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Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2 Video Update

Bowing to repeated requests that I should post videos with my blog, I finally stuck a crowbar in my wallet and bought a camera. After a day of cursing and head-scratching, I more or less figured out how to use it. So all my future monthly updates will be in video.

First let me explain that I’ve little experience in front of a camera. Watching this video, I was struck by how twitchy and shifty-eyed I look. If there’s ever a remake of “The Caine Mutiny” I’ll be a natural to play Captain Queeg. But that’s not a look I want to cultivate. I’ll work on appearing more warm and fuzzy.

Since the video shows what I’m doing, I’ll use this post merely to expand a bit on what you’ll see and hear. Classical guitarists might immediately notice that my right hand pinkie is often not moving with my other fingers during i and m alternation. Some guitarists regard this as a serious technical faux pas. I tend to be one of them. Certainly in any right hand movement involving a, I want my pinkie to move with it. But I’m not sure this is so important for alternation. Many very accomplished guitarists don’t move the pinkie while doing alternation. (John Williams is a notable example.) For the moment, I’m agnostic on this matter. I don’t particularly like not moving it, but if it doesn’t slow me down, then I’ll let it be.

You’ll also notice that some of what I do sounds hit or miss. For example, when I begin alternating four notes per click at 100, the results are a bit ragged at first. I’ve found that when I begin my right hand practice sessions, it takes a about ten or fifteen minutes before my hand feels loose. That’s reflected in the video, since I only warmed up about five minutes before shooting. One goal I’m working toward is to reduce the warmup time needed before my hand is ready to roll. Five minutes should be enough. Indeed, concert artists occasionally have to make do with less.

By the way, whenever I do a video update, I intend to set up, briefly warm up, and then shoot in one take. I want each update to show my true capability, not a pristine and heavily edited version. So expect a few blemishes. Speaking of which, there’s a mistake in my narration. At the 7:41 mark I say this: “The extensor stretches would be like so.” I should have said “flexor stretches.”


For those interested, the camera I used for this video is a Zoom Q3HD. Despite my chronic ineptitude with all things mechanical, it’s pretty easy to use. I wouldn’t use it to make a Hollywood epic. But for Youtube videos, it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.


With no further ado, here’s the video. Get yourself some soda and popcorn, and enjoy the show.





——[My next post will be on April 11, 2011.]——

3 comments:

PH said...

Firstly, I don't play regularly, so this is just feedback from your video.

I noticed a big difference in your right hand position (with respect to the body of the guitar) between the single-string work at the start and the pieces you played later. Seems to me that the early position doesn't fit any normal playing mode, so your practice position may not inform your playing position. It should.

When you were playing the pieces, your A finger curled up out of the way (mine does this too). It looks to me that there is nothing else to do with it - it would either damp a string or your hand would get very tense holding it out straight. I've been trying a wrist-up position (i.e., raise the wrist away from the strings) to try and stop this happening, but then I run into problems when resting the forearm on the guitar to hold it steady: the wrist gets bent at right-angles, and it shouldn't need do that. Perhaps some kind of raised armrest would help.

Anonymous said...

Tom,
I noticed that in the Fandanguillo you were flexing a and c in past i and m- is this a conscious strategy?

Anonymous said...

Tom,
I was wondering what is you exact goal? Is it possible that your goal is too vague?