Segovia Estudio 6

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guitarist_le
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Segovia Estudio 6

Post by guitarist_le » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:54 pm

My instructor is having me go through these Segovia Scales and Segovia Sor Studies to practice rest stroke and legato.

Currently on Estudio 6 and saw some videos of the piece played. Some people rest stroke and some people don't. What would've Segovia wanted? What do YOU prefer?
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jscott

Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by jscott » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:24 pm

absolutely the melody should be played rest stroke. It's part of the reason for the study, I'd say.

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by guitarist_le » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:26 pm

jscott wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:24 pm
absolutely the melody should be played rest stroke. It's part of the reason for the study, I'd say.
That's what I was thinking too. Thanks for the confirmation!

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:25 pm

That's not confirmation, it's just an opinion. Sor did not use rest strokes, meaning he composed the music without them. Therefore if you use rest strokes it will sound different to what the composer wanted. There's nothing wrong in doing that - you can do whatever you feel like doing with any musical score - but it would be wrong to claim that that's how the music is meant to be played.

Segovia had a different aesthetic from Sor, and Segovia's technique is not much practised today, nor Sor's for that matter.

So, what do you want to do with the music? Play it as the composer intended it to be played? Play it as an editor played it in the 1960s (or whenever it was that Segovia's editions appeared)? Play it as your teacher plays it? Play it as some guy on a guitar forum does? All of the above?

It's good to listen to how people play music you are working on, but real progress will start when you stop listening externally, but listen internally. What does the music say to you? And I'm no longer referring to one single study by one composer.

jscott

Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by jscott » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:58 pm

Rob, my teacher used this as a rest stroke study. But beyond that, this is a piece where rest strokes are needed to bring out the melody from the echoing accompaniment notes "in my opinion", as just a guy on the internet. Of course, this could be achieved by other means I suppose. To my ears the music calls for that. It goes without saying--or perhaps has to be said each and every time or one will be called out?--that others can come to their own conclusion.

Composers intentions are a difficult thing to state definitively.

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:22 pm

Not so, in this case. Sor definitively did not use rest strokes. He discusses his technique very thoroughly in his Method. I agree that the melody needs to be brought out, but that does not necessitate rest strokes (as you suppose). Although you are clear of what you want, I was more targeting the OP for his use of the word "confirmation".

BTW, Sor would not use his ring finger either in this study, and thought nothing of continually repeating the same finger on the same string - alternation is not something he promoted.

But don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you have to use Sor's technique (admittedly a little odd compared to today's fashion) but when studying his music, surely it is legitimate to ask what the composer wanted, and how he might have played it? I can't see the harm in students developing an awareness of how historical practice differs over the decades and centuries. The music is enriched this way, I believe.

[And I (almost!) never mentioned Sor saying "“Never in my life have I heard a guitarist whose playing was supportable, if he played with the nails." :) ]

I don't think I'm alone in thinking that one of our GREATS had a very different concept of music and technique than we do today. When better to discover that than when you are a student?

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:30 pm

My teacher gave me this study, too (a few years ago...), but I don't recall any insistence on rest-strokes, rather, it was merely aimed to develop the ability to play the melody more prominently/differently than the accompaniment so that it would stand out better. Rest strokes would be one way to do that, but one can also adjust the strength, angle, etc., with which they pluck each string, so that the melody notes are louder or otherwise tonally distinct from the accompaniment (which is obviously an essential skill for much of what you'll play, being able to distinguish voices...)

Mind you, if you need to work on your rest strokes and your legato playing, then using this study (or anything) as a practice tool would be useful, but what Rob said certainly applies when the aim is not solely to practice techniques but to make beautiful sounding music -- listen to the music and what it says to you, and take it from there! (And have fun, that's important, too!)

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by celestemcc » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:40 pm

I played this many years ago as a student too... my teacher demanded rest strokes. And it was a good way to learn them. Whatever Sor did, it's a great exercise for them. And if you choose to perform it, you can play it all-free-stroke or with rest stroke, as you prefer. Actually a great exercise in bringing out the melody either way.
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guitarist_le
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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by guitarist_le » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:44 pm

Thanks, everyone for the input! I wanted the most efficient way to play this piece as if I was playing for a masterclass for both of them. I know Segovia wouldn't hesitate to kick someone for not playing the way he arranged, but I had no idea about Sor's history, polar opposites of each other.

