Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:14 pm

PREFACE TO PINNING THE SOPRANO “B” on ① ② ③ :

Part One of the course ends with this set. It is a good time for revision, as Part Two is going to be very different and rely on the knowledge acquired so far.

Part One has been published one note at a time - with not too much emphasis at this stage on incidentals - allowing about one week for each step to be understood, named, sung, absorbed, mentalized, and memorized. Hopefully, seeing a note on the stave will trigger a set of options regarding where this note can be found and why if can be found at particular locations in relation to the relevant open strings; you now have a solid knowledge and understanding of each string but, of the fingerboard, your knowledge is, mostly, longitudinal; the time will soon come to address the “across” clues of the “puzzle” as well as their implications.

See “PINNING THE SOPRANO “B” on ① ② ③ on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:58 am

PREFACE TO REVISION OF THE SIX STRINGS

The revision pieces have NO fingerings or position markings;

the required fingerings and positions have all been covered extensively in the first part of the course;

these exercises are predominantly concerned with the anticipation needed to pre-empt position shifts which are determined by notes which would otherwise be out of reach;

play them with minimum shifts of the left hand;

use Part One of the course as a checklist; should any particular note pose a problem, go back and revise through the relevant sets of exercises;

once familiarised with the pieces - at which point the work can no longer be described as “sight-reading” - print them out and add your own fingerings and position shifts which you can then compare with those published in the next set which will end Part One.

See Revision from ① to ⑥ and from I to XIV on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:49 am

PREFACE TO Revision from ① to ⑥ and from I to XIV with Suggested Fingerings and Positions:

Herewith the revision pieces with added fingerings and position markings; these are mere suggestions since students may well have found their own. However, adding some here for comparison may stimulate through the analysis of alternatives, or even provide new ideas.

These fingered exercises mark the end of Part One culminating with a particularly awkward piece (REVISION FROM ① to ⑥ and from I to XIV – further) which, by any standard, would be difficult to sight-read because the flow is constantly split (at first glance, arbitrarily) between several registers; Manuel Ponce is fond of this technique as can be seen in the following extract from his Balletto in which no less than four composers had a (rather perverse) hand: Ponce, Segovia, Weiss (albeit unwittingly and innocently … and probably turning in his grave), and Mario Gangi (who, intriguingly, declared that he’d transcribed it when it had been written for guitar (by Ponce) in the first place!). You may enjoy devising various fingering solutions and compare them to Gangi’s excellent choices “inspired” by Segovia (Edizioni Bèrben 1960).
BALLETTO (Excerpt).jpg
The writing is unusual inasmuch as the bass sections are melodic rather than harmonic, and the bass notes are staggered [you could say: syncopated] rather than subjacent; if you put the different registers on the same level, a continuous melody emerges:
BALLETTO (Registers levelled).jpg
See Revision from ① to ⑥ and from I to XIV with suggested fingerings and positions on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:12 pm

PART TWO - INTERVALS

Preface:

Some knowledge of harmony and solfège facilitates sight-reading considerably; the forthcoming section of the course will address those subjects as subsidiaries to the study of intervals. There is a musical equivalent to literary phrase-recognition; when coming across a sentence like: They had already put all the cutlery on the “…?...”, the chances are that the next word will be “table” rather than “sofa” or “swimming pool”. Similarly, in music, there are many ways of building up one’s expectations of what might be coming next: harmonic structures, recurring intervals, repeated melodies, echoed sections, and so on.

There are two ways through which an interval can be recognised: through its “look” on the stave, as with the Perfect Fourth with that characteristic gap where the notes do not quite touch; and through its “sound”.

Look at the given “graphic representation”, study it well; then, learn its sound, used for instance in the opening of the third movement of the most famous of all guitar concertos;

finally, learn the finger patterns for the Perfect Fourth (the easiest of all).

Intervals can be seen as melodic, either raising or lowering a melody by a determined amount; or they can be regarded as harmonic: when two notes are stacked and played together, creating a distinct aural texture.

Once those three elements are absorbed, you will be able very easily to find and play any Perfect Fourth, anywhere on the fingerboard.

The guitar’s fingerboard is a beautiful loom whose warp has now been studied at some length in Part One; the time has come to explore the weft and, as a consequence, begin to weave more elaborate aspects of the fabric of music.

The instalments in PART TWO are a little shorter than in Part One because the complexity of the new material requires deeper absorption over longer periods; as before, the advice is to avoid imposed memorisation but to use repetition, regularity, and understanding as daily tools; several short periods of concentrated work will achieve far more than over-long fatiguing sessions: experiment with five or six bouts of 90-seconds every day (a total of ≈ 8 minutes) for this first interval and see how much has been retained at the end of one week and only increase the workload if necessary.

See PART TWO - THE INTERVALS on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:25 am

PREFACE TO PERFECT FOURTHS – Exercises

You will notice that in the final exercise of this set - “PERFECT FOURTHS - exercise” – one of the notes in each Perfect Fourth chord is held and requires a finger to be anchored while the other fingers “walk away” to finger the subsequent notes; this will need some stretching; should these stretches feel difficult, you may want to visit the thread “Stretching Exercises Given to me by John Williams” on the “Classical Guitar Technique” Forum.

