Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Fretful
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Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:51 pm

HARMONY AS TECHNIQUE
Classical guitar amateur players (beginners and intermediate) are almost invariably deprived of harmonic nutrition. Staple methods, and those who teach them, hardly mention the subject, even though it is essential to the diet of an instrument which is endemically polyphonic and harmonic. There is an excuse for this : conventional harmony does not “sit” easily on the guitar, especially for beginners who are initially subjected to various forms of inversions and will therefore seldom hear, recognise, or play harmonic progressions in root form where their flavour is more easily recognisable and absorbed ; these impediments can be seen, for instance in the following F Major triad which cannot be played in the bass, and has to be jumbled up in various forms of inversions :
F Major - Triad - and Jumbles.jpg
In the above, the only possible F Major triad in root position is in the middle octave.

On piano, someone who has never played can, on day one, be shown and even play the triads of an A minor harmonic progression, whilst on guitar, the following simple triadic scales would at first pose insurmountable left-hand stretches and confusion related to insufficient fingerboard notes-recognition :
(the roman numerals below the staves refer to the degrees of the scale ; those above are suggested (easy) fingerboard positions) :
A minor Harmonic Triads.jpg
however, as soon as practicable, the rudiments of harmony should be inculcated in a way that will enrich musical comprehension, develop fingerboard knowledge, facilitate sight-reading, and improve memorization ; the psychological approach to such work should be dedicated to working, NOT on pieces, or studies, but on HARMONY and its technical repercussions.
Before anything else, a short tutorial should expose the general principles of harmony through the study of the main cadences as well as the explanation that notes are like magnets and that the closer they are to each other, the more they will attract each other ; observe in the following example how VERY CLOSE the notes of chords Vb and I are, respectively, despite the chords being five degrees apart :
PERFECT CADENCE - Vb - I.jpg
The magnetic aspect of cadences can permeate the mind but also the hand, so that both will become better at anticipation and recognition.
For the application, familiarisation, and memorisation of these principles, consider the following : when first coming across this reasonably simple phrase by Logy :
Logy - Aria - Opening Phrase.jpg
most amateur guitarists will have little idea of what they are looking at, they will not be aware of the harmonies involved, they will probably not know where a lot of the notes would be in the higher positions of the fingerboard. Even though they may have a teacher, even though they may have gone through a lot of “method books” and studies, they will possibly never have been made aware of the fact that music has a grammar and syntax, that it can be read, understood, and memorised - in the same way that prose can be - through its meaning, context, and subtext. Every method or study book should, running in parallel with the pieces or studies, feature some harmonic analyses which must be considered prior to any attempt at playing any of the pieces. In the past, publishers had the excuse of paper and printing costs but, in the computer age, these are no longer relevant.
Here is the same phrase, annotated with the cadences :
Logy - Opening Phrase - with Cadences.jpg
followed by suggested familiarizing technical exercises in the form of harmonic doodles which should be given to students before they are exposed to the actual music :
the main featured harmonies are chords I, Ib, IVb, V ;
The main cadences are VI-V (imperfect) ; V-Ib (perfect) ; IVb-V (imperfect) ;
to familiarise with chord I (tonic) on ⑥⑤④, play the following :
A minor - Chord I - on 6-5-4.jpg
A minor - Chord I - on 3-2-1.jpg
Familiarising - CHORD I - on 6-5-4 and 3-2-1.jpg
When these have been thoroughly absorbed, move on to the following for Ib (it is assumed that the nature and “flavour” of a first inversion will have been explained by teachers or method books) :
A minor Triad (Ib) First Inversion :
A minor - Ib.jpg
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Last edited by Fretful on Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:04 pm

A minor - Ib - on 5-4-3.jpg
A minor - IB - on 3-2-1 and 5-2-1.jpg
the next chord to be considered is Chord VI (Submediant) (F-A-C, but configured F-C-A) :
A minor - Chord VI - configured F-C-A).jpg
And the next is Chord V (Dominant) (E-G#-B - configured E-E-G#) :
A minor - Chord V (configured E-E-G#).jpg
The last chord to familiarise with is chord IV (Subdominant) (in its first inversion IVb) and CADENCE V – I :
Familiarising with IVb - and Cadence V-I.jpg
Familiarising with Cadences I-VI ; VI-V ; V-Ib ; IVb-V :
Familiarising with I-VI ; VI-V ; V-Ib ; IVb-V.jpg
These cadences can now gradually be further explored in higher positions and different fingerings:
Cadences I-VI ; VI-V ; V-IV ; V-Ib - Higher Pos. - Diff. Fingerings.jpg
The avove having been studied, the student will be equiped to read Logy’s opening phrase easily. An opportunity to analyse a modulation to C Major is offered in the second phrase.
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Rognvald
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Rognvald » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:02 pm

