Group 1

Improve your tremolo!

Tremolo is one of the defining techniques for classical guitar! Although not used very often in the repertoire, some of the most iconic pieces employ it to create a beautiful singing melody above an accompaniment pattern.

Fellow Participants in Group 1:

Eric Phillips
Blaise Laflamme
peter hancock
Nora Torres-Nagel
joosje
Emma
Rachel Holmes
Bill Young

Carlos Calderon

Brett Gilbert

Robert

 

Some tonebase productions to get you started

How to get the most out of this course

  • Start by watching the introduction video and practice the exercises given in the video.
  • Write a post with your experiences with tremolo.
  • At the same time, start practicing the first eight bars of "Recuerdos de la Alhambra". If you are new to the piece, begin with a chord reduction as presented in Scott's workbook on Recuerdos.
  • Share two videos per week and help your course partners through feedback on their submissions!

 

Zoom Check-In: Friday, May 20th at 8 pm CET (11 am PT)

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82744334151
 

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  • Hello, I finally managed to do a video for the assignments. First the sound is terrible... I'm splitting the works space from the practice studio and the take is from my iPad in an empty room... 🤢🤮... I'll try to do best next time when the studio is more organized. As I said before in a comment it's a mind shift to ensure each finger complete the action not within a larger one. I don't feel any apparent tension and my fingers seems to bounce back most of the time but I naturally use a combined fixation for my finger movement so the base of the finger give a small impulsion and the next phalanx complete the movement. Lets see what will be the end result!!

     

    Like
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme you are so good Blaise! The relaxation is great and apparently and.. I can hear it! which is awesome, you do the same mistake that I do: too little time on the string. Although I am sure your time is longer because you sound awesome :). But I can see what Martin says. The hand is super stable . And the rhythm spot on. 

      Like
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      oh! Here they are. I recorded them and thought I had never sent them. I have to improve my planting… we will get there! 

      Like
    • Emma Thank you Emma and you're doing pretty well too, you feel comfortable, relaxed and your tone is good! You're right I naturally play without preparation most of the time, in fact probably the only time I would prepare is if it starts with a silence (or play staccato). If I would resume how I play in a simple way I would say that everything is legato until specified (or decided) otherwise and I also hear the music that way in my head, then produce it on the guitar. Then as soon as the music I play doesn't sound like what I hear (articulation, timbers, accents, ...) I unconsciously correct to match. I suppose my planting was over the years crafted to be as quick as possible to prevent any cutting sound 🤔. For what I can see the cuban school is way different than what I've learned and built over the years and for sure it enlarges my technique and gives me more possibilities, even if sometimes it drives me crazy 😂.

      Like 1
      • Robert
      • amateur guitarist, guitar addicted
      • Robert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Thanks for that submissions. Sounds good to me, and it looks good with respect to relaxation, bringing the finger(s) back into their initial position.

      Like
    • Blaise Laflamme very good Blaise, I see your relaxation and your hand looks controlled and relax 👍

      Like
    • Emma you fingers are really returning like a spring! very good Emma! and you did all the combinations. Very good job! it looks very relaxed and not forced the movement. Slow and sure, like Martin says us. And even also.🙂

      Like
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme yes, the apparent dichotomy between legato and preparation. For me, I think this prolonging the contact , will help me to find the sweet spot of the attack. Learning  to do that. Then one day, with time and speed the touch will still be there,  diluted,  but in essence, hopefully.

      Like
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme This looks spot on to me to what Martin has been showing in his examples.  I'm curious as I assume you've had plenty of prior experience with tremolo whether this technique is new to you (as it seems with all of us) and you have to unlearn how you did tremolo before.  It doesn't seem natural at first but the more I practice the more I see what Martin is getting at...

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      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Just like Blaise, it seems like you've got the spring-like/relaxing technique down very well similar to what Martin shows.   I'm getting a bit confused with the various threads but hope I'm responding to the correct video.

