said about the subject, I'll have to re-visit those methods. At any rate, I didn't have access to anything else at the time and the teachers were insistent that this was the correct way to play, so that's what you do, follow the advice of the teacher.
I remember being told by a teacher to drum my fingers on a table top with the force coming from the main KJ. That, I was told, was the basis for the strokes. Of course when you do that on a table top, the drumming produces a thud, but if you move this precise movement to a guitar string you get no sound. You may hit the string with some force and velocity and the string will likely displace some, but the moment the KJ releases it's pressure, the string springs back and no sound is ever produced. This is because the main KJ is NOT the producer of the pluck as was being taught. Of course it plays a critical role, it brings the finger to the string quickly and efficiently and the KJ needs to be trained to do that. It may provide some gripping pressure that allows the eventual sound to be produced, but the main KJ by itself is not the producer of the sound, the flexion of the MJ is. If you do the same table top experiment with the tips of the finger already touching the table and flexion towards the hand from the MJ, then you'll hear a scratching sound produced on the table top. It's a shhhhhht shhhhht shhhhht sound. This sound can be produced with very minimal help from the main KJ, all that joint is doing is holding the finger in place so the MJ can make that sound. For a pianissimo sound, that minimal weight of the finger on the table top is probably enough, but for a louder sound then the main KJ probably needs to grip more. You can transfer this precise motion to a guitar string and a sound will be produced. So, it's really the MJ flexion that is the producer of the sound, and of course the main KJ is playing an important role, but that role has been over-emphasized generally. The correct free stroke, (the stroke that all the concert guitarists are doing in the videos) as demonstrated on a table top would have a thud followed almost instantaneously by a scratch. The scratch occurs at the very instant the thud is sounded, and it is so perfectly coordinated that it seems as if the thud and the scratch are one sound and it also appears visually to an observer that the main KJ did all the work, but it's not the case. It's a two-step, highly coordinated exchange from one joint to the next. Many people who believe and teach that the main KJ should follow through into the palm likely believe that is true because they feel or sense that the main KJ is in flexion at the moment of the pluck, but they are wrong. What they are feeling is the KJ releasing (extending) at the moment the MJ takes over and they are confusing that release for main KJ flexion. Everything in our world has to follow the rules of physics, even fingers, and if you don't see the KJ and it's corresponding phalange moving in a flexion direction towards the palm at the instant the sound is produced or in the milliseconds after, that is because it isn't, simple as that.
I dug out my Celedonio Romero Method for the Classical Guitar that I mentioned above. Mostly I find his descriptions of how the fingers move to be as incomplete or unclear as anyone else was describing them at that time. The book has a copyright date of 1990 but I'm not sure if this is a later printing, I would expect it to be older than that. One thing that's curious is his description of free strokes which he calls Enganchando stroke:
Celedonio Romero from The Celedonio Romero Method for the Classical Guitar -- Enganchando in Spanish means "hooking" and this is exactly what the i,m, and a finger do....pluck the strings in a hooking manner, continuing above the top of the next strings, the motion of the fingers should be towards the palm of the hand
I tend to agree with him that its analogous to "hooking" or maybe a "scooping" like the excavator truck animation above, but man, if this kind of written description was all people had to go on, I'm surprised anyone learned how to play the guitar. I'd gladly trade all my classical guitar method books from the 1990s and before for this thread with the slow motion videos showing us how they really do it.
It's all true, except for the stuff that's not.