I think my first approach will be rest stroke since that's what I have the most trouble with. Free stroke is something I can dabble in later and see how I like that texture.

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by Crofty » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:11 am

Two things: first, one brings out melody over accompaniment simply by making it louder. How "much" louder is appropriate is a matter of musical judgement of course but it is emhatically [to nick a word from Mark Gaultier...] NOT the case that a rest stroke is, by definition, louder than a free stroke and therefore must be employed. One can very easily produce the opposite dynamic with the two strokes. Or the same come to that.

Second, one of the most difficult but rewarding things to work on in this study is the accompanying bass line. Whether Sor would have played the note values literally the way they are written I don't know [any thoughts Rob?] but I certainly do and any other musician but a guitarist would do so as a matter of course. [And - of course - it would be a lot easier.]

The first two bass notes demonstrate what is required: an 1/8th note d followed by a quarter note a followed by the rest. Ideally the d should NOT sound as the a is played [imagine a bassoon or an actual voice and you'll see what I mean] and the a should certainly stop sounding for the rest.

And so on.

It's difficult, but it is what gives the piece its forward movement and gentle charm. [The gentle nature is also another reason why I would very rarely use rest strokes in this piece.]

Paul

jscott

Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by jscott » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:12 am

Le, you said that your teacher was having you go through this study to practice rest stroke. I was simply saying that, yes, absolutely play this study with rest strokes. I didn't mean anything more than that.

However, I would play the damn thing with rest stroke. why wouldn't you?

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by Crofty » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:20 am

Oh... and three: by far the most challenging problem in a piece like this, with its repeated two note rhythmic figure, is bringing out the phrasing.

That is mostly in two bars [covering four identical, two note rhythmic figures].

Simply choosing to play rest strokes because they are "louder" will do nothing to bring out the phrasing - music is much more complex [and rewarding] than that...

Paul

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:27 am

There is one very good reason for avoiding rest stroke in a piece like this; it necessarily silences the neighbouring string, which in several places is sounding a harmonically important pitch. For a composer like Sor, harmony and its completion, its 'properness' is pretty much as important as melody. For a player to understand and come to appreciate that (not just in this composer, but most others too) means hearing and seeing what is really there, projecting what the pieces asks for; dogmatically using a technical approach just to develop that technique (valuable thought it is in general) irrespective of what a piece needs, seems to me to be a coarsening of musicianship.
Aside from the matter of just using a piece as an exercise, as if it was devoid to musical merit, really if a player cannot simply project the melody here using varied intensities of free stroke to balance and characterise the parts, I would suggest that free stroke really needs attention. It is the one type of stroke that we have to be able to use fully and flexibly.
But in the end I would come back to my mantra of "be able to choose"; sure, practise a piece using rest stroke, but aim to get as close as you can to that sonority using free stroke. If you can't get close, work more on the latter than the former.
And while on the 'choose' theme, seek to be able to graduate the free stroke into a rest stroke and vice versa, and as well as seeking a free stroke that is pretty much as full and rich as rest, find a rest stroke that is as subtle as free.
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jscott

Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by jscott » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:41 am

oh fer...Le, go tell your teacher that some guys on the internet are telling you to ignore him.

It's entirely possible to not play rest stroke in those several places where it would mute a note that needs to be sounding.

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Re: Segovia Estudio 6

Post by Crofty » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:24 am

jscott wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:41 am
oh fer...Le, go tell your teacher that some guys on the internet are telling you to ignore him.

I'll exclude myself from this, but the "some guys" you dismiss so rudely are two of the most knowledgeable and experienced musicians, playing and teaching the guitar, that I know of - and have been so over decades, not just years.

Leaving that aside, if someone already has a teacher and yet asks for opinions, "on the internet" as you call it but actually a specialist classical guitar forum, then I hope and expect that they would accept the advice they receive with considerably better grace and manners than you do.

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