I am practising piece Asturia, in this piece we have to play Open B string after every base note (Opening Section).

For open B string we have to alternate between our M and I finger

My Problem : I am able to alternate between I and M finger but at some place this finger moment comes naturally M I M I I M I i.e playing open B string with same finger.

So is this a bad habit which i am developing ? Because as a listener it sound good but not sure as player i am forming some bad habit here ?

  • I'd call it a bad habit. It should be easy to fix. .
    – PeterJ
    Mar 25 '20 at 12:08

One can pick using any number of right hand patterns. For really fast tremolo it is usually better to alternate because it makes no sense to think that one can use the same finger twice at a high speed. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. I would request that you post a picture of the sheet music so we can see what you are doing. It is diffcult to form a clear idea based on the wording (at least for me).

There is a reason for the fingerings and for practicing them the way they are written. The classical guitarist needs to be able to control the speed, tone, phrasing, and dynamics of a tremolo, or any other technique. Some patterns may feel unnatural to first but all it takes is practice to get them up to speed and even.

Things to watch out for include,

  1. galloping (uneven rhythm in an alternating pattern)

  2. inconsistent volume (some notes being slightly louder/softer than others)

  3. unwanted accents (a note here or there being accented even though it's not supposed to be)

  4. buzzing or scraping (this is usually due to poor placement of the finger right before plucking)

In my opinion you are developing a bad habit. There are many guitarists that take the attitude that whatever finger is available is fine to use as long as it feels okay. This does not lead to mastering the instrument and the techniques of the instrument. In the long run avoiding the written fingering and defaulting to whatever happens means you will not develop the kind of clean technique and control you need for harder pieces.

If you are serious about mastering classical guitar you should work on all right hand patterns, i-m-i-m-..., m-i-m-i-..., i-a-i-a, ..., i-m-a-m-..., p-a-m-i-..., etc.

I personally have never seen a steady stream of notes with a repeated finger. But you stated that this is "after each bass note". We need to see the entire sheet music to really understand what you are doing. Are the bass notes plated with the thumb? I would guess so, but I've seen examples where the other fingers are used.

  • Asturias (Leyenda) is a famous classical guitar piece, so it's quite clear what the question was about. Here is a score (randomly Googled): thisisclassicalguitar.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/… . The question is talking about the very beginning of the piece.
    – Ramillies
    Mar 25 '20 at 17:23
  • It is not "quite clear". I know Leyenda, but never heard it called Asturias.
    – user50691
    Mar 25 '20 at 17:27
  • That's a bit ironic because Asturias is in fact the piece's name. Leyenda (= legend) is only a subtitle. But I agree that it's mostly talked about as Leyenda.
    – Ramillies
    Mar 25 '20 at 18:49

In my opinion, if you're playing it as fast as you want and your hand does not hurt, then it's absolutely okay. (I think that when I played this piece (a couple of years ago), I actually used only one finger for the B string, most probably m. Alternating p-m-p-m-... is quite natural.)

Alternating two (or more) fingers is very good if you want to play some fast runs, so it's good to be able to do it, but you certainly don't need to use it everywhere. Sometimes it could be even detrimental, e. g. for some slower melodies that have to be expressive (it's just my opinion, but I find it the easiest to play them with one finger only, over and over again).

P. S.: I'm not sure why you think that you "need" to alternate between m and i. Is it because of the printed fingerings? If so, I wouldn't pay much attention to them. They're just hints that someone else deemed to be useful, but what's useful for one guitarist is awkward for another.

EDIT: To further clarify: maybe you are building a bad habit, because there are situations where alternating p-i-p-m-... works best (imagine if you had to play (bass)-B-(bass)-E and so on), and it's good to be able to do it (at least with i and m hitting different strings). However (IMHO) Leyenda is not one of those situations.

  • I quite agree with @Ramillies. Mostly.. right or wrong is expressed for a reason.. however; too much emphasis on "the right way" sometimes.. I agree with hand does not hurt.. and played at speed. You might even invent techniques that make you a superior guitarist to the one telling you not to do that. Mar 25 '20 at 18:24

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