Technique or Repertoire ?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
Jol
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 am
Location: Chinchilla Queensland Australia

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Jol » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:01 am

I’ve recently come back to cg. I gave up while trying to learn lots of Bach, what that means I’m unsure. I try and memorise 1 easy piece for my level and 1 difficult one to work on with a metronome for the month. This month I’m learning Adelita, Tárrega and Le Cathedral allegro solemn, Barrios. I feel my technique gets better playing good music rather than exercises. Ymmv

nattyCT
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by nattyCT » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:09 pm

Learning songs that I like gives me the motivation to study cg. It's fun to go back and try my old songs again to see that I've developed my cg skills. it gives me extra motivation.

User avatar
zupfgeiger
Posts: 2153
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Wezembeek-Oppem, Belgium

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:22 am

Repertoire! I focus on Bach, Scarlatti and Tarrega for the time being. Enough pieces to cope with any technical problem conceivable.
Fritz Ober, Torres/Hauser model, 2010, spruce/maple
Giovanni Tacchi, Bouchet model, spruce/BRAZ, 2018

Nick Cutroneo
Posts: 3074
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:22 am
Location: Manchester, CT

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:05 am

A mistake is making this as an either/or choice. No matter how much time you practice for, strive to devote 1/4-1/2 of your practice time to working on your technique. Depending on what you are working on and how much time you have it's easier said than done. But never negate your technique practice. It'll only come back and bite you in the end.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

dtoh
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by dtoh » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:45 am

IMHO the most important thing is to practice what's fun and what motivates you. For me it was mostly exercises at the beginning. Now it varies a lot. Sometime it's trying to perfect a piece, other times it's sight reading, sometimes it's concentrated technique work, other times it's simple exercises while watching a movie. Some stuff takes a lot of mental concentration. Other stuff is just moving your fingers. If you feel like you need to practice, something is wrong. You should always practice because you want to.

Rognvald
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:52 pm

Find a good teacher to sort these issues out for you, A . . . and you won't WASTE TIME. Very few people can become a good musician without a good teacher. I hope this helps you. 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

User avatar
Tom Poore
Posts: 1278
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:00 pm
Location: South Euclid, Ohio, USA

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Tom Poore » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:21 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:A mistake is making this as an either/or choice. No matter how much time you practice for, strive to devote 1/4-1/2 of your practice time to working on your technique. Depending on what you are working on and how much time you have it's easier said than done. But never negate your technique practice. It'll only come back and bite you in the end.
Let’s take this a step further. To make the most progress, it’s essential to find interest in doing whatever needs to be done. Too often, amateur players see practice as doing whatever they like, and too often they like the wrong things. They’re caught up in pretending to play. Stuff they can’t do is pushed to the back burner, or ignored entirely. Hey, this is a hobby, and hobbies are supposed to be fun. If something is hard, then it’s not fun. That’s just an ineffective attitude.

Instead, cultivate the ability to be brutally honest about your playing, and then passionately tackle whatever is your most pressing problem at hand. Make this your definition of fun. After all, getting better is more fun than wallowing in static mediocrity.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

Rognvald
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:55 pm

"After all, getting better is more fun than wallowing in static mediocrity." Tom Poore


Quote of the day--5 stars. 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

User avatar
CarmineDeMarco
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon May 06, 2019 5:15 am
Location: Bergen County, New Jersey, USA

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by CarmineDeMarco » Mon May 06, 2019 10:31 pm

I can totally relate to your situation. When I was in music school, I was very technique-centric. My daily routine was typically 3-4 hours of practice, consisting of 1 hour of scales, 1 hour of technical etudes, and 1-2 hours of music. However, on days when I would practice more than 4 hours (which was often), that additional time was always spent working on pieces. I guess at that time, I did need to focus on my technique in order to have the overall technical proficiency to play some of the pieces I was playing. But now 35 years later, and having picked up the guitar again, for me it's all about playing things that I enjoy playing, that give me pleasure. I'm content to gradually relearn my old repertoire and rebuild my technical ability back toward where they once were; but it will never be that again (until I'm in retirement maybe), as I simply don't have that amount of free time to dedicate. Hence, my focus now on playing pieces that move me, regardless of their level of difficulty, and with which I will be able to express to listeners. At the same time, I've become very open to randomly and spontaneously learning new pieces, not quite so technically demanding but rather which I can quickly and easily learn - and then enjoy the PLAYING of. My focus on strictly technique is pretty much limited to weekends: I'll do scales with the metronome and concentrate on one (only one) etude with metronome. During the week, I may take sections of pieces I'm working on and isolate them out using the metronome. But I'm not the obsessed technique person I once was; it doesn't fit who I am now. Best wishes. :)

Terpfan
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:33 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Terpfan » Tue May 07, 2019 1:39 am

