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14h
comment Rules of how the bass should (and should not) move in chord progressions
@Basstickler: The voice leading from a G chord to a D/F# is better than going to a "normal" D (where the bottom two voices just disappear). On my tuning, the transition would be G-g-b-d'-g' to D-f#-a-d'-f#'. Parallel octaves on the g-f#, but that's okay in this context; adding another parallel octave would be a bit much, though.
15h
comment Rules of how the bass should (and should not) move in chord progressions
@Basstickler: On the guitar, a G chord is voiced G-B-d-g-b-g', and a "normal" D chord is voiced d-a-d'-f#' and sounds rather wimpy by comparison. The most practical improvements are D/A (which is easy) A-d-a-d'-f#', a C-barre-shaped D chord d-f#-a-d'-f#' (I'm don't know any common way of writing that besides tabbing it out), an A-barre-shaped D chord d-a-d'-f#'a' (likewise), or D/F# which is easier than the C-barre-shaped one and is voiced F#-A-d-a-d'-f#'.
17h
comment Rules of how the bass should (and should not) move in chord progressions
The D/F# case is particularly notable since, when using standard guitar tuning a rooted D chord has only four notes: d-a-d'-f#', and doesn't contain any embedded minor third. Notating "D/F#" doesn't necessarily mean the arranger wants an F# in the bass, but rather that the arrange wants the chord to extend below the fourth-string d. On my own tuning, I have a low D, and I can play F#-f#-a-d'-f#', D-f#-a-d'-f#', D-d-a-d'-f#', or D-d-f#-a-d', but my normal voicing for either D or D/F# would be D-f#-a-d'-f#' [five-string chords in every case]
17h
comment How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?
@ToddWilcox: I think his point was that the song could work as "HAP-py birth-day TO you, HAP-py birth-day TO you". If one put the chord changes on the indicated syllables, many measures would start with dissonance between the melody and chords, but that's not necessarily unusual.
1d
comment How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?
How would you figure "On top of old Smoky"? Sheet music is generally in 3/4, but to my ear it's strongly grouped in four-bar phrases (or 12/8), with the downbeats on "Smo-", "snow", "lov-", and "slow".
Aug
26
comment Thick fingers create problems sometimes
@EJP: I almost always play five- and six-string chords (mostly) arpeggiated, though doing so is much easier on my tuning than on Standard [I generally use the fifth or sixth string plus the top four then plucking, though when strumming some chords use all six]. My C chord (barred) is c-[G]-g-c'-e'-g', my G chord (barred) is G-g-b-d'-g', and my D chord (open fifth string) is D-f#-a-d'-f#'.
Aug
17
comment How Long Can an Anacrucis Be?
The same issue appears in "On Top Of Old Smoky", which is also generally written in 3/4 but has a four-quarter-note anacrusis. If one were to notate it in 6/8 or 12/8, the problem would go away. I don't think 6/4 would work for that piece or Für Elise, since 6/4 generally "feels" like three pairs of quarter notes rather than two groups of three.
Aug
16
comment Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?
@AmericanLuke: That can be especially important in cases where a composer might have two instruments play an altered note, and then have one instrument leave to to the unaltered note while another replays the altered one. Such intention would be rare, but if the "courtesy accidental" were omitted, performers might change the unaltered note to match the altered one in the belief that the lack of an accidental was a mistake.
Aug
1
comment Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?
Some guitars may rely upon string tension to keep the bridge in place; if all of the strings are removed the bridge could fall off. If one wants to remove the bridge (e.g. to get better access for filing it down, or to replace it) that would be a good thing. If the bridge falls off unexpectedly while one is carrying the instrument and one consequently steps on it and breaks it, that could be a bad thing.
Jul
31
comment Are there any other common names for what I've heard called a “Crossover Guitar”
Is there any good way to judge how a guitar is likely to feel/play once it is optimally set up, before undertaking the process? Since optimal setup would likely require irreversible modifications to the nut and bridge, I would expect that returning the instrument if it proves unsatisfactory would require additional expense to set things back as they were.
Jul
31
comment Are there any other common names for what I've heard called a “Crossover Guitar”
I wonder how well something like one of the Fusion guitars would work with my tuning and playing style? When I'm playing in a very small setting I like the acoustic sound of my Ovation with nylon strings, but it's really quiet; I'd expect an instrument that's designed to be played acoustically with nylon strings to work much better, but I'm not sure how much setup would be required to make something playable, and how confident I could be of liking the result.
Jun
22
comment How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?
@slim: Do you always carry your guitar with you? Otherwise, if you'll have to go to the room where the guitar is, having the amp there also doesn't seem so bad.
Jun
22
comment How do you identify a good acoustic guitar?
@slim: I often get the urge to play my electric, so I flip the switch on the amp, grab the guitar off the stand, and start playing. Sometimes I have to stop after a few seconds and tune it, but the same is true with an acoustic. What supposedly makes an electric "difficult" for impulse playing?
Jun
22
comment Should pedals be used when playing classical piano music?
@BobRodes: It's been a long time (20+ years) since I've played a fortepiano, but my recollection of the sound is that notes have a brighter timbre when first struck than when sustained, and that even with the dampers held up the timbre of newly-struck notes would allow them to be clearly and distinctly audible over the mellower sound of sustaining notes. Does that jibe with your observations of the sound?
Jun
21
comment Should pedals be used when playing classical piano music?
@BobRodes: On many percussive or plucked instruments, a newly-played string will have a rather non-symmetrical vibration pattern, which will tend to become more symmetrical as the note is sustained. Thus, describing one instrument as having a "longer" or "shorter" sustain won't really say much about how the volume and timbre of newly-played notes will compare with that of notes that were played awhile ago.
Jun
21
comment On the piano, how should you play staccato with the pedal?
...the key will be connected to the hammer right up until the point where the hammer touches the string). I'm not sure to what extent a player would be able to hit the key precisely enough to ensure that the hammer could coast into the string without actually being pushed the full distance, but it would at least theoretically be possible.
Jun
21
comment On the piano, how should you play staccato with the pedal?
On many pianos, it would not be implausible that pressing a key most of the way down and releasing it before the hammer strikes the key (but after imparting enough momentum to the hammer that it hits the key) would produces a different sound from pressing and holding the key, even if the hammer would strike the key with the same velocity in either case, since in the former case the only energy to be imparted to the string would come from the momentum of the hammer, while in the latter it would also be powered by the momentum of the key and even the player's hand (on many pianos...
Jun
19
comment Is “16va” proper notation?
@Dom: I've seen "15va" and "15vb" on the display of an electronic piano which can play things at pitch, or up/down one/two octaves (8va and 8vb are used for one octave).
Jun
17
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
My 1895 Smith American has knee swells; while it's not super-early as organs go, it's hardly the end of the line either; they're not as percussive as banging harder on the keys, but they respond as fast as one pushes them, and release in under 200ms, even while sustaining notes.
Jun
17
comment Why is the piano such a commonly used instrument?
The knee swells on a reed organ can be used to achieve a pretty significant dynamic contrast, especially if one of them can enable all the stops and the octave coupler. Not quite as great a contrast as a piano, but pretty substantial.