Excellent post, Fretful and I agree completely with your observations. As I have said in previous posts, I think there is a serious flaw in contemporary CG pedagogy where many relatively advanced students are completely ignorant of melody and harmonic progressions. How is it possible to teach music in a vacuum where a structural analysis of a piece is not part of your musical development? How is it possible to separate melodic and harmonic inventions when you can't identify them and ergo... how then can you play any Music faithfully? I hear it in all levels of musicianship among CG players on the Youtube God(mostly Godawful) performances and it is an immediately apparent flaw in the musician's education. I don't know what the answer is other than re-evaluating CG education and returning to a true classical music education that was so important to previous generations of serious musicians. I do believe there are some magical CG players today but, in my opinion, they are few and far between with the lion share being, in my opinion, robotic technicians with the musicality of a burrowing aardvark. Playing again . . . .Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:49 pm

Fretful wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:51 pm
...
On piano, someone who has never played can, on day one, be shown and even play the triads of an A minor harmonic progression, whilst on guitar, the following simple triadic scales would at first pose insurmountable left-hand stretches and confusion related to insufficient fingerboard notes-recognition :
(the roman numerals below the staves refer to the degrees of the scale ; those above are suggested (easy) fingerboard positions) :
A minor Harmonic Triads.jpg...
This is super and I agree with everything you say. For sake of clarity, should all the Gs be marked sharp in the above?
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

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sxedio
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by sxedio » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:02 pm

Fretful wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:51 pm
Staple methods, and those who teach them, hardly mention the subject, even though it is essential to the diet of an instrument which is endemically polyphonic and harmonic.
The Carcassi method goes through the keys one by one, giving examples of cadences, a prelude and often a more complicated piece.
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

CactusWren
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by CactusWren » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:32 pm

Good stuff, and working on this material is extremely useful; but isn't it strange to talk of chord progressions in Baroque music? It would seem more natural to study counterpoint than find out where the "grips" are in contrapuntal pieces. Another major issue is that most people I've come across just want to play, they dislike the academic issues they lump together as "music theory."

A serious guitar student would probably do best to study piano concurrently, for the very reason that the harmony rests so easily and logically on the keyboard. I found the weirdness of the fretboard too much when I tried to learn harmony on the guitar (it adds a level or two of difficulty unnecessarily), but it all made so much more sense when I studied piano. Once the principles are understood, then the translation to guitar could begin. You could get a keyboard for about the same cost as two guitar lessons.

It seems to me another great way to understand harmony and melody would be to participate in choirs. I understand Sor was thoroughly grounded in it, which may explain why he was so darn good at thinking that way.

dtoh
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by dtoh » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:48 am

Great stuff. Could you please provide us with a link to the rest of the material.

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:53 am

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:49 pm
This is super and I agree with everything you say. For sake of clarity, should all the Gs be marked sharp in the above?
Many thanks for your response!
Re. the sharps : absolutely. But Finale does not allow me to do it. I have tried. The index is silent on this. By default, if a note has been sharpened in a bar, that's it, any identical note is assumed to be sharpened ; of course, strictly, that's correct, but I know you are referring to "courtesy" markings (perhaps someone can help me with that, and I could edit the post ?).

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:07 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:32 pm
most people I've come across just want to play, they dislike the academic issues they lump together as "music theory."
Your comments are very helpful, as they point to the vastness of the fields in question. What I posted above, designed in its present form to establish a debate amongst adepts, would be too dense for beginners (and, from my experience even for intermediate amateur students). It would need to be diluted and prescribed in small doses over quite a long period (I have always dreamt of a guitar method with the strict guidelines that it should be spread over 48! months).

