Segovia scales...what approach?

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prawnheed
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by prawnheed » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:01 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:52 pm
Refuting does not mean what you seem to think it means, but OK. I am not interested in pursuing this further. I would have liked to hear what is so much better about the Segovia scales specific fingerings and the particular patterns used.
I'll refute your claim that I am incorrectly using the word by quoting the OED.

"Usage
The core meaning of refute is ‘prove a statement or theory to be wrong’, as in attempts to refute Einstein's theory. In the second half of the 20th century a more general sense developed, meaning simply ‘deny’, as in I absolutely refute the charges made against me. Traditionalists object to this newer use as an unacceptable degradation of the language, but it is widely encountered."

astro64
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by astro64 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:11 pm

To get back to the topic...My understanding of this is: The Segovia scales involve large shifts at many places. This can be good from a learning perspective, but it is not the easiest or typical way many performers might plays such a scale today. There are alternatives that are more logical in where the shifts occur, and in what right hand fingering might be most efficient for speed (e.g. ami as the RH pattern). So it is question of how much you need to beat yourself up to master those scales at high speeds when there are alternatives that may be easier to learn. I presume this depends on what your long-term goals are and how much time you have to spend on scales each day.

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guitarrista
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by guitarrista » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:26 pm

Good points astro. The thing is I can practice shifts with more focused results in the context of a piece, or as an etude just for that purpose.
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Rasputin
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:31 pm

That's scales all over though - a response along those lines could be given with regard to any advantage that anybody might claim for any set of scales. The way I look at it, although time spent on scales is not totally wasted, it would be better spent on something else. Some sets of scales may be less inefficient than others, but that's an odd question to debate because if you cared about efficiency, you wouldn't be doing scales in the first place.

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prawnheed
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by prawnheed » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:35 pm

astro64 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:11 pm
To get back to the topic...My understanding of this is: The Segovia scales involve large shifts at many places. This can be good from a learning perspective, but it is not the easiest or typical way many performers might plays such a scale today. There are alternatives that are more logical in where the shifts occur, and in what right hand fingering might be most efficient for speed (e.g. ami as the RH pattern). So it is question of how much you need to beat yourself up to master those scales at high speeds when there are alternatives that may be easier to learn. I presume this depends on what your long-term goals are and how much time you have to spend on scales each day.
I don't think the objective of playing scales is to learn to play the scales so making it easier is not going to help me. Making it more "realistic" and covering situations that are likely to occur when playing music is much more helpful to me. Brouwer has some interesting exercises for this, but there are many others.

The answer seems to me to be to mix up the fingerings and positions in different ways and not to fall into the trap of just playing a pattern as fast as possible.

I also find playing scales in different patterns useful. A simple example uses intervals of thirds: 1,3,2,4,3,5,4,6,... To do this requires some different fingerings than just running up and down.

CactusWren
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by CactusWren » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:43 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:01 am
CactusWren wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:01 am
prawnheed wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:32 pm


To quote from Charles Duncan's book: "As a coordination and velocity exercise, practising the Segovia scales is still unsurpassed."
He has more than one book, and even writers can learn.

Duncan's Classical Guitar 2000 illustrates a scale system superior to Segovia's. But really--they all are.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far you have offered nothing other than an opinion expressed as if it were a fact. I am certain you are not able to offer enough evidence to convince me that ALL other scale systems are better than Segovia's. I'll take that as hyperbole and I'd be happy for you to try and convince me that any ONE other is.
Sorry, I decline; what do you have to offer that I should use my time that way?

To the students: Segovia's scales are cheap, but our time is not, folks. As someone who's been playing for 30 years, looking at them makes me shudder at the hours wasted on them, how they fruitlessly complicate the simple, how distanced they are from how the instrument is generally played nowadays, how they fail to teach the logic of the fretboard, how positions work, and how keys lie on the guitar. I can only suggest before getting started, to reviewing a handful of the various approaches, and asking yourself which ones make sense, and which one does not.

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prawnheed
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by prawnheed » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:58 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:43 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:01 am
CactusWren wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:01 am


He has more than one book, and even writers can learn.

Duncan's Classical Guitar 2000 illustrates a scale system superior to Segovia's. But really--they all are.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far you have offered nothing other than an opinion expressed as if it were a fact. I am certain you are not able to offer enough evidence to convince me that ALL other scale systems are better than Segovia's. I'll take that as hyperbole and I'd be happy for you to try and convince me that any ONE other is.
Sorry, I decline; what do you have to offer that I should use my time that way?
Nothing. The onus is on you to justify your remark. As you chose not to, I'll just ignore it and not waste any more of my time.

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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by Peter Corey » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:40 am

georgemarousi wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:24 am
My vote is yes, learn them and use them as part of your warm up.

I agree. I practiced them every day as warm up, along with the Giuliani exercises for the right hand.

The only thing I can see that's "illogical" about the Segovia scales is not the scales themselves but . . . the guitar itself. If you get rid of that maddening major 3rd between the G and B strings and tune all the strings in perfect fourths, scales become far more logical, indeed, allowing the left hand to move congenially across the fretboard, from low E to high F without changing patterns as you shift upwards on the neck.

The problem with equal interval tuning, of course, is that you lose the ability to play full-sounding chords in the usual keys that guitarists like so much.

