Each interval makes a difference!
Learn how to practice connecting notes to each other in a way that it makes your music feel more exciting and energetic.
We all want our Melodies to sound beautiful and exciting as if we were singing them. But how can we practice in order to make our melodies sound like they're being sung by Pavarotti or played by Itzak Perlman on the violin? There are so many things that have to work together in order to achieve “cantabile” on the guitar. Tone production, Vibrato, phrasing, articulation and fingerings are just the basic ones. In this lesson we are going to talk about another “Monster” we have to tame and take control off:
Hot to connect one note to another. How to move from one note to the next one and feel the movement and energy in your body.
The way you connect notes to each other can either make your music sound boring or exciting.
The good news is that it's not magic, or talent or something like that.
You can also learn how to make your intervals “sing” on the guitar. Let me show you how I do it.
There are four things you can practice:
#1 Overlapping Notes
When you play two notes (an interval) try to connect them in a way that the end of the first note and the beginning of the second note overlap. The first one rings into the beginning of the second one and then the second note takes over..Just for a tiny moment they sound together.
Now. The question is as always..How can we practice that?
I have two exercises for you:
First you have to practice something I call “the seesaw”.
I am sure you have all seen one of them on children's playgrounds. It´s this long board with a single pivot point in the middle. As one end goes up, the other goes down.
Try to imagine your fingers as the two ends of your seesaw. Without pressing the string down place each one of them onto its string. We are just touching the strings. Just for this example I am touching the note c on the 3. string and my first finger and with my 2. finger I am touching the note f on the second string.
Now we are gonna play seesaw with our fingers. Put some weight on the 1. Finger and let it press the string. The second finger is relaxed. Now gradually take the weight of your index finger and shift it towards the second finger. At the end of this movement the second finger is pressing its string down and the first finger is relaxed. You see it's all about shifting weight from one finger to the other one.
Whatever finger combination you like..you can also practice it on one string..
After you have gained control over your weight shifting you can practice the MeetUp.
In this exercise you should try to focus on the meeting point of the two notes.
While the weight shifting process is taking place...Let the first note ring into the next one for just a moment and then allow the second note to take over..
They sound together and then the second finger takes over..It´s like a Relay race. One one has to pass the “Stick” to the next one. For just one moment they are both holding one to the stick..
The length of your notes is also very important. Especially when you have to play wider intervals in the context of a melody. In my experience, most of the times, it is more expressive to play the first note of an interval longer. I try to stretch it a little.
This is something we can observe when we are singing. We do this in a very natural organic way.
When we try to learn from singing a melody ourselves..we have to focus on what exactly happens and try to define it as clearly as possible.
And as always what´s the most important question? How can I practice this?
There is one really great way of implementing this stretch-tactic in your playing.
I call it the “Slice-it-up” method.
-First I slice up the first note in 4 parts.
-Then I play the interval and sing the first note four times. That way my timing will be perfect and there is no way I will get to the upper note to soon. My body will tell me when to play the second note.
-At the end I will just try to do the same but without singing out loud. I am just imagining that I am singing.
This method is also very good when you play scales and long lines. It helps you keep the energy going.
Let´s talk about the balance between the two notes in terms of dynamics.
This one also has to do with clearly describing what you hear when you sing a melody.
Most of the times I think it's more exciting to play the first note of an interval louder than the upper note. Instinctively when I sing two notes I sing the first note louder and more intense than the second one. You can think of it like this.
The first one is the pushing note and the second one is the beautiful note. That is the moment you can create magical moments with your sound.
And finally choreography. This is a strange one. You don´t have to do it. It´s just me fooling around and experimenting with things. I just wanted to mention it as an option of making your music more intense and exciting.
When I talk about choreography in relation to playing music I mean “the choreography of your movements”. The way you move your body, arms, hands and fingers while you are playing.
I always try to allow myself to move in “musical gestures”. Just like the way a dancer moves his arms and fingers in order to express his emotions.
This improves your timing and makes the experience for your audience more exciting.
These are my ideas on how to make intervals sing on the classical guitar. Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think.
Enjoy Music. Enjoy Life!