Different ways of locating and fingering Major Thirds in Seven Keys:
It is often said that one of the great difficulties of classical guitar is that the same notes, or chords, can be played with different fingers in different places; this is true BUT it is helpful to notice and experience that, in most cases, the patterns are the same, so that the fingers are really doing the same things but simply in a different place … but how to find that place? To increase awareness, the following exercises require that you first find and play the Lower note of the chord, and then reverse the process by finding and playing the upper note first:
Apply the principles of the last two examples in the next exercise ("Examples of Positions & Fingerings"):
1) play the first instance of the chord, then find its repetitions by first locating the lower note and allowing the know pattern automatically to locate the higher note;
2) play the first instance of the chord, then find its repetitions by first locating the higher note and allowing the known pattern automatically to locate the lower note;
Use this exercise to begin to assimilate which degrees of the scales particular notes are on in specific keys, so, for instance, the notes in bars 11 and 15 (of the main exercise) look identical BUT, in fact, they perform intrinsically different functions inasmuch as, in bar 11, the Major Third is built on the Dominant (“D” = degree 5 of the G Major scale), whereas in bar 15, it is built on the Tonic (“D” = degree 1 of the D Major scale) (the Fourth degree of a scale is called the Subdominant [more of that later]);
Base your fingerings on the following EXAMPLE:
in Bar 1 of the next example, the given position is “V”, the chord is the Major Third “C/E”.
In Position V, which of the two notes can you most easily locate, the “C”, or the “E” …? … If you choose the “E”, finger 3 should automatically present itself to play that “E” in Position V, and, since you know the pattern for the Major Third, finger 4 should follow suit … then, while continuing to CONCENTRATE on the sound of that interval, play the repetitions while substituting the alternative fingerings which will take you to the further two positions from where that chord can be played on those frets;
at that point, a new Position is given for the SAME chord: Position II … the most immediate note-recognition at that Position would be for the “E” with 1 and, as you are now familiar with both the chord and the Pattern, the rest will be child’s play:
Once you have absorbed the principles of this example, proceed with the following exercise, at first adhering to the advocated fingerings but, eventually choosing your own, ad lib, in a free-for-all; always try to remember to assess where the root note of each chord situates itself in the given key (i.e. Tonic, Subdominant, or Dominant - for the moment, only concentrate on those three degrees: 1 - 4 - and 5):
Work through the last exercise thoroughly, just a couple of times, then leave it for a day or two; when resuming it, judge how well you have mastered the concept of the Major Third with the five different string combinations in the various positions, fingerings, and in different keys; you will probably find that the flattened notes are a little trickier to find … now is the time to consolidate those.
Next: a “Vicious” Circle in Major Thirds
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