Preface to “THE MAJOR THIRD”
The interval of a Third brings us to a major (in the sense of important) crossroad in the understand of the harmonic modes and progressions; it is pivotal to the construction and understanding of Triads. It is also a particularly useful way to develop fingerboard knowledge through its shapes and sounds in all fingerings and positions.
However, it poses the question of how much practice should be put into it, as well as what kind of approach should be adopted; the fields of music are so vast that there is only so much sowing you can do and, consequently, so much harvest you can reap. You could say that, in terms of minimum effort/maximum result, the least drudgery, the better, provided the desired effect is achieved, bearing in mind that this outcome will depend on a combination of memory and ability. There is an equivalent in language-learning where some will have no difficulty in acquiring vocabulary while finding conjugations a nightmare; others will experience the opposite. So, in this context, it will benefit you to determine where and who you are, so that you can apply yourself in consequence; in other words, save yourself by working as little as possible on what you absorb easily and more on what you don’t; this seems obvious, but there are so many skills and talents involved: ear, memory, understanding, dexterity, pattern recognition, intelligence, and a lot more, all of them varying in their mix and intensities, depending on individual aptitudes.
This course is aimed at amateur guitarists who have neither the time, the will or, possibly, the talent of those who have spent fifteen to twenty years in the discipline, eagerness, self-sacrifice, and heart-ache needed to achieve professional status. There will have been theory, harmony, fugue, counterpoint, composition, scales, transposition, solo and orchestral, accompaniment, solfeggio, arpeggios, tutorials, Alexander Technique, masterclasses, competitions, rehearsals and recitals, none of which, luckily, to be included in this course.
Since, when writing a book, there is no way of knowing who the readers will be, the material should try to be as comprehensive as possible without over-reaching. Therefore, there will be on offer more than some will appreciate, and less than some would prefer. Some exercises will be short in the hope that their content will be easily memorised; others will be long, with emphasis on repetition being substituted for force-memorisation of important (and perhaps tedious) aspects.
There are two ways to approach the forthcoming material, both of which are equally valid, depending on who you are and on your expectations. The first is to adopt a casual method and quietly read and play the exercises and pieces, simply experience the process, observing, as it were, the snow fall and see how much of it will stick (learning by osmosis). The second is a bookish approach where cramming may take you back to your school days (learning by rote). The first may cause frustration, the latter impatience. Either way, try to tailor your efforts so that, at all times, they remain pleasurable.
See “THE MAJOR THIRD” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.