Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

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Brooke Martin
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Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Brooke Martin » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:47 pm

In a slurred grace note, do you also plant your right-hand thumb (or finger) for an accompanying chord tone? For example, if the grace note is a D descending to a C on the second string, and the accompanying C major chord tone is a C on the fifth string, do you plant your thumb on the bass C at the same time you plant your right finger for the D (the grace note), to prepare for when the two C notes are sounded together and to help make a smoother and quicker transition from the grace note to the C, without any lag from the bass C?

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:50 pm

Yes. The first grace note is sounded at the same time as any other notes in the chord (aside from arpeggiated chords but the principle is the same) and the slurred C, in your example happens afterwards, depending on tempo and character, more or less immediately. Usually a gentler action can be appropriate in slower instances.
Its an example of the graphical nature of the notation being highly misleading.
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Alexander Kalil » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:19 pm

Brooke Martin wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:47 pm
In a slurred grace note, do you also plant your right-hand thumb (or finger) for an accompanying chord tone? For example, if the grace note is a D descending to a C on the second string, and the accompanying C major chord tone is a C on the fifth string, do you plant your thumb on the bass C at the same time you plant your right finger for the D (the grace note), to prepare for when the two C notes are sounded together and to help make a smoother and quicker transition from the grace note to the C, without any lag from the bass C?

Personly I wouldn't plant the thumb but rather pluck the bass C from midair when the high c is being slurred. For a "smooth and quick transition from the grace note to the slurred c without any lag from the bass C" what we need is precise synchronization of the thumb stroke with the left-hand slur. If planting the thumb help you achieving this then in general no harm from doing it. But note that RH planting is not always viable - for example if the bass note C in question is part of a legato bass line and preceded by another bass note on the same string; planting the thumb for C here would cut off the sustaining predecessor note and disrupt the continuity of the bass line.

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Brooke Martin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:43 am

Thank you to each one of you for your replies. Stephen, I've been playing grace notes before the beat, and I would have thought that the accompanying bass note in my example above would be played on the beat. I understand, though, that this can depend on the composer, the time period, the performer's preference, etc. Looks like I've opened up another can of worms (acciaccaturas vs. appoggiaturas). I guess my question then comes down to: If one played the grace note before the beat, and the accompanying bass note on the beat, would it make sense to plant the bass note with the grace note, so that the transition to the regular note after the grace note and to the bass note is smooth? I find that if I don't plant my thumb on the bass note (lower C) when I plant my finger on the grace note, the move from the grace note (D) to the regular note (C) is not as quick.

And Alexander, all excellent points.

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by PeteJ » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:24 pm

I would usually play the bass note with the grace note so the problem wouldn't arise.

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by astro64 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:59 pm

I recommend you look on youtube for a video by Gohar Vardanyan playing Brouwer's etude number 17. She explains very clearly the difference between playing ornaments with the first note on the beat or the final principal note on the beat. Also, in cases where you combine the ornament with a bass note, she chooses to play the bass note with the first note of the ornament on the beat, since it sounds very awkward otherwise. She demonstrates both.

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:12 pm

Brooke Martin wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:43 am
Thank you to each one of you for your replies. Stephen, I've been playing grace notes before the beat, and I would have thought that the accompanying bass note in my example above would be played on the beat. I understand, though, that this can depend on the composer, the time period, the performer's preference, etc. Looks like I've opened up another can of worms (acciaccaturas vs. appoggiaturas). I guess my question then comes down to: If one played the grace note before the beat, and the accompanying bass note on the beat, would it make sense to plant the bass note with the grace note, so that the transition to the regular note after the grace note and to the bass note is smooth? I find that if I don't plant my thumb on the bass note (lower C) when I plant my finger on the grace note, the move from the grace note (D) to the regular note (C) is not as quick. ...
Well, I can't think of any occasion when the grace note would go first - please suggest one if you can! Maybe post a recording if you can ... ? Or a graphic of the score in question ...
Even for acciaccaturas vs. appoggiaturas, the principle in general remains the same - its just that the appoggiatura is a timed change for expressive effect.
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Brooke Martin » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:14 pm

There's more discussion of it here, Stephen, and while there's some argument, they would seem to support your approach: http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/v ... hp?t=94654 I find interesting this statement: The former is more practicable on the guitar [vs., say, a piano], so I suspect that is what most players would do for an acciaccatura. But I also think it depends on the time period (Baroque vs. Classical). For me, the question really arose with some Sor pieces that had grace notes with slashes through them, meaning that they're acciaccaturas. In the Classical era, they're generally played before the beat. That would seem to indicate that most accompanying bass notes would be played on the beat (not with the grace note, but with the regular note following the grace note). But I've read some notes online saying that both appoggiaturas and acciaccaturas can be played on the beat, though acciaccaturas are much quicker, "crushed notes" on the beat. One is left wondering and always learning ... :) Thank you for your replies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_note

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Kurt Penner » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:52 pm

[/quote]
Well, I can't think of any occasion when the grace note would go first - please suggest one if you can! Maybe post a recording if you can ... ? Or a graphic of the score in question ...
Even for acciaccaturas vs. appoggiaturas, the principle in general remains the same - its just that the appoggiatura is a timed change for expressive effect.
[/quote]

If you search on Youtube for: "satie gnossienne 1 reinbert de leeuw" I believe you can hear grace notes before the bass note and thus before the beat.

