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Technique

 

  • key strikes and string plucks should not be powered by flexion of the distal interphalangial joint, since this action cannot be done without involuntarily extending the metacarpophalangial joint, thereby producing simultaneous co-contraction of the forearm flexors and extensors.  (AKA soft tips) (source F Wilson)       
  • all movements have “prepare”, “fire,” “relax” stages.  These have to be trained separately in sequence.  Extremely slow (1 note per 4 seconds) and then gradually increase   
  • the size and shape of the guitar determines the optimal posture  
  • the thumb is a gentle balance and counter-force to the fingers.  the thumb meat must remain soft at all times.    
  • 1) spatial awareness.  2) Sensory Awareness 3) produce energy to enable repeat performance 4) Control total body-movements to execute skills 5) maintain joint alignment to preserve joint integrity 6) Exert necessary force in minimum time to execute desired skill 7) dynamically change body position to ensure posture is always in position to exert or resist force 8) conserve energy through efficient mechanics 9) maintain balance by controlling the center of mass 
  • the stretch reflex
  • motor cortex, hypothalamus, autonomic nervous system
  • The form of the bone, joint, muscle and tendon dictates function. Then!- The function of the bone, joint, muscle and tendon, dictates the form of the movement.     
  • phosphagen, fast glycosides, aerobic metabolism, 
  • kinetics=movement.  kinesthetics = awareness of movement.  proprioception= awareness of movement
  • childhood, distance, rather than accuracy.  late childhood= locomotion, stability,    
  • isolation teaches motor recruitment.  
  • conditioning/hypertrophy phase high volume.  12-20 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions.   1-3 times per week 
  • extreme abduction of the fingers should be avoided, because this ties up the interossie and impedes them from functioning as the “in hand” finger flexors. (source F Wilson)       
  • the brain learns best by “hitting” a musical “target.”  In other words, the motion of the muscles can be fine tuned as the sense of hearing provides feedback about their accuracy. 
  • longterm medium term short term training 
  • train movements, not muscles 
  • muscle spindle fibers
  • Posture is more important than core.  good posture: feet, knees, hips, shoulder, ear, are all aligned.  
  • greater intensity = greater fast Glycosis 
  • 1) when resisting or transferring forces, straight is strongest.  2) Force generation develops from large muscle groups, to small muscle groups. 3) Slow movements progress to fast movements as inertia is overcome.  4) off-centered forces cause rotation.  5) the athlete needs to control rotation around a secondary axis to produce linear movement.  6) short levers move faster than long ones.  7) for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.   
  • tension creates control 
  • strength phase: high intensity, low volume.  3 or 4 sets of 4 to 6 reps. 
  • simultaneous flexion and extension of individual fingers is to be avoided, again to reduce the risk of agonist-antagonist co-contraction in the arm. (source F Wilson)       
  • the brain mirrors movements on both sides of the body.  Tension in one muscle, produces tension in it’s mirrored counterpart.  
  • joints are in the correct position, and the movement moves them in the correct sequence to optimize the anatomical arrangement of the muscles  
  • joint positioning determines muscles used or not used 
  • aerobic metabolism 
  • inertia= an object will stay constant unless acted upon by an external force.  acceleration= an object changes due to an external force.  Force=mass times acceleration.  
  • phase 3:power phase/ plyometrics.  
  • notes played sequentially allow the fingers to momentarily relax between each note.  Therefor the gait, not the posture, of the movement determines the effectiveness of the musical outcome.  
  • intention for movement arises in many parts of the brain.  
  • the performer who can execute the the fastest, strongest, most forceful movement usually wins,  
  • joint positioning must precede speed or power 
  • muscle generates it’s peak force in the middle 2 4ths of its length.  Fully lengthened or fully shortened produces less force.  As velocity increases, force decreases.      
  • phosphagen lasts 1-3 seconds 
  • phase 4: power endurance 
  • the muscle “fires” the joint, and inertia carries the finger “through” the string (“ballistic” movement)  
  • strength, then power, then speed.  
  • repetition enables proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness
  • 1st class lever : sea saw. Mechanical advantage and speed advantage depending on length of lever .  
  • anaerobic metabolism lasts up to 2 minutes, 
  • muscles work best when they are “aligned”
  • strength first, through sequence of movements (range of motion), then plyometrics 
  • 2nd class lever: wheelbarrow: magnifies the effect of a small force.  
  • as force increases, velocity decreases.  This is why the average guitar player can play faster than the average bass player.  
  • train movements in 3 planes of movement at once.  tri planar movement should be the focus of strength training 
  • 3rd class lever: tweezers.  Force disadvantage, speed advantage.  range of motion advantage.  
  • force is transfered from large to small muscle groups through the kinetic chain.  If large muscle groups do not generate the force, the small muscle groups will have to compensate.  
  • transfer force through the entire kinetic chain.
  • the greater the angle of the joint, the less force it can produce.  
  • need to train acceleration mechanics, deceleration mechanics, directional change mechanics 
  • build strength from the ground up.  Trunk before extremities, 
  • center of pressure is the force divided by area (surface area)
  • performing a muscle contraction at maximal speed means air finger flicks.  
  • sequence muscle actions to produce high force, high velocity movements
  • the fundamental motion of muscles is to contract 
  • develop functional programming through a broad spectrum of movement and load