Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:49 am

PINNING THE BASS “B” TO THE BOARD :
Choose your own fingerings where alternatives are available, but strictly adhere to the given positions or strings; develop your awareness of the title note, in this case the bass “B”, in relation to the open strings, i.e. at fret 2 in position II on ⑤, and at fret 7 in position V on ⑥ where it forms (and this will subsequently be covered in detail) a Perfect Fifth above the bass open string Ⓔ.

As you did for the “A” of the previous section, use the same strategies to mentalise and memorise this bass “B” in its various aspects.
Continue, occasionally, singing the all notes as you play them:
Pinning the Bass B.jpg
From time to time, to emphasise perspective, finger the "B" at VII on ⑥ and visually trace the (virtual) notes back to the open string; then answer the following: how many tones are there between the "B" and the open E - how many semitones are there between the "B" and the open E?

And further (apart from the two “Bs” on ⑤, be sure to play everything on ⑥):
Pinning the Bass B - further.jpg
Familiarise with the following theme that might feature in a concerto:
Pinning the Bass B - (Theme for Cadenza).jpg
Once familiar with the theme, play ad lib the following “Cadenza” which elaborates on that theme; apart from respecting the given strings (specified to “drum in” the bass Bs), all the rest is up to you, including tempi and dynamics; play it sometimes lyrically, sometimes resolutely, or in an improvisatory style (play the recurring section marked * always on ⑥):
Pinning the Bass B - Cadenza.jpg
Next: Pinning the Bass “C”
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chayapodb
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by chayapodb » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:42 pm

Certainly the skill I need to work on. Thank you for sharing!
Best,
Chayapod

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

Post by Fretful » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:04 pm

PINNING THE BASS “C” TO THE BOARD :

Minimum fingering is given, as it is essential to learn to read notes rather than fingerings; at position I, the Bass C can only be played on ⑤, whether at position V it can only be played on ⑥; the “A”s however at position V can be played on either ⑥ or open ⑤: the choice is yours:
Pinning the Bass C.jpg
And further: in the next exercise, as you are playing the “C” at (*), really FOCUS on the fact that you are three semitones (three frets) above the open “A” (⑤);
and at (**), really CONCENTRATE on the fact that you are eight semitones (eight frets) above the open “E” (⑥);
Pinning the Bass C - further.jpg
Work on these last two exercises until you can find the Bass “C” on both the E and A strings UNHESITATINGLY.

THE MINOR SCALE:
In a C Major scale, “C” natural is the First note of that scale, it is called the TONIC, and is often referred to as the FIRST DEGREE of the scale … But in a scale of “A”, “C” (#) becomes the THIRD note (the third degree of the scale). Revisiting the “A” Major scale (studied earlier), we notice that the “C” is NOT a “C” natural, but a “C#”, so as to respect the T.T.S.T.T.T.S. pattern.
Play the scale on the A string only so as to get a clear perception of the tones and semitones:
A Major Scale T.T.S.T.T.T.S.(FORCED ACCIDENTALS).jpg
If the accidentals are removed, we have the following … :
A - Scale - Accidentals removed.jpg
… which gives us an interesting but somewhat “rudderless” scale which has two main points of interest:

1) The Whole Tone between the 2nd and 3rd degrees has become a semitone;
2) There is no LEADING NOTE because the Semitone we expect between the 7th and 8th degrees has become a WHOLE TONE.

The semitone between the 2nd and 3rd degrees is one of the main factors which gives a minor key its “flavour” (See A minor flavour in “Public Space”);
The other factor will become apparent when we “create” a LEADING NOTE by reducing the gap between the 7th and 8th degrees by SHARPENING the 7th degree into a G SHARP:
A Scale (sharpened G - Augmented Second.jpg
Sharpening the G has not only created a “Leading Note” but has had a dramatic effect on the scale: the whole tone (two semitones) between the 6th and 7th degrees has been AUGMENTED to 3 semitones (called – a little confusingly at this stage of the study - an “AUGMENTED SECOND” - it will become clearer when intervals are subsequently studied in detail).
This large gap of 3 semitones, immediately followed by the single semitone of the leading note, gives the scale - and any music derived from it - an exotic and attractive dimension, despite being sometimes perceived as “sad” and a little unsettling.
Pinning Bass C - in A minor.jpg
Gustav Mahler gives an unforgettable demonstration of how a happy tune in a major key can be turned on its head by simply modulating it into a minor key and adding passing notes (in the first, fifth and sixth bars) which introduce semitones which would otherwise not be there; compare the following two renditions of Frère Jacques, first in A Major:
Frère Jacques - Traditional.jpg
Then, in A minor, play the following at I, and then at V:
Frère Jacques - Mahler.jpg
Next: Pinning the Bass “D” to the Board
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:31 am

PINNING THE BASS “D” TO THE BOARD :

With the bass “D”, we encounter the first note which can be found in THREE different places ; it is important to relate each placement to the respective open strings ; the time has come to MEMORISE just those three Bass “D” positions : the OPEN string ④, at the fifth fret on ⑤, and at the tenth fret on ⑥ ;
it can also be quite useful to visualise the fact that, on ⑥, the D is two frets away from the twelfth fret (the 12th fret being the “octave fret” of the open strings).

“Pinning the Bass “D” – relating it to the open strings ④, ⑤, and ⑥:
Pinning the Bass D (relating to open strings).jpg
To reinforce the knowledge of those positions, and kill two birds with one stone, work on the following rhythmic exercise in 2/4 time, respecting the marked stresses: STRONG on the first beat, WEAK on the second one. Understanding Time signatures is a very important part of sight-reading.

Strictly keep to the given positions but not necessarily to the indicated fingerings which are those that will be needed for the “Pinning the Bass “D” (Major)” exercise below, so feel free at this stage to use any finger you like, but in the knowledge that when it comes to playing “Pinning the Bass “D” (Major)”, the “Ds” will have to be played with finger 2.

Whichever fingerings you choose for the Rhythmic exercise, work on it until these three notes have really been "hammered" home, so that the fact that the Bass “Ds” are on OPEN ④ - at Fret 5 on ⑤ - and at Fret 10 on ⑥ has been visually, mentally, and musically integrated, so that not only knowledge but also a reflex will have been created:
Pinning the Bass D (2-4).jpg
Since previously, exercises have established the Bass “C”, and the current exercises are establishing the Bass “D”, the opportunity is now taken to practice the C# (which sits between the two) by switching to D minor (see previous analysis of the minor scale):
Pinning the Bass D.jpg
In the next exercise (in D Major – 2#) one useful thing to remember is that Positions II, IV, and IX are particularly suited to D Major:
Pinning the Bass D - (Major).jpg
And in D minor:
At this still early stage of the course, it will be quite normal to fumble for some of the notes in the next exercise, but NOT where the three Bass “Ds” are concerned, as they now really ought to have been absorbed.

In D minor, position V gives easy access to the Bb but requires a little stretch to reach the C# on ⑥ :
Pinning the Bass D - Minor.jpg
Next: Pinning the Middle “E”; exercise re: Time signature.
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:50 am

PINNING THE MIDDLE “E” TO THE BOARD :
PINNING MIDDLE E - (relating to Open Strings).jpg
The next exercise adds the D#. All fingerings must be inferred from the given Positions. For the final four Es, players can decide on the Positions (i.e. which finger they play the notes with), but must adhere to the given strings.
Pinning the Middle E.jpg
The following exercise, in 4/4, gives an opportunity to work on the sonorities of the same notes on different strings, leading to further associations between where notes are and the sound they make in those positions; emphasise the 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 stresses within each bar:
PINNING MIDDLE E - 4-4.jpg
Next : Pinning Middle “F”; exercise in Time Signature
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:32 am

PINNING THE MIDDLE “F” TO THE BOARD :

Continuing with the “minimum fingerings” policy, players must work from the given positions and/or the denoted strings; no finger-stretching is required at this stage, all the notes fall naturally under the fingers at the given positions. Ambiguities exist where the notes are marked with asterisks: students can decide whether to play those notes as open strings, but logic and “line-continuity” should inform their choices.
The exercise is written so that the Middle F can be learnt in relation to its fret but also in relation to the open string. As always, name and sing the notes as you play them:
Pinning the Middle F.jpg
And further:
PINNING MIDDLE F - further.jpg
Pinning the “F” in 3/4 (stress the FIRST beat of every bar):
PINNING F - 3-4.jpg
Familiarizing with TRIPLETS:
(As long as you observe the given change of tempo, there will be virtually no discernible difference between the crochet rendition and the triplets one; with this exercise, familiarise with the feel of playing three notes evenly in one beat):
TRIPLETS - Getting the feel of.jpg
Before playing “Amazing Grace” in Positions I and V, there are a few alternative fingerings to consider and for you to choose from when you read the piece (for instance, the slide between Positions I and V will have been better prepared if the Bass “C” is played with finger 4, as in bars 7 & 8 of the exercise):
AMAZING GRACE - Alternative Fingerings.jpg
AMAZING GRACE IN POS 1 & V:
AMAZING GRACE - F MAJOR - Pos. I & IV.jpg
Next: Pinning the Middle “G” + further exercises in Time Signatures
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Lawler
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Lawler » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:04 pm

I enjoyed reading through this set (pinning the F), Fretful. The ending of the second in the set (Eyes Wide Shut) was pretty crafty. I'll check out the other sets as well.

I play pitch and rhythm "echo" games with my students that are a little like these, where I improvise a short simple phrase and the student "echo-plays" it back. ...Sometimes naming pitches, sometimes echoing changes in volume or tone color, sometimes just focusing on rhythmic figures, sometimes followed by the student writing corresponding staff notation.

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

Post by Fretful » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:17 am

PINNING THE MIDDLE “G” TO THE BOARD:

Work on the following until you feel confident regarding where the “Gs” are in relation to the strings on which they are played:
PINNING MIDDLE G - relating to open strings.jpg
In the next exercise, four positions are suggested for Bar 9; even though this is not the way one would normally finger that bar, use the gradual shift of the left hand (as the “G” on ④ is being played respectively with fingers 1, 2, 3, and 4) to familiarise with the fact that even though a note may have a fixed place, it can be viewed and played from shifting perspectives. The only exceptions to this being the six notes on the open strings:
Pinning Middle G.jpg
PINNING MIDDLE G - further.jpg
PINNING MIDDLE G - comp. 3-4 and 3-8.jpg
PINNING MIDDLE G - 3-8.jpg
The next exercise should first be played with the given positions and fingerings, then experiment with reversing ad lib the given positions and fingerings, paying special attention to the different sonorities achieved:
PINNING MIDDLE G - 3-8 - further.jpg
Next: Pinning the Middle “A” to the board
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montana
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by montana » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:35 pm

chrisphattingh wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:30 am
Thank you...... so much to learn, so little time left.....
There is no finish line. I believe that Bream played so beautifully because he loved the sound of every note

Jgr888
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Location: Sydney

Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Jgr888 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:30 am

Thank you - I found these very useful.

Jgr888
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Location: Sydney

Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Jgr888 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:31 am

Thank you - I found these very useful.

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

Post by Fretful » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:09 am

PINNING THE MIDDLE “A” TO THE BOARD:

Where the strings have not been denominated, deduce, from the given positions, the strings on which the notes can be found:
Pinning Middle A.jpg
The next exercise is by no means easy: the middle “A” being played, respectively, from more than five different positions; also, watch out for the three different fingerings for the three-times-repeated E-F-G#-A in bars 51 to 58; finally, the position shifts in the chromatic descent (in the final ten bars) deliberately contradicts the 3/8 beat – take plenty of time over these:
PINNING MIDDLE A - 3-8.jpg
THE 6/8 TIME SIGNATURE:
The 6/8 time signature is often found unnecessarily confusing; essentially, it is simply TWO sets of three grouped quavers; it originated to save trouble at the printers: if written with triplets in 2/4, every group of triplets would have to marked with a “3” over EACH beam;
however, although, there is virtually no audible difference between triplets in 2/4 and two groups of three quavers in 6/8, some will argue that is a very subtle difference in execution inasmuch as there would be, in 6/8, slightly less emphasis on the second beat in the bar (see the difference in the markings):
PINNING MIDDLE A - 2-4 comp. to 6-8.jpg
In addition to what was said above about 6/8 rhythm, it lends itself to a particularly “flowy” impetus;
the next exercise will require a lot of concentration and discipline: in PINNING MIDDLE “A” 6/8, the position lines are no longer used; stay in the given positions until a change is indicated; when playing this study, DO NOT A SINGLE OPEN STRING:
PINNING MIDDLE A - 6-8.jpg
Next: REVISION
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Lawler
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Lawler » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:29 am

A pleasure to sightread this set. I'm going to use these this week with a couple students for whom these will be perfect for strengthening reading skills. I was thinking of recording the set for them for their listening afterwards, since these sound good and deserve repeated plays by the student beyond an initial play-through and discussion... but I probably will never get to it, heh.

To the person who posted that he prefers playing Lagrima to exercises like this (it might be in the other thread - hard to keep the two threads straight, sorry), I'd say "who in the world could compete with Tarrega in anything?!!" :lol:

[Fretful, I noticed a couple minor misprints in the notation... I'll PM you, if you'd like, after I do another read-through]
Last edited by Lawler on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Fretful » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:24 pm

TEST and REVISION:

Use the next exercise to determine which notes still cause hesitation, and at which positions.
Try to decide on a speed – no matter how slow it might be – at which a reasonably steady beat can be kept; if keeping time is a problem, work on only one bar at a time, sometimes naming and singing the notes, sometimes not, but ALWAYS listening intently.

TEST – Bass “E” – Middle “A” :
TEST - bass E - Middle A.jpg
Revisit the C Major and A minor scale prior to playing the following at the indicated positions; when encountering any hesitancy, go back to the relevant exercise and consolidate note-recognition;

The transition between bars 12 and 14 (bar 13) can be done in different ways; try all the alternatives you can think of and decide which you prefer:
REVISION - 1.jpg
Next: Pinning the Middle “B” to the board
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Fretful
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Re: Improve your Fingerboard Knowledge and Sight-Reading Technique

Post by Fretful » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:16 pm

PINNING THE MIDDLE “B” TO THE BOARD :
(When possible, use open strings to change position)
PINNING MIDDLE B - (6-8).jpg
THE 9/8 TIME SIGNATURE :
This time signature gives us three beats to the bar; it is helpful at first to consider it as being three sets of triplets in 3/4 (pay special attention to the stresses: 1 - 2 - 3):
PINNING MIDDLE B - 3-4 - lead. to 9-8.jpg
PINNING MIDDLE B - No Open Strings.jpg
PINNING MIIDLE “B” (further) :
PINNING MIDDLE B - further.jpg
THE 12/8 TIME SIGNATURE :
Starting with Triplets in 4/4:
PINNING MIDDLE B - 4-4 - (in triplets).jpg
Not all positions or strings are given, some must be inferred:
PINNING MIDDLE B - 12-8.jpg
Next: Pinning Middle “C”
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