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Bododio
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by Bododio » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:52 pm

I always start my practice sessions with the Segovia scales, played in the circle of fifths order in which Segovia presents them. Over time I have learned 3 important things:

1. Accurate finger placement. Sweet spot on the fingertips meets sweet spot right behind the fret. When I first started this was a challenge for me. I started my scale practice slowly, and over time have built up speed. I'm still not ready for prime time, but I have definitely seen much improvement in the quality of my note playing.
2. Where all the notes are on the fretboard. At first I called out all the notes as I played them. But over time learned that I just needed to focus on each scale's tonic. 5 years in, my sight reading skill has greatly improved.
3. Shifting the left hand accurately. When I first started, my shifts were very inaccurate, overshooting and undershooting the mark. There's always room for improvement, but I'm much more accurate now.

Putting it all together, I have much more confidence in my ability, the guitar feels much more comfortable in my hands, I'm a better sight-reader, and my note production is clearer and cleaner. I'm a big fan of the Segovia scales. YMMV.
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Pirooz Emad
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by Pirooz Emad » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:22 am

In my experience the Segovia scales are quite useful for developing basic technical skills such as hand coordination, smooth left hand shifts along and across strings, and string crossing. There are 8 patterns that cover all of the major and (melodic) minor scales. Read slowly, learn and memorize the pattern of each scale and gradually discover the other scales that share the same pattern. I recommend you start with the C major scale. Once you have memorized it you can practice with a metronome to get your speed up (speed at which you can play the ascending and descending directions back to back cleanly in both hands). Over the years many teachers including Duncan have adopted the Segovia C major scale as the benchmark for scale speed. Of course the study of scales is essential to understanding music theory and a good way to combine theory and practice is via a logical fingerboard system such as the one developed by Duncan in his Classical Guitar 2000 book.

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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by mainterm » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:53 pm

I've learned two and three octave scale patterns by Segovia, Shearer, Duncan, Iznaola, the ABRSM published fingerings, and a few other odds and ends.

Mostly this was for audition, juries or some other mandate, e.g. teacher saying "you should do this". And I would gladly leave it at that - I find little long term practical use in practicing scales in place of music featuring scales. So perhaps they are some kind of pedagogical hurdle?

Very occasionally - like once a month or even less frequently - I'll run through some short scale patterns just to see if the fretting/plucking coordination is still there. That's it. Usually nothing more than one or two octave patterns.

There is plenty of repertory featuring scales that is way more fun and interesting to work with than any sterile scale method.

And if one truly wishes to learn just scales, my suggestion is to work out your own fingerings, try different things, weigh pros and cons, take your time with it and discern for yourself why all of these master players and teachers have settled on the fingerings they've published. A deeper understanding of the fretboard will result from this exercise as well.

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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by ronjazz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:29 am

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:52 pm
Refuting does not mean what you seem to think it means, but OK. I am not interested in pursuing this further. I would have liked to hear what is so much better about the Segovia scales specific fingerings and the particular patterns used.

No, you wouldn't.
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by ronjazz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:46 am

I have found the Segovia scales are extra-ordinarily useful for many reasons, most mentioned in these responses. The fact is, it's really hard to find a guitarist of world class that doesn't practice scales separate and apart from sale passages in repertoire. In fact, it's very difficult to find a classical, jazz or studio musician on any instrument that doesn't see scale practice as an essential building block for speed, coordination, control, dynamics, and securing the notes. I'm not sure what the naysayers are going after; nobody, to my knowledge, not even Segovia, ever claimed that his were the best or the only scales to practice. In his introduction, he says the assiduous practice of scales solves many problems, he doesn't say HIS scales. As far as the amateurs here claiming that the repertoire provides "fun and interesting" enough scales to allow you to eliminate "sterile" scale exercises, the proof is in the pudding. Where are your commercial recordings, how are your solo tours going, are you making a living at the classical guitar?
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by Jules Wilkins » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:04 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:52 pm
Refuting does not mean what you seem to think it means, but OK. I am not interested in pursuing this further. I would have liked to hear what is so much better about the Segovia scales specific fingerings and the particular patterns used.
Interesting that you would be so dead set against Segovia scales that you would turn it into an argument.
I for one cannot tell you what is "so much better" about them because I do not know what I am comparing them to, but they were generally hailed as a major advance in classical guitar literature when they first came on the scene, many a student and professional player have found them extremely helpful and still recommend them heartily, and even I can tell you some good things about them. First, there are relatively few patterns which makes it relatively easy to learn the patterns and thus learn all of the major and melodic minor scales within a short period of time. Perhaps other author's scales accomplish the same thing...I wouldn't know. But any time I can accelerate learning anything it is a good thing if for no other reason that it boosts my confidence and keeps me engaged. More specifically, this in turn will quicken my knowledge of the entire fingerboard and that is a huge advantage. It also provides us with excellent studies in speed, shifting and discipline to name just a few things we can use scales for.
With respect, I think a more valuable general approach would be to recommend the books, systems, etc. that you have found most valuable in your journey, I would guess that you have some valuable advice to offer on scales and other areas.
I know you mean well or you would not have posted, and there is no doubt in my mind that we can all learn from each other. A recommendation gets people interested. A slam, as you have just witnessed, is more likely to just start an argument. Food for thought.
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guitarrista
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Re: Segovia scales...what approach?

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:22 am

Nah, I was just pushing back against someone else's argumentative aggressiveness which was addressed at a different commenter.
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