See “EXERCISES IN PERFECT FOURTHS” ON THE Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:12 pm

PREFACE TO “THE PERFECT FOURTHS – using the G and B strings”:

The discrepancy in the ⒼⒷ tuning, frustrating at first, soon proves advantageous, both in the fingering of barrés, and the ability to play chords in different keys; tune the guitar in fourths (E – A – D – G – C – F), try playing a few chords in several keys and you will immediately feel the negative impact of tuning exclusively in fourths.
edward_z wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:23 am
Thanks for you great work. I will try to follow your approach and see how it works.
alexgmcm wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:19 pm
Also subscribed.Thank you for such useful material :)
Welcome on (finger)board! As you are joining the surfing later than others, I would suggest that you take your time and spend about a week (or more) on each set. Publishing the course weekly has the advantage of making it impossible for followers to “jump the gun” (a favourite and highly detrimental activity among guitarists). In my early student days, being given a book or method, I would complete it, regrettably, before the end of week one, having gone through EVERYTHING and absorbed absolutely NOTHING. Then, I was made aware of JW’s edict: “Always learn little over long periods”. How right he is! It takes a little longer but goes so much further!

See “THE PERFECT FOURTHS” - using the G and B strings” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:28 am

Preface to “THE PERFECT FOURTHS AND THE FIFTH FRET”:

Using the Aranjuez (opening statement of the third movement), this simple but effective melody will serve to drum in the sound of the Perfect Fourth, as well as consolidate another finger pattern for this interval.

There is something about the fingerboard, where it becomes almost three-dimensional, akin to the Rubik’s cube: so many different ways to achieve a result through pattern recognition.

Absorb these simple steps well, so that the much greater complications associated with the almost limitless permutations afforded by harmonic possibilities will eventually slide into place as a natural conclusion of acquired knowledge.

See “THE PERFECT FOURTHS AND THE FIFTH FRET” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:47 am

Preface to “THE PERFECT FIFTH AND THE SEVENTH FRET”:

The interval of a PERFECT FIFTH has a very special place in Western music, from Bah-bah Black Sheep to the scalic passages in Papageno’s theme, to the Dance of the Adolescents in the Rite of Spring, and countless other examples.

This interval occurs between the first to the last of five consecutive notes and contains seven semitones. For instance, it is formed between the TONIC and the FIFTH note (DOMINANT) of an eight-notes scale, seven Semitones above the Tonic, and can therefore easily be found at the Seventh Fret in relation to any Open String.

The importance of the Dominant is difficult to define; it could have something to do with the fact that its position within a full scale is somewhat akin to the proportions of the golden ratio and is instinctively perceived as such; if this seems far-fetched, 8/5 = 1.6 … and the golden ratio is 1.618...

Also, its importance becomes pivotal when dealing with harmony which will be covered in Part Three of this course; any basic Triad, be in Major or minor, contains a P5; in that sense, it is more stable than the Third which, in a Triad, can be either Major or minor, depending on the mode.

It is suggested that students might photocopy both exercises (“PERFECT FIFTHS and the Seventh Fret” and “FIFTH ELEMENT”) and mark every P5 with a bracket in order to increase its perception while sight-reading; however, keep a “clean” copy to revert to once the interval has been absorbed both visually and aurally.

See “THE PERFECT FIFTHS AND THE SEVENTH FRET” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:46 am

Preface to “THE PERFECT FIFTH on ADJACENT STRINGS” - PATTERNS 1 & 2:

Whilst the concept of a pattern is introduced here, it is MOST IMPORTANT that this notion should, paradoxically, NOT be regarded as such; we are presenting here the acquisition, ultimately, of a reflex, not a pattern: while raising consciousness to the fact that there is a pattern, the “object” must always be that what is being seen on the stave, what is being read, deciphered and interpreted, what is being fingered, played, and heard, is a PERFECT FIFTH, nothing more, nothing less.

Take the opportunity, at every encounter, to SEE on the page the pattern of the dots (and “think” perfect fifth - pre-empt and “sing” perfect fifth - move the hand and “finger” to the perfect fifth pattern - and, finally, “hear” the perfect fifth.

David Russell recently made a good point during one of his masterclasses when he reminded all concerned that the French word for either practice or rehearsal is répétition … repeat, repeat, repeat - this advice can never be … repeated enough. There is a variant to the magic carpet tale where the purchaser returns to the vendor and complains that the damned thing will not fly! and is told Oh, but it will, once you stop thinking that it should fly!

Thus, the ultimate aim and final result is to allow the work to sink into the cortical silt, where seemingly dormant, it will be most effective whilst having, seemingly, been forgotten. Easier said than done, and takes a lot of répétition.

The course is now getting increasingly involved with one of the guitar’s toughest hurdle: the fact ¬- at first extremely disconcerting (and, for some, always remaining so) that the same things can be done in many different places and with many different finger patterns; therefore, this set is restricted to two exercises only so that, when subsequent patterns are introduced, there should be no danger that previous ones might be forgotten or confused.

