The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:58 AM
ssjk ssjk is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 71
Default Learning intermediate finger style tunes - melody first?

I was watching Nick Russell's post on the Bach Bouree (lovely job, by the way, Nick) and got to wondering whether there is a common approach to learning something like that.

Do you normally just start at the beginning and figure out each measure in its entirety? Or do you first learn the melody and then go back to add the bass progressions (and/or harmony) with the melody firmly in your head and fingers?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-12-2019, 08:11 AM
TBman's Avatar
TBman TBman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 23,352
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post
I was watching Nick Russell's post on the Bach Bouree (lovely job, by the way, Nick) and got to wondering whether there is a common approach to learning something like that.

Do you normally just start at the beginning and figure out each measure in its entirety? Or do you first learn the melody and then go back to add the bass progressions (and/or harmony) with the melody firmly in your head and fingers?
I'll take it one position at a time. In other words if its something like below I'll learn the bass and melody notes at the same time. If the flow of the measure is difficult for me to understand I will first just play the melody to get the feel of the positions and timing, then go back and do it position by position. I will have the original tune already loaded in a music player to listen for reference or, and I what I do quite often is to put the measure or the whole tune into GuitarPro and play along with it. This is attractive to me because I can put repeats in on single measures if needed and slow the tempo down to a crawl to understand the positions better while maintaining the relative timing between the positions (notes)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg measure.jpg (27.3 KB, 120 views)
__________________


Barry

Avalon L2-220C, Gibson J-45, Guild D-55, Guild D-120ce, Larrivee OM-05, Martin D-16GT

Alvarez AP66SB, Seagull Coastline Folk, Washburn D-10S,

Lucero LC-100 classical



Barry's tunes on ReverbNation


One of mine, "Nameless":

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-12-2019, 09:22 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,202
Default

Listen enough to have the gist of the melody (of course you probably have done that already as that is why you want to learn the piece).
Then I usually start off working on one, two, or three measures at a time from the beginning of the piece to its end.

Hitting the melody is usually top most on my mind when playing. It is often so tied to the accompanying chords that following the melody
line around tells you what chord shape and hand position you will need - helps to memorize things more quickly.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-12-2019, 04:26 PM
Gtrfinger Gtrfinger is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: North Yorkshire, England
Posts: 195
Default

Like so many things in life, the answer is unfortunately,... It depends.

I tend to learn bass and melody at the same time, unless there's some complicated timing issue going on, as above, in which case, I will normally learn the bass bit first, as that bar will normally have a straightforward beat in the bass, which can then form the bedrock upon which I can try and get the melody right.

If the complicated timing is actually in the bass, which would be unusual, I'd probably learn the melody part first.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:27 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Middletown, Connecticut
Posts: 1,075
Default

Melody should always come first IMHO

If I can't hear the melody, then it's just some guitar player improvising and calling it a song.

One thing that bugs me is the guitar players who say their playing "jazz standards" and you never hear the melody until several minutes into their playing.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow shouldn't start with a 3 minute improv.
__________________
2003 Froggy Bottom H-12 Deluxe
2015 Simon & Patrick Showcase Rosewood CH HG
2015 Cordoba GK Pro Negra
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-15-2019, 12:51 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,608
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post
I was watching Nick Russell's post on the Bach Bouree (lovely job, by the way, Nick) and got to wondering whether there is a common approach to learning something like that.

Do you normally just start at the beginning and figure out each measure in its entirety? Or do you first learn the melody and then go back to add the bass progressions (and/or harmony) with the melody firmly in your head and fingers?
I do a bit of both myself. I kind of sketch it out first by fumbling through the whole thing to get an overall picture of the form, the shape of the thing. (A little like starting a jigsaw by finding the edges...) Or maybe just reading it through, identifying key and chords, any modulations - sometimes hardly playing it at all.
But the main bulk of the learning is linear: Get bar 1 working, in its entirety, more or less up to speed. Then bar 2. Then link bar 1 to bar 2. And so on.

One thing struck me when teaching kids (ages 7-10). The way they learn is totally linear. Every time working on a new piece, they'd insist on going back to the beginning every time, taking a run-up to each new bar from the very start. It's like every new piece has to be stacked on the first pieces. Nobody told them to work in that way, so it seems like a totally natural mental process.

It's when you get older that you realise the advantage of taking a step back and trying to get an idea of the big picture first. But to learn the thing, to commit it to finger memory: it's linear, from the beginning every time.

Thinking mainly of classical pieces here, but it's the same for any acoustic instrumental piece - and probably for any kind of song. The mind might be able to hold a whole song in consciousness at once (at least one section at a time, or an outline sketch), but muscle memory - like performance - is all about linearity: one thing after another.
__________________
"There's only two kinds of music: good and bad. I like both kinds." - Duke Ellington.

Last edited by JonPR; 01-15-2019 at 01:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-15-2019, 07:02 PM
ssjk ssjk is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 71
Default

Thanks to all for the insights. I was kind of expecting a combination of "it depends" and "linear" when I wrote the question but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something obvious.

I shall soldier on more or less linearly after taking a moment to make sure I have the big picture first.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:05 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Central Connecticut, USA
Posts: 2,169
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post

I shall soldier on more or less linearly after taking a moment to make sure I have the big picture first.
This is how I do it (I'm a novice finger-picker). I don't actually think about the melody, bass and harmony as different elements while I'm playing, or my thumb being "independent." Maybe that comes later, but right now it is all one big stew-- and if one part goes kaput the whole thing tends to fall apart
__________________
Bob
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=