      Like
    • Nora Torres-Nagel thanks Nora, it's not perfectly aligned with Martin's approach but it has the basis. 😅

      Like
    • Brett Gilbert No I don't have a lot of experience with tremolo, I only had to do a bit of it in some piece sections but I've never really played dedicated tremolo pieces. My natural approach, without doing any dedicated exercises, was to use the same technique as I'm using when doing patterns on different strings like p-i-m-a- or p-a-m-i but on the same string. Also instead of separating each finger actions like the pistons of an engine I was focusing to combine them in a fluid movement like a dancer. As to «unlearn» I don't think you can really do that once the muscle memory is in place but you can certainly learn a new way of doing it and use this new memory as you play, like taking a new path or replacing a lego block. A lot of fun to experiment and integrate but as you're saying it's not natural at first but will be at some point in time. This is great because I intend to play a tremolo piece composed by a friend soon, then it should help me getting better!

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      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme Excellent advice, thank you.  I like the analogy to moving like a dancer instead of engine pistons.

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert yeah that's also for illustrating the mind shift we have to do when isolating finger's action one by one as opposed to orchestrate them in a layered motion. As I understand the current assignments the former is used to build and strengthen finger independence using action isolation to ultimately improve and stabilize the combined movement.

      Like 1
  • Here are videos with my tremolo practice today. I'm trying, but I really don't enjoy this kind of practice. It's just tedious and mentally exhausting. I'm doing all the different finger combinations, and trying to remember which one I'm doing takes every bit of concentration I can muster. I have to keep telling myself that it is helping me, but in my heart, I just can't wait for it to be over so I can play some music.

    Like
      • Robert
      • amateur guitarist, guitar addicted
      • Robert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Thanks for the videos. Regarding your comments, I fully understand them. :) For me, here the goal is so important; the hope to have a reasonable tremolo at the end and to make some music with it. Sometimes, one say "the route is the goal"... Here, I feel to go a hard route is simply necessary to reach the goal (hopefully). I never learned or played tremolo although I started playing guitar ~45 years ago... Now it is time to make the dream come true. 🙂
      Regarding your video: I like it and I see some relaxation in each finger.

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips That's a great submission, Eric! All these combinations take time to get into the hand, but ultimately you should benefit significantly from them (especially when playing those trills in Recuerdos).

      I think it would be time for you to do a real-world exercise and give the first section a try at around 70bpm!

      Like 1
    • Robert Thanks for watching, Robert. I'll be honest, I'm just doing the work to try to gain a bit more independence in my right hand. I've never really had a strong desire to play tremolo pieces

      Like
    • Eric  even hating so much what you are doing you have improved a lot Eric. You do not look struggling with each finger for his relaxation as at the beginning of these exercises ! I have the impression that your right hand already has learned something very important! Practice not too long to avoid coming crazy ...Good Job Eric!

      Like 1
    • Nora Torres-Nagel Thank you, Nora.

      Like
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips you are always grumpy about it but working on it so hard , you are inspiring! And now I am listening, the fingers are relaxing!!! All this boredom is paying back! Congratulations !!! I am no expert but see a lot of improvement 

      Like 1
    • Emma Thank you, Emma. Sorry to be grumpy! I just don't like eating my vegetables. 🥕🙂

      Like
  • Eric Phillips  I think you would prefer this approach... right? 😂

     

    Like 3
      • Robert
      • amateur guitarist, guitar addicted
      • Robert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme 😂
      It seems that it might be easier to build such a device than to "simply" relax one finger and bring it back into its position 🙂. It is so suprising that such a "simple" movement or relaxation requires so much brain effort until the motion is automated. I never expected that when I read the assignments at the beginning of this workshop. The "theory" sounds so easy, but the practice is hard, and suddenly one is aware of own limitations in finger movement, in particular in this isolated way, and each finger has individual problems (at least for me at the moment).

      Like 1
    • Robert you're right and it has to be refined or it'll damage our guitar polish! You're right that's not an easy task to relax between each finger action as it takes a lot of concentration. I've also never really practiced tremolo before, I mean like these assignments, and for sure «at speed» it would be impossible to have a complete relaxation before the next finger action, but I'm sure it'll strengthen and better define the motion.

      Like
    • Blaise Laflamme Oh man, I gotta get me one of those! Does he sell them on Amazon?Thanks, Blaise, that made my morning. 😄

      Like 1
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