See “THE PERFECT FIFTH on ADJACENT STRINGS - PATTERNS 1 & 2” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:56 pm

Preface to “THE PERFECT FIFTH – continued”:

New “flats” are being introduced in this set with a specific exercise: “PERFECT FIFTHS – in seven keys”; you will find most of those flats automatically once your fingers have absorbed the various patterns for the Perfect Fifths; however, unfamiliar positions are, at first, disconcerting and can be tiring; it is strongly suggested therefore to work on only one key at a time.

Unparalleled excuses for upload timing … and for parallels!

See “THE PERFECT FIFTH – continued” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:01 pm

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.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:52 am

Preface to “Major Thirds in a Major Scale”:

When building up a scale in THIRDS, only the chords built on degrees 1,4,5, and 8 are MAJOR THIRDS. It is not suggested that this fact should necessarily be memorised, but the time has come to acquire a certain degree of mindfulness regarding the placement of a note in the scale(s) of any given key, as this will become particularly useful later when considering the implications of note-placement within harmonic structures.

This knowledge (in the different keys) is usually the result of years of practicing four-part-harmony (both mentally and on paper, and preparing for exams thereon, a practice found by many to be tedious in the extreme, and therefore not one I would advocate here!)

HOWEVER, I would suggest acquiring an awareness of these note placements through simply thinking about them as and when you encounter them so that, eventually, you will instinctively know that a “G” is the 5th note in C Major (the Dominant), while the same “G” is the 4th note in D Major (Subdominant), while being the 1st note in G Major (Tonic), but the 2nd note in F Major (Supertonic), etc.

Some will take to these concepts like ducks to water, and others … won’t ... it’s one of those things … unfortunately, it’s one of those rather important things. So … for the moment, bear them in mind and see if they sink in.

See “THE MAJOR THIRD in a Major Scale” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:01 pm

Preface to “Different ways of locating and fingering Major Thirds in Seven Keys”

This set is pivotal and covers a lot of important material.

The fact that we are concentrating on a particular type of interval (currently MAJOR) inhibits musical possibilities and restricts variety; do bear with it for a while longer, as it is important to stick to only one mode because, for the moment, mixing Major and minor modes would confuse the issue and slow down the learning and memorisation processes; the downside of this is that the exercises become akin to those of books on scales, arpeggios, snaps and slurs, etc.

Do persevere for the sake of cementing the foundations; musicality will flourish once the Major and minor modes combine.

Currently, we are focussing on the two lower notes of Major Triads; as has been seen in the last set, Major Third intervals only occur with the two lower notes of Triads on degrees 1, 4, and 5 of the Major scale – the two lower notes of Triads built on degrees 2, 3, 6, and 7 being minor.

Musicality results when harmonies meander between the modes … consider that in a phrase as simple as Baa Baa Black Sheep played in thirds, the mode constantly switches between Major and minor modes: Major, minor, Major, minor, Major.

See “Different ways of locating and fingering Major Thirds in Seven Keys” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:38 am

Preface to “MAJOR THIRDS CIRCLE”

To compensate for the length of the last one, herewith a shorter section.

A new concept is introduced: the double sharp (x). Why do they exist? To approach the subject gradually and without getting too embroiled in the dark corners of harmony, we need to go back to the construction of the Major Scale and be reminded of how its shape requires the use of accidentals, the first one being one sharp (#), F#, in the G Major scale:
G MAJOR SCALE - (With Acc.) - for Maj. Th. Circle.jpg
The next principle to be reminded of is that, for an interval to deserve its name, the number of steps must correspond to the name of the interval, i.e. a THIRD must have THREE name-steps; so, taking the third chord in the first bar of “Major Thirds Circle”, the “E-Gx” could easily be written with an “A” and avoid the trouble of having to have “Gx” (“A” being the enharmonic equivalent of “Gx”, meaning they share the same sound, being at the same pitch); but although the chord would sound the same, it would not be correct because there are FOUR steps between “E” and “A” (E – F – G – A).
MAJOR THIRDS CIRCLE - first line.jpg
As the piece is written entirely in Major Thirds, it has had to resort to quite a few double sharps in order to achieve the correct number of semitones within three name-steps and respect the rules of musical notation.

See “MAJOR THIRDS CIRCLE” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:56 am

Preface to the minor THIRD:

There is something strangely indecisive and fascinating about the minor third; its importance will become clear when Triads are studied.

From a sight-reading point of view, containing as it does THREE semitones, it falls naturally under the hand when played linearly; the two patterns are straightforward and a pleasure to play; the “trick” is do discern between Major and minor thirds! On the stave, of course, they look the same; “E-G#” (Major Third), and “E-G natural” (minor Third) look identical on the stave, the sharp in the latter being found in the key signature at the beginning of the stave (where, at the point of reading, the eyes are not). Much of the material is given here to acquire more experience in developing a feel for the different keys and their accidentals; these are to be treated as just that: experience rather than technical practice; the exercises are not “difficult” at this stage. This will change in the near future when harmony becomes more involved.

See “the minor Third” on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum.

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