CarmineDeMarco wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 10:31 pm
I can totally relate to your situation. When I was in music school, I was very technique-centric. My daily routine was typically 3-4 hours of practice, consisting of 1 hour of scales, 1 hour of technical etudes, and 1-2 hours of music. However, on days when I would practice more than 4 hours (which was often), that additional time was always spent working on pieces. I guess at that time, I did need to focus on my technique in order to have the overall technical proficiency to play some of the pieces I was playing. But now 35 years later, and having picked up the guitar again, for me it's all about playing things that I enjoy playing, that give me pleasure. I'm content to gradually relearn my old repertoire and rebuild my technical ability back toward where they once were; but it will never be that again (until I'm in retirement maybe), as I simply don't have that amount of free time to dedicate. Hence, my focus now on playing pieces that move me, regardless of their level of difficulty, and with which I will be able to express to listeners. At the same time, I've become very open to randomly and spontaneously learning new pieces, not quite so technically demanding but rather which I can quickly and easily learn - and then enjoy the PLAYING of. My focus on strictly technique is pretty much limited to weekends: I'll do scales with the metronome and concentrate on one (only one) etude with metronome. During the week, I may take sections of pieces I'm working on and isolate them out using the metronome. But I'm not the obsessed technique person I once was; it doesn't fit who I am now. Best wishes. :)
I can totally relate to that experience. The first piece I learned after almost 20yrs was El noi de la mare. A piece I liked but considered way below my level. (I guess I was ignorant) Anyway, there is a lot more to music than technique. You have to record yourself to really know how you sound. Bring out the melody, balancing accompaniment. You have to know exactly what you want for every single note.

I have done countless hours (often mindless) of scales and arpeggio and I am sure it helped on my development, but maybe it could have been used on context of music. So when i practice scales, I used Villa Lobos etude 7, Bach Chaconne, Paganini sonata etc. So much exercise can be made from pieces that practicing Segovia Scales redundant. (Unless used to develop more knowledge of the fret board)

Juan del Bosque
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:33 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Juan del Bosque » Tue May 14, 2019 3:50 am

As you get older, you start losing that youthful energy that can be channeled into hours of technique development like scales. New muscle tissue costs one dearly as your growth hormones decline. I made the decision when I retired from my day job at 56 that I would concentrate on my most loved classics. The thing about classics is that they never get old, so your practice time becomes a pleasure and refuge. As an example I have a simplified piano transcription of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings that I work on every day. And every day I find out there's still work to do to get it perfect. On guitar it's a transcription for guitar I have for Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement.

Rognvald
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by Rognvald » Tue May 14, 2019 12:57 pm

" Hence, my focus now on playing pieces that move me, regardless of their level of difficulty, and with which I will be able to express to listeners. " CarmineDeMarco

Hi, Carmen,
Haven't you really described, in your above comment, why some of us have the passion for music and performance? This should be the impetus for all musicians-- regardless of skill level. And, the complexity of the music has nothing to do with profound communication of which the elementary pieces by Sor and Tarrega can readily attest. For many on this Forum, "artist level" pieces will be forever out of reach but it doesn't mean that they cannot communicate profoundly and musically from the wealth of repertoire available. The machine gun runs of Guiliani do not make a musician . . . they are only an indicator of mechanical skills. It is much more difficult to play a simple song that requires significant rubato, cleanliness of tone and precise execution between the dots. Play to your skill level and be the best you can be and then share your spirit with others. 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

User avatar
segobreawill
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:34 pm
Location: Mtl, Canada

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by segobreawill » Tue May 14, 2019 3:23 pm

Tons of good points mentioned in these posts!

I can relate to having started/stopped so many times in years past that it's disheartening. But, when you DO come back, you must be honest with yourself. Ask yourself this question: "Okay, here I go again on the CG... what do I want from it?" Within reasonable limits, what are you prepared to put in and what do you expect to achieve? If you want to play serious repertoire and expect to do it without technical exercises and studies, then what results will you achieve?

I need the technical exercises. I cannot do without them. But, we're not all the same: Some can go with very little technical work and dive right away into the heavy repertoire. There is the problem of becoming very familiar with the technical exercises after a time and the boredom that sets in. When that happens, it becomes a question of 'attention', and the act of being 'present' when one is playing and not going off on some daydreaming expedition, but rather being vigilant in listening and analyzing how he is playing the notes. So, this act of attention and being present is very valuable in helping a player to maintain their concentration while playing - very important. Therefore, nothing is lost - not even when playing humdrum boring technical excercises, when they are played right of course. It is a concentrated effort on one's part, to be sure.

May I suggest working on the various studies by Sor, Aguado, Carcassi, Giuliani, etc. I find that such studies provide a happy medium between technical aspects and musical interpretation. And if such studies don't appeal to you because they are not so-called "repertoire", let me end by quoting a reknowned master:
"Someone who plays exercises and studies without expression will take an equally unimaginative approach to the works of Bach."
Konrad Ragossnig

detwidkul
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:15 am
Location: Bangkok

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by detwidkul » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:41 am

I love technique stuff because they really help me overcome the passages i cant do. Yes it can be boring and hopeless sometimes. The weird thing is i was so many times feel so bad that i cant do it but i try to keep work on it and head to bed with frustation. And the miracle thing is the next day i find it a lot easier than last night.

May be is the problem of the brain to learn and accept new things and sometimes it need constant push until accept it.

Some of the songs that i like are way out of my skills, i try to play and make a lot of compensations of both hand and it does not sound good too + pain which equal another bad day.

I realize i have to go back to the technical exercise again and if it is still too hard , i will find others technicals that will help me to be able to play the first technical exercise.

With technical excercise it help me and more positive thinking that i am improving bit by bit and hopefully i can play the song i love the way i want to hear it.
need to practice more!

BenjaminZ
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:09 am

Re: Technique or Repertoire ?

Post by BenjaminZ » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:21 am

It's similar to asking whether we should be able to hand write well before we write for a purpose. Dichotomies can be dangerous! Binaries often emerge together.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”