This caught my attention as I was learning the piece and couldn't quite identify what the difference was between my playing and his. I changed my approach after noticing this.

KP

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:43 pm

Kurt Penner wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:52 pm
.....
If you search on Youtube for: "satie gnossienne 1 reinbert de leeuw" I believe you can hear grace notes before the bass note and thus before the beat.
This caught my attention as I was learning the piece and couldn't quite identify what the difference was between my playing and his. I changed my approach after noticing this.
Well I found the Satie but can't bring myself to listen to such a slow rendition to find the relevant bits - not least because, being piano, its of limited use to this question. Perhaps the extremity of tempo influences the matter.
And I don't have a score to hand to see what the composer notated. It might well work to follow whatever happens there on guitar - as per usual, if it sound right it is right!
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:05 pm

Brooke Martin wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:14 pm
There's more discussion of it here, Stephen, and while there's some argument, they would seem to support your approach: http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/v ... hp?t=94654 I find interesting this statement: The former is more practicable on the guitar [vs., say, a piano], so I suspect that is what most players would do for an acciaccatura. But I also think it depends on the time period (Baroque vs. Classical). For me, the question really arose with some Sor pieces that had grace notes with slashes through them, meaning that they're acciaccaturas. In the Classical era, they're generally played before the beat. That would seem to indicate that most accompanying bass notes would be played on the beat (not with the grace note, but with the regular note following the grace note). But I've read some notes online saying that both appoggiaturas and acciaccaturas can be played on the beat, though acciaccaturas are much quicker, "crushed notes" on the beat. One is left wondering and always learning ... :) Thank you for your replies.
Many of those matters may pertain to other instruments. Not to suggest in a simplistic way that the guitar world is intrinsically a thing unto itself of course :shock: I may be being characteristically dim but after very many years following scores and recordings of both guitar and other instruments, I really don't recall notable occasions when grace notes were placed before the beat in 'normal' circumstances; exceptions may have been in very slow tempi or when for some other reason it seemed necessary, e.g. because of a large jump in the line. In fact it would seem to be precisely that clipped, very classical Mozart etc style wherein grace notes are sharply played on the beat and crushed right in.
Appogiaturas yes are on the beat and lean upon it, hence the name - acciacaturas are different creatures. Re original old editions I was always counsel caution in literal reading of details such as grace note markings, because there can be inconsistencies in the originals that seem to more related to error than intent.
And again I would very much like to know of any clear instances of pre-beat graces especially if in historically related performances. Meanwhile it would be helpful to check out the Sor, Aguado etc Methods and see what they have to say.
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by JohnB » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:22 pm

Kurt Penner wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:52 pm
If you search on Youtube for: "satie gnossienne 1 reinbert de leeuw" I believe you can hear grace notes before the bass note and thus before the beat.
In piano music there are certainly occasions when the grace notes are supposed to be before the beat. I believe that was the convention during the Classical period. However, much depends on context. How far that is applicable to the guitar (if at all) is another question entirely.

As far as the Satie is concerned, the pianist Pascal Roge (who, IMO, is a wonderful Satie interpreter) clearly plays the grace notes before that beat. His performance is on YouTube.
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:27 pm

oops
Last edited by Mark Clifton-Gaultier on Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:30 pm

Brooke Martin wrote: For me, the question really arose with some Sor pieces that had grace notes with slashes through them, meaning that they're acciaccaturas.
Strictly speaking they might more clearly be referred to as short appoggiature which actually speaks of their execution. Nomenclature sometimes becomes misused and then commonly aprropriated - the term acciaccatura originally pertained to a specific keyboard effect whereby a dissonant note would be struck simultaneously with its resolution - the dissonant note immediately being muted. This effect is of course also available in certain instances on some string instruments such as the lute or guitar.

During the 1700s no particular written distinction was made between long and short appoggiature. The slash began to be added by the early 1800s, however there was no intention to change the execution but simply to provide a visual difference between the two ornaments. Be careful with Sor - it very much depends on the edition as to whether you will find these slashes in the graces.
Brooke Martin wrote:In the Classical era, they're generally played before the beat.
What is your source for this information? It stands at odds with everything that I have ever read about the performance of 19th C music - in fact you can pretty much say that "on-the-beat" execution of appoggiature was taught as the rule.

There are many instruction manuals which present examples of written graces followed by their execution which make this abundantly clear. Here is one example:
on-beat_1.png
The above is taken from a flute method of around 1790; the top line is marked, "as we write", the lower one, "as we play".
on-beat_2.png
From Czerny's 1839 "Complete Practical Pianoforte School" again marked "written" and "played".
on-beat_3.png
... and this from Carcassi.

There are dozens and dozens of examples to be found - all of them specify the same manner of execution - some even complaining of how "some" performers get it wrong and how bad this sounds.
Stephen Kenyon wrote:Well I found the Satie but can't bring myself to listen to such a slow rendition to find the relevant bits - not least because, being piano, its of limited use to this question. Perhaps the extremity of tempo influences the matter.
And I don't have a score to hand to see what the composer notated. It might well work to follow whatever happens there on guitar - as per usual, if it sound right it is right!
Satie notates his appoggiature in the usual manner ... anyway, he's hardly to be considered when examining the work of Sor.
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Re: Planting right-hand thumb for chord tone with grace note?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:35 pm

To my previous post I would add that, though by chance all the examples I gave use slashed notes, the same comments hold true of the unslashed examples. You may search them out for yourself - and no, not instrument specific but across the board.

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