Tuesday, November 21, 2006

playing in position pt. 5: one string melodies (again)

Having taken our first steps in integrating the small-scale and large-scale gestures in position playing, let’s revisit those one string lines, but, this time, instead of playing the line with the first finger, this time play it with the fourth. Again, this could be any scale, arpeggio, or melody, but, as the example, I’m still taking Morricone’s music from Cinema Paradiso:melody played with fourth fingerThe first finger’s position is marked by the diamond notehead, and, in tablature, with the number in square brackets.
What we’re doing here is shifting the ‘finger-per-fret’ shape up and down the neck. As you shift this shape, you should be thinking of the position of the first finger (and only thinking of the fourth finger in terms of the ‘finger-per-fret’ shape relative to the first). Remember, in position playing the guitar player gets their bearing from their first finger. The fact that the note three frets above the first finger is the one that you hear should not be your primary concern, just target the appropriate fret with the first finger and the rest should fall into place.
As always, try different strings, and different lines/melodies.

If you’re having difficulty keeping in mind the position of the first finger, try a variant like the following:ornamented with alternating fourth and first fingersExercises like the one above allows you to sound the fret at the first finger to aurally remind you where you are.
Once you’re comfortable with these, try, for example, playing the line alternately with the first and the fourth finger:melody played alternately with fourth and first fingersBy alternating sounding the first and the fourth finger in such cases, we’re psychologically and physically constructing a non-linear relationship between sounding/fretting actions (and the corresponding aural feedback) and macroscopic gestures.

Incidentally, I hope I don’t need to, at this stage, remind you to relax and take your time….

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