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Applying Slur Technique to Your Playing (Guitar Lesson)


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Pamela Goldsmith

Applying Slur Technique to Your Playing

Need more information on how to perform slurs? In lesson 8, Pamela provides additional slur practice with an original study in the key of A minor.

Taught by Pamela Goldsmith in Classical Guitar with Pamela Goldsmith seriesLength: 12:25Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:06) Intro Pamela performs an original etude in this introductory scene. In the following scene, she explains how to play this piece.
Chapter 2: (11:18) Applying Slur Technique Lesson Objectives

-Practice slurring techniques by learning Pamela's etude in A minor.

Left Hand Fingerings

Throughout this scene, Pamela breaks down the left hand fingerings she uses throughout the etude. These fingerings minimize the movement and energy exerted by the left hand. Remember that economy of movement and energy are crucial to playing classical guitar.

Rest Strokes

During measures 1-6 Pamela, plucks select melody notes with a rest stroke or "apoyondo." The first note under each curved slur line is plucked with a rest stroke. For a review of this technique, refer back to the "Info" section of lesson 2. In addition, check out lesson 6 from Danny Voris' Phase 2 series for a demonstration of this type of stroke.

Rhythm

Make sure that all slurs are played evenly and in time. Do not cut the first note under the slur line short! Both notes must receive the exact same rhythmic value. Set the metronome so that it clicks on every eighth note to ensure that all of your slurs are played evenly. Record yourself playing the piece to double check your rhythm.

Chord Progression / Chromatic Chords

Pamela's etude is played in the key of Am. It features many of the chords that are commonly used in this key such as the i, iv, and V chords. Respectively, these chords are Am, Dm, and E major. In addition, some chromatic chords are used in measures 5-7. A chromatic chord is a chord that contains notes that are outside the key signature of the piece. For example, the ii chord in the key of A minor is a B diminished triad. In measure 5, Pamela plays a Bb(#11) chord that resolves nicely to the A major chord in the following measure. Since the note Bb is not part of the key of Am, this chord is considered to be a chromatic chord. The same principle applies to the A major and D major chords that are used in measures 6 and 7. Both of these chords contain notes that are outside of the key signature.

Function of Chromatic Chords

Chromaticism creates tension and adds extra color to a chord progression. "Chromatic" is derived from the Greek word "chroma," meaning color. The inclusion of chromaticism also creates smooth voice leading tension from one chord to the next.

There are two types of chromaticism: short term and long term. Short term chromaticism, as exemplified in this lesson, is used to add additional color within a diatonic framework. Long term chromaticism is used to establish a change to a new key center.

Modulation

Measures 8-11 feature a brief modulation or key change to the relative major key of C major. The I and V7 chords of this key (C and G7) are used to establish the key center of C major. It is quite common to modulate between a minor key and its relative major or vice versa.

Note: The following information concerning relative keys is taken from Matt Brown's 10th Reading Music and Rhythm Lesson. Visit this lesson for additional explanation.

For every major key, there is a relative minor key. Relative major and minor keys are written with the same key signature.

Note: Open "Circle of Fifths" listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Around the outside of the circle, each major key is listed. The key center ascends by a fifth interval each time as you move around the circle in a clockwise direction. Moving inwards towards the center of the circle, the key signature for each key is listed. On the inside of the circle, the relative minor key to each major key is shown. For example, A minor is the relative minor to C major. E minor is the relative major to G major.

Finding the Relative Minor Key

If you do not have a circle of fifths diagram handy, you can use a simple shortcut to determine the relative minor of any major key. Simply write out all of the notes within the major scale. To not neglect to add any sharps or flats that may occur in the key. Then, count up to the sixth note of the scale. This note is the root of the relative minor key. Let's use the key of Bb major as an example. This scale features two flats in the key signature. Consequently, this scale is spelled as follows: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. The sixth note of the scale is G. G is the relative minor to Bb.

A Few Thoughts on Standard Notation

If you are at all serious about playing classical guitar, you absolute must be able to read standard notation! Consider the points listed below.

-The vast majority of classical guitar pieces are published with standard notation only.

-First and foremost, learning to read music will make you a better player. Reading skills will enhance the overall musicality of your playing. After all, isn't that the goal we're all after?

-If you can't read music, you cannot interpret written music or tablature properly. This is due to a lack of understanding of how notes function with one another from a theoretical standpoint.

-It is impossible to learn music theory without basic reading skills.

-Musicians that play other instruments don't use tablature. You cannot communicate with these musicians without reading skills.

Note: Lessons that specifically teach how to read and interpret standard notation are provided in the Phase 2 section of JamPlay. If you are new to reading standard notation, begin with Jim Deeming's set of lessons and proceed to Matt Brown's series.

Time Signature

This piece is played in 3/4 time. The waltz is a common musical form that is performed in this time signature. The waltz features a steady "oom pah pah" rhythmic pattern. This rhythmic feel is exemplified by the first seven measures of the piece.

Pickup Notes / Anacrusis

Two "pickup" notes occur before the first complete measure of the piece. Pickup notes pull the rhythm into the first strong downbeat of a piece. The term "anacrusis" is the proper musical term for a “pickup” note.

Since the eighth note is the smallest division of the beat, count "1+2+3+" for each measure. Count two measures before you begin to play. Enter on beat three of the second counted measure. Do not begin to play until you are ready and focused! Pamela demonstrates how to properly begin the piece at 03:50.

Bass Rhythm

Notice how the bass note is only held for two beats in measures 1-3. Do not let the bass note ring over beat 3! This will diminish the importance of the two eighth notes that are played in the melody at the end of each measure. Lightly touch the bass string with the right hand thumb to cut it off.

Dynamics

Do not ignore the dynamic indications that Pamela has included in the score. The dynamics are a very important part of the piece!

Video Subtitles / Captions





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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


richard46richard46 replied on May 28th, 2016

Actually, I believe the term should be "pick-up" into the first measure. Thanks for your lessons.

delta/d42delta/d42 replied on April 13th, 2016

hey

alfrednoelalfrednoel replied on March 30th, 2015

thank you Pamela for that beautiful piece you composed. It's accessible and fun to play with loads of special effects.

jhenriksenjhenriksen replied on October 9th, 2011

I was hoping to see you demonstrate how to play a slur from one note to another note on different strings. I see many of those and am never sure if I’m supposed to play up the fretboard on a string where both notes can be played on the same string or do a “hammer on from nowhere.” For example, can you play a slur from an "A" note to an "F" note. If I move up to the "D" string, I can't slur from the "A" for five frets to the "F" note because of the distance.

karakwkarakw replied on January 24th, 2010

great notes for this lesson. thanks for the references to other lessons within jamplay.

Classical Guitar with Pamela Goldsmith

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The origins of the classical guitar date back to the fifteenth century. The vihuela, lute, and baroque guitar are the early predecessors of the guitar. With its origins reaching deep into the past, the classical guitar repertoire spans over five hundred years worth of material. Pamela Goldsmith explains the techniques necessary to mastering this timeless art form.



Lesson 1

Introducing Pamela Goldsmith With Classical Guitar

Here we go JamPlay! A new instructor is joining the squad. Her name is Pamela Goldsmith, and she is here to teach us about classical guitar.

Length: 14:58 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Picking Technique

In lesson 2, Pamela provides more introductory information about playing classical guitar. You will learn about nail care and proper tone production.

Length: 17:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Working in the Key of C (1st Position)

Pamela demonstrates how to get your fingers warmed up while working in the key of C. Using The "PIMA" technique, this lesson will help open doors to classical style playing. Enjoy!

Length: 11:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Working in C Major (2nd Position)

In lesson 4, Pamela continues from her last lesson by moving the C major scale to second position. She demonstrates a few new technical exercises in this position.

Length: 14:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

More Picking Technique

Pamela is back in lesson 5 with more right hand technique. Here you will learn how to advance the "PIMA" technique and work through each finger as you transition from chord to chord.

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Learn Malaguena

Pamela Goldsmith once again grants us insight in our quest to learn classical style guitar. In this lesson she explains how to play the classic piece "Malaguena." Lesson topics include right hand patterns,...

Length: 13:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Learn Slurring Techniques

Pamela introduces proper slurring technique. Also known as hammer-ons and pull-offs, this lesson will take you on a knowledge bound adventure. You will learn some exercises that muscle memory and dexterity....

Length: 12:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Applying Slur Technique to Your Playing

Need more information on how to perform slurs? In lesson 8, Pamela provides additional slur practice with an original study in the key of A minor.

Length: 12:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Matteo Carcassi Study in D

Pamela is back with a great lesson on a Matteo Carcassi study in the key of D. Here you will be able to apply the slurring techniques you have learned in previous lessons with an in depth look at Matteo...

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Etude Inspired by Leo Brouwer

Today, Pamela has the pleasure of teaching you an original etude inspired by Leo Brouwer. Here you will utilize all the techniques you have learned so far. In addition, you will walk away with a beautiful...

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Enhancing Your Overall Technique

In lesson 11, demonstrates how to play the C major scale in diatonic thirds. This lesson will hone your technique and overall knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 8:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Fernando Sor

Pamela brings us Fernando Sor's "Andante." This is a short and sweet piece that reinforces the techniques that Pamela has demonstrated in previous lessons.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Leo Brouwer Inspired Etude

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is a short but sweet lesson in which you will mainly stay in 1st position but will...

Length: 8:38 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 14

P, M, I Picking Techniques

Welcome to lesson 14 in the Classical Guitar Series! Here Pamela demonstrates some fingerpicking exercises that use fingers P, M, and I.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

P, I, M Easy Etude

Pamela demonstrates what she calls her "Easy Etude." This short piece utilizes the P, I, and M fingers.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Dionisio Aguado Study

Pamela takes a look at a study written by Dionisio Aguado. It's in the key of A minor with a P, I, M, I pattern.

Length: 30:39 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Free Stroke & Rest Stroke

Pamela demonstrates the difference between free strokes and rest strokes.

Length: 11:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Chords with P, I, M, A

Pamela covers an exercise that uses the rest stroke technique within some simple arpeggio patterns.

Length: 6:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Francisco Tárrega - Lagrima

Pamela teaches "Lagrima" by composer Francisco Tárrega.

Length: 28:32 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

E Major & Minor Scales

Pamela explains the theory and fretboard patterns pertaining to the E major and E minor scales. She also demonstrates Andrés Segovia's famous three octave scales.

Length: 38:49 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Slur Technique

Pamela takes an in depth look at some different slur techniques.

Length: 13:48 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Ornaments

Pamela works off of lesson 21 and demonstrates different ways to create ornaments within your playing. You can hang this one on a tree.

Length: 10:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Developing the Fret Hand

Welcome to Lesson 23 of Classical Guitar with Pamela Goldsmith! Here she demonstrates some exercises to develop your fretting hand for classical application.

Length: 11:11 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Spider Walks

Pamela introduces a new fret hand endurance building technique known as "Spider Walks."

Length: 15:41 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Fret Hand Stretching

To help continue with fret hand development, Pamela demonstrates an exercise that improves fret hand reach, finger independence, and flexibility.

Length: 11:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

A Major Octave Scales

Pamela demonstrates 1, 2, and 3 octave patterns for the A major scale.

Length: 27:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Op. 44, No. 11

Pamela teaches Fernando Sor's Op. 44, No. 11.

Length: 28:36 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Aguado Study In A

Pamela presents this study by Aguado. It has a cheerful, circus-like sound and will be a great addition to your repertoire.

Length: 17:51 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Another Aguado Study

Pamela presents another fantastic Aguado study that utilizes all P, I, M, A picking fingers. Pamela also tells a little history about Aguado himself and his style of guitar playing.

Length: 23:53 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Fernando Sor's Andantino

This Fernando Sor piece features light, free flowing movement in 3/8 time. Pamela demonstrates the correct fingering and chord positioning.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Simple Sextuplet Study in G

This study features a sextuplet arpeggio pattern. Expand and apply your current knowledge of classical guitar with this great lesson!

Length: 21:09 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

6 String Barre Chords

Pamela dives into techniques that develop your fret hand for barre chords.

Length: 24:54 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

5 String Barre Chords

Pamela continues to discuss barre chord techniques. This time around, she moves to the 5th string.

Length: 18:38 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Matteo Carcassi - Op. 60, No. 3

This beautiful Matteo Carcassi piece labeled "Andantino" is presented by Pamela. Op. 60, No. 3 is a great piece to work on to develop your dynamic control.

Length: 39:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

Romance - Part 1

Pamela introduces the first part of a two part lesson on the classical song titled simply "Romance."

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Romance - Part 2

Pamela demonstrates the second part or B part to the classical piece titled "Romance." This lesson complete the piece as a whole and presents yet another opportunity to practice dynamics.

Length: 16:01 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Carcassi Slur Study in D

Pamela uses this Carcassi study to help demonstrate more slur techniques.

Length: 18:51 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only

About Pamela Goldsmith View Full Biography "A native of New England, Pamela Goldsmith was first introduced to classical guitar by Joe Zuccala in Massachusetts. His inspiration and guidance prepared her for her future as a student and teacher. Since studying with Zuccala, Pamela has worked with Keith Crook at the University of Maine, Jeff Ashton and Bryan Johanson at Portland State University and Scott Kritzer in Portland Oregon. Pamela has performed in master classes and continues to perform solo concerts in the Northwest.

Pamela received her Master's Degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Portland State University and her Bachelor's Degree in classical guitar studies from the University of Maine in Orono. She has served as a graduate assistant teacher at Portland State University in downtown Portland, Oregon, and is an adjunct faculty member at Linfield College (McMinnville, OR) as well as a private guitar instructor. Pamela is passionate about the history and vitality of the pieces in her repertoire.

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