Week 2

Exercises on time 1-3

Mosquito Jig (Thanks to Trapdoor2 for the notation linked below.)


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This week, I'll be adding the exercises and tune above to the things I'm already working on from Week 1. I just played through Mosquito Jig a few times and it looks like an enjoyable exercise. It will be fun to add the Am and E chord shapes to the mix. 

If you're reading this and you'd like to join in the adventure, please do! The posts for the various weeks will endure, so it will be easy to read previous conversations and anyone is welcome to add to the comments at any time. 

Views: 192

Comment by Jody Stecher on June 8, 2018 at 15:54

Each of the four sections of the Mosquito Jig introduces a new right hand pattern. That is the essence of the exercise in my opinion. We should all ignore the handwritten markings. It's true that  A minor and E chord shapes are used but this is a rare instance of the hand markings being correct. The four sections have been marked by hand as follows: the first as A, the second as nothing, the third as D (at least I think that's what it says) and the fourth as C.  Whether this is indicative of personal meanings that are the equivalent of a secret code, or the result of a mind that was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or simply the work of an intelligent person who was new to music notation and got confused is beside the point.  Most of it misleading and wrong and should be ignored.

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on June 8, 2018 at 16:04

I am actually removing the markings on my copy -- through the magic of Photoshop -- and perhaps, in the end, with permission, I will be able to share a cleaned-up copy. I notice, for example, that frets have been filed in sometimes and I think that's a hinderance to learning to read ...

Comment by Jody Stecher on June 8, 2018 at 18:42

A cleaned up copy would be fabulous.  I hope this is not asking too much, but what do you think about posting a cleaned up copy each week of the pages to be worked on in the coming week?

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on June 8, 2018 at 18:45

I think posting the cleaned-up pages is a good idea. I don't think there should be a problem because I believe the book is early enough to be in the public domain, but I want to check with Joel first since he's the one who gave us access.

Comment by Trapdoor2 on June 9, 2018 at 17:15

It is in the Public Domain, no problem with that. I think the C notation is a 17gen Xerox of a 50's mimeograph...

Might be easier in photo-shop to use the A notation and do the old 'add a staff line underneath, delete the top one, drop 3 sharps...'

Comment by Trapdoor2 on June 9, 2018 at 18:15

Or, it can be very easily keyed into something like Musescore. I can't promise to clean them all up. Adding the 1-2-3-4 counts below the staff was harder than it looks. The notation part is as easy as typing g,e,c,d,c,c,g,e,c,d...

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on June 15, 2018 at 13:36

Thanks for the link to the cleaned-up version of the tune. I'll add it to the original post so that it's easy to find!

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on June 15, 2018 at 13:56

I've been focused on Mosquito Jig this week but I've also been reviewing the tunes from Week 1. I've slacked on the exercises, mostly because I'm out of toner so I haven't printed them out to make them handy. It hasn't been my goal to memorize them--although maybe it should be?

A few things I've noticed recently ...

1) It IS possible to tame the ring finger of the right hand. I've concentrated on keeping it planted (closer to the bridge than before) and there have been times this week when I've felt the working fingers disengage from it. With effort, I may be able to learn to pat my head and rub my stomach, so to speak.

2) It isn't intuitive for me to catch the C as a bass note in this tune. The auto-fill melody in my head wants me to go from the A on the 3rd string to the closer G on the third string.

3) The main pattern in Mosquito Jig became easier when I began to think of it as a bass note with an index-lead roll. I suppose that affects the phrasing in a subtle way, but I think it works.

4) I wondered if, theoretically, it would be a good idea to alternate fingers on the right hand for the first measure on line 4? But, I don't do it.

5) Review is definitely beneficial. Trying to "get" a tune in a week is a good push, but I need more time to have something solidify.

6) Dynamics are something I need to feel rather than think about. I've got a long way to go there.

I didn't have time to make a video, but I'll post a practice recording that I made on Wednesday in the spirit of being true to my goal of keeping a record of progress. I was reading when I did it, but I do have the tune in my head.

Comment by Jody Stecher on June 15, 2018 at 17:23

Hi Cynthia. You are sounding better than last week. One suggestion: in the third part of the tune your middle finger gets a bit "lazy" on the first string. The notes played on that string are not heard clearly. My suggestion is to be on the lookout for that, to make sure every note gets full attention. Playing a bit slower would make that easier to do.

Most of what you are playing is very clear however and considering that you are a beginner in this style this is remarkable, especially  considering that you are playing very fast, at the border of "Presto" (faster than the suggested "allegro").  You could slow down a bit and no harm would be done to the musicality.

I also noticed that you are playing with a bit of swing. (long short long short). It sounds fine that way but that is not indicated in the notation. Just something to consider.

Now I'll comment on your 6 points.

1) not all classic players plant a finger on the head. Of those who do, not all use the ring finger. Some use the pinky. Some use both together. Some use none.  Each human hand is different.

2) This little tune was composed for particular purposes. One purpose is to get the thumb used to moving between the third and fourth string. It is not expected that the student will find this to be intuitive.

3) I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "main pattern", by "index lead",  and by "with".  Does "a bass note with an index-lead roll" mean a bass note *followed* by a 4 note right hand pattern that goes ITMI (.  + ..  . ) ?   If not, what do you mean?  As for "main pattern" I think you mean the recurring rhythm found in most measures of this piece where a quarter note is followed by four eighth notes and ends with another quarter note. I'm guessing that by "lead" you mean a word that rhymes with red rather than with reed. A pattern that begins with the index finger. " Index lead" where "lead " rhymes with reed means, in bluegrass parlance, that the main notes of the melody are being played with the index finger rather than with the thumb.  Since Mosquito Jig is mostly rhythmic patterns rather than a real melody I was uncertain as to what you meant. 

4) assuming you mean measure 17 I *think* you are speculating about alternating the fingers that play the first string along with the thumb on the fifth string.  Personally I think there is no advantage to alternate fingering for quarter notes and longer notes than that. I've been playing that measure with a "pinch" of thumb and middle or sometimes  thumb and index.

5)  I don't think anyone can really *get* any tune in a week. For this Weidt study we're doing I think being able to play it through fairly well at a moderate pace is doing very well indeed. And memorization is not expected.

6) You are right. That is the case for actually playing music. The pieces in this book though are all exercises, even if not called that.   The dynamic markings are there to help the student learn to read music and to respond to the written indications. "Obeying the commands" doesn't really mean surrendering your individual musical personality. It's just sight reading training, done for a few minutes.  

Also: Playing when reading is actually the point here. That's my opinion anyway. Memorizing is better reserved for truly expressive musical compositions  where individual interpretation makes a big difference.  The tunes here are just little ditties to help the student become a competent player. 

Comment by Cyndy Richardson on June 15, 2018 at 18:48

Hi Jody.

As always, I appreciate the thoughtful comments that come from a careful listen. Thanks!

I was very particular about setting the metronome to the highest number for "Allegro" so as to avoid dipping into "Presto" because I knew I'd be called out on it, if I did. :) Seriously, though, point taken, and I will change things up this week.

I had also heard that weak first string note in the pinched chords but I didn't work on fixing it. 

And, yes. I tend to swing things without realizing it which can be both good and bad ...

1) I'll keep experimenting.

2) Good point.

3) The reply prompted more careful thought. Thanks for that. I found it easy to play the 9th measure as T IT MI T because the highs and lows of the melody follow the highs and lows of the picking pattern. I found it harder to play the 10th measure because the thumb moved (what I think of as) DOWN to play the HIGHER sounding 5th string. But, once I started thinking of it as a bass note with the thumb, followed by an IT that would feel easy to me if I were playing two-finger index-lead style, things fell into place because I know, intuitively, what that should sound like. I'm sure it's different for everyone--we're all wired in a unique way--but many times what I hear in my head is what moves my hands to the right place. It can be a hinderance, but it's also what allows me to remember things in what feels like a quick and comfortable way.

4) I hadn't thought of finger choice as associated with note value. Good point!

5) Yup.

6) I enjoy reading, actually, but because I play old-time music, I've gotten into the habit of quickly memorizing new tunes so that I can easily practice them whenever the mood strikes. What I need to do is print out the Weidt book so that I can refer to it easily without needing to open the pdf on the computer. I'll have to do that this coming week.

I'm looking forward to working on a "truly expressive musical composition" one of these days, but, for now, I think this is a good foundational approach. :) Onward!

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