About Conducting. Why does a guitarist need to know about conducting? – To be able to work out difficult rhythmic patterns (without the guitar), if the usual methods of reading the rhythmic patterns – counting or foot tapping do not work (detailed information is specified in lessons). Conducting is particularly useful for determining the value of notes included in irregular rhythms (groupings) that involve dividing the beat into a different number of equal subdivisions: duplets, tuplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and so on. This is probably the only way to correctly determine such sounds. Therefore, don’t think that conducting is only for vocalists. I recommend that you study this topic thoroughly. All tricks for determining complex rhythmic patterns are specified in the lessons.
About Dotted Rhythm. Dotted rhythm is a rhythm using two adjacent notes of different values, repeated within a particular period of time. In words, it might look like this: tam-ta, tam-ta, etc; or ta-tam, ta-tam, etc. The hardest part of reading dotted rhythm is determining when to produce a shorter note that follows a longer one. Or a longer note following a shorter one. In either case, the shorter note is hardest for performers to determine. And the smaller the values of the notes used in the dotted rhythm are, the more difficult this is. You can read more about the nuances and tricks for correctly reading dotted rhythm in the lessons. I should also note that calculating the moment for producing sounds too perfectly can sometimes…make the composition sound unnatural. The dotted rhythm very often needs to be played more smoothly or, on the contrary, more boldly than is shown in the sheet music. Read my GUITAR LESSONS and you will be aware of all subtleties of reading dotted rhythm…
About Arpeggiato. Arpeggiato is a playing technique that gives the impression that you are strumming the strings with just one finger of the right hand (from this point on, hand names are defined in accordance with the standard sitting position with the neck to the left of the performer). The technique is performed by playing several strings (ranging from two to six) and designated by a wavy vertical line in front of the arpeggiated note. It can be played with either one or several fingers. Information on how to perform this technique and what happens if you misuse arpeggiato can be found in the lessons…
About Scales on One String. Playing a scale on one string is one way to learn to shift fingers quickly along the neck and, consequently, to develop virtuosic playing. We’ll start our training from scales where the interval between adjacent sounds doesn’t exceed one tone and then move to passages where the interval between adjacent sounds is bigger.
Virtuosic playing is the ability to build up one’s skills to the highest level for the purpose of performing them in public. Yes, specifically, in public. I find it very hard to believe that people learn to play the guitar for many years solely so they can enjoy their own playing somewhere in a hiding place. But there are probably those who just don’t play «in public» because they are too shy or think their playing is far from perfect. Specifically for them I say: the audience is usually too critical of professional guitarists, but rather kind to non-professionals. You can see proof of this in the wide range of positive comments left on various video hosting sites. So, stop being embarrassed and enrapture your audience.
But for now, let’s finish talking about virtuosic playing. Virtuosic playing is now more often understood as a dizzying cascade of sounds. Well, that’s true, but not everyone, unfortunately, is able to perform this. One might have problems with the left hand (inappropriate position or excessive rigidity of the hand), another – with the right hand (low mobility of the fingers). My friends, take the first step towards your dream and study my manual! There, you’ll find everything necessary to become a serious performer. Then song accompaniment, including its most difficult elements like instrumental solo, will be much easier to conquer. And don’t be too lazy to open the section «Guitarist’s Library» and listen to what the guitar can do in solo playing and accompaniment…
About the «Slide» Playing Technique. The «slide» technique is one that is played by gliding one or several fingers along the string to smoothly change the pitch. All detailed information on the technique can be found in Lesson 66 of my manual. The reason why I am mentioning it here is due to a question I once got from a self-learner: «You are writing that the starting and ending notes of the ‘slide’ technique are always on the same string, but this website says,» providing me with a link to the website, «we can play this technique on different strings.» I am not obligated to take responsibility for any texts published on the Internet except for those that belong to me. But I couldn’t refuse to give some explanation, so I responded thus: «On an acoustic guitar of any type (i.e. a guitar that produces a good sound without a power supply), the starting and ending notes of the ‘slide’ technique are always on the same string. And people who write sheet music for the guitar suggest no other options but this. You can’t start playing the ‘slide’ technique on one string and finish on another because: a) a smooth, continuous change in pitch will not occur – the key element of the ‘slide; technique; b) you will have to pick an additional note (to let the string vibrate freely) not provided in the sheet music, without which sliding of the finger cannot produce the characteristic sound effect.»
As I was answering, I was thinking to myself: «Why do people like posting comments on forums that do not confirm the given information in practice? Why, it’s so simple to just take the guitar and… But no… Why do beginner musicians believe in any nonsense told by beginners like them and yet doubt everything said by a teacher?»
About the «Portamento» Playing Technique. If I hadn’t encountered another self-learner once, I wouldn’t have realized that so many guitarists have problems with understanding this technique. All authors whose opinions have I asked agree that the «portamento» technique is played by means of the «slide» technique and disagree only on the issue concerning the finger shift speed along the string and the correct moment for producing the note that follows the slide. «Don’t they know that the «portamento» technique can also be applied to notes of the same pitch?» I asked myself. Well, apparently they don’t. Otherwise, they would have offered an interpretation of this technique that does not involve the «slide» technique. Well, I’ll do it for them.
The key to understanding the «portamento» technique is a short horizontal dash (–) placed above the note head or note stem. This dash is used in sheet music not only for the guitar, but for bowed string, wind and other musical instruments, as well. In these latter cases, the dash designates the «détaché» playing technique (derived from the French word «détachér» – «to separate»), which is played with a strong accent on the beginning of the sounds flowing into each other. The same thing happens to the guitar (I am going to quote myself since all these thoughts have already been expressed in one of my documents available for free viewing):
«The sound produced with the ‘portamento’ technique is extracted with an accent, the intensity of which depends of the current fragment of the specific composition, and is held for the full duration of the note value until the next sound starts being extracted. The ‘portamento’ technique very often applies to several adjacent notes, and, despite the tendency of the adjacent sounds to affect each other, creates a clear separation of the sounds by means of the accents (do you remember that the French word ‘détacher’ means ‘separate’?). The given technique can apply to notes of both the same and different pitches. When notes of different pitches are produced, they CAN BE connected by the ‘slide’ technique, which is played by gliding the finger (responsible for holding down the string) along the string to smoothly change the pitch.»
End quote…It should also be noted that the «slide» technique is not always used while playing the «portamento» technique. But if you do use the «slide» technique, the finger shift speed along the string, as well as the exact moment for producing each sound, will depend on the current fragment of the specific composition.
I hope after reading this information there will be no more arguments about the «portamento» technique on forums. But to be honest, I don’t think that’s possible. There will always be someone who’s not familiar with the topic, but thinks that I (Andrey Nosov) am not right. And everything will start from the beginning…
About Grace Notes. Learning grace notes – musical ornaments (special musical vignettes, if you will) – starts in Lesson 68. We’ll start our training from appoggiaturas and then move on to mordents, gruppettos and trills. What can we say about grace notes in this article? First of all, they really embellish a melody and are common to almost any composition of the romantic style. So, if you are a fan of Spanish music or dream of playing Hungarian, gypsy and Russian songs, grace notes are just the thing for you. But the presence of grace notes in sheet music does not necessarily mean that the composition was written by an author of a particular nationality. Secondly, they are designated by smaller notes (or, more precisely, notes in a smaller font) or by special symbols. I’m sure you’ve seen grace notes if you’ve ever looked through sheet music for «advanced» guitarists. And I’m sure you have asked yourself, «How am I supposed to determine the value of the smaller notes?», and «How should I play them with the notes of other guitar sound flows?» In order to successfully read grace notes, you should know that each guitar sound flow (melody, bass, middle note, and rarely used fourth note) has individual parts in the sheet music, and the value of smaller notes shall be read together with the main notes following them. I’ve only given you a brief description. To get more detailed information, please refer to the lessons.
I wish you success in learning the art of guitar playing!