An exploration of all topics related to the classical guitar. Articles on guitar technique and practicing, guitar-related opportunities and many general performance and music-related topics. Articles on my students' activities and spotlight features on alumni. Easily searchable by the following tags:

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Ascending Slurs

I'll add thoughts about practicing and technique in this blog. The entries will be varied, on unrelated topics, but all of interest to guitarists. Much of it may be well-familiar, even hackneyed. Students often neglect the most obvious and useful devices in practice, even though they've been introduced to them at one time or another. Soon, I'll figure out how to tag or index these posts so they can be brought up by category--(student activities, technique, guest artists, alumni, performance tips, etc).

I've always felt that in order for slurs to speak clearly, they need to be practiced with clarity: both articulately and fairly loudly. It is easy to perform them quietly, especially if the technique is well-formed--certainly in many cases, it is the delicate character of the slurred note that makes it appealing and expressive in context. On the other hand, in many cases its desirable to play the slurs forcefully, creating the effect of evenness with right-hand-articulated notes. In working on this skill, the following method helps:

Play simple ascending slurs, one slur per string, in order 6th-1st strings, and back down to 6th. (I like the formula spelled out in Carlevaro's Serie Didactica, Cuaderno No. 3.). Start with fingers 1-2, then 2-3, 3-4, 1-3, 2-4, and finally 1-4. Take each combination up and down the neck at least five frets to guarantee lots of repetitions.

Set the metronome to a slow tempo, say, eighth notes with qn = 60. Perform the RH notes on the offbeat. Slur to the beat. Use the pull of the sense of pulse to help teach the hands to play quietly on the beat (RH is piano) and loudly on the beat (slurs are forte). Practicing them this way will even them out.

The Hemiola

Tully Hull Duo teaches master class at U. Akron