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:11 pm

sxedio wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:02 pm
The Carcassi method goes through the keys one by one, giving examples of cadences, a prelude and often a more complicated piece.
Thank you for flagging that up. Which publication are you referring to ? All the methods I have by him do indeed go through some of the keys, but my editions have none of the analyses under discussion.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:18 pm

Fretful wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:53 am
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:49 pm
This is super and I agree with everything you say. For sake of clarity, should all the Gs be marked sharp in the above?
Many thanks for your response!
Re. the sharps : absolutely. But Finale does not allow me to do it. I have tried. The index is silent on this. By default, if a note has been sharpened in a bar, that's it, any identical note is assumed to be sharpened ; of course, strictly, that's correct, but I know you are referring to "courtesy" markings (perhaps someone can help me with that, and I could edit the post ?).
Haven't used Finale in 20 years ... I think you'd be looking for something like a 'force accidental' ... I googled "'force accidental' in Finale" and came up with a few things. Pretty sure its possible.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

Fretful
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:23 pm

dtoh wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:48 am
Great stuff. Could you please provide us with a link to the rest of the material.
Many thanks. I haven't written the sequel yet. I was thinking I might do it. Your encouragement further tempts me. My total lack of mastery regarding Finale SongWriter reminds me of the days when finding a C# on D string was as bemusing as it was challenging. I here pay homage to Doralikesmath who was (and still is) an inspiration.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:46 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:18 pm
Fretful wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:53 am
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:49 pm
This is super and I agree with everything you say. For sake of clarity, should all the Gs be marked sharp in the above?
Many thanks for your response!
Re. the sharps : absolutely. But Finale does not allow me to do it. I have tried. The index is silent on this. By default, if a note has been sharpened in a bar, that's it, any identical note is assumed to be sharpened ; of course, strictly, that's correct, but I know you are referring to "courtesy" markings (perhaps someone can help me with that, and I could edit the post ?).
Haven't used Finale in 20 years ... I think you'd be looking for something like a 'force accidental' ... I googled "'force accidental' in Finale" and came up with a few things. Pretty sure its possible.
PS also did you try leaving out the time signature altogether?
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
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Posts: 2530
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:49 pm

Fretful wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:53 am
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:49 pm
This is super and I agree with everything you say. For sake of clarity, should all the Gs be marked sharp in the above?
Many thanks for your response!
Re. the sharps : absolutely. But Finale does not allow me to do it. I have tried. The index is silent on this. By default, if a note has been sharpened in a bar, that's it, any identical note is assumed to be sharpened ; of course, strictly, that's correct, but I know you are referring to "courtesy" markings (perhaps someone can help me with that, and I could edit the post ?).
Actually if we want to be totally strict, if the three notes of the triad are actually different voices, then strictly they need a new accidental anyway, even if at exactly the same pitch, and even without being that strict, the same pitch at different octaves really really should have one as well.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)
Simon Ambridge 'Hauser' (2018)

Fretful
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Technique and Harmony - anticipation in new piece

Post by Fretful » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:13 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:02 pm
As I have said in previous posts, I think there is a serious flaw in contemporary CG pedagogy where many relatively advanced students are completely ignorant of melody and harmonic progressions. How is it possible to teach music in a vacuum where a structural analysis of a piece is not part of your musical development?
Your response stimulates. It should invigorate the debate. For many, many years, I have had this discussion - including with publishers - and what is frustrating is that everyone has always agreed (sometimes even with a good deal of enthusiasm) but no one has ever done anything about it, not even something as little as I once urged a publishing house to do : please, I suggested, please JUST include - in subscript, for economy's sake - at the top of every score, a couple of scales in the keys and positions relevant to the piece, together with one courtesy line of the harmonic triads, and the main cadences in the main positions. Is that too much to ask ? I said. No, they said. So, will you do it ? I asked. Yes. they said. Did they do it ? No.
And, of course, I understand why! Even what I deemed to be the minimum material necessary to discuss one line of Logy took a long time put together. So, to embark on "modern" methods which would address all the issues under discussion wold probably be a lifetime's work. For commercial reasons, it would need someone, not only with the necessary motivation and competence, but also with the kind of profile that would persuade the tight-fingered protagonists in charge of stringent purse-strung constriction - who would rather be Schott in the foot than take the slightest risk with margins that may marginalise their Christmas bonuses - that there might be, at the end of the year, signs bearing witness to a profitable enterprise.
There is currently a young student of the guitar, making astonishing waves, and daily growing in one of our prestigious hot-houses with great strides and increasing stature, who has as much ambition to develop a teaching career as well as a performing one, who responds very positively to all that has been expressed above, and who may - who knows - devote the years required for such a task. I do hope so. May my very best wishes fill the sails of that enterprise.
And "May" my very best wishes also reach all those who read this Forum!
Last edited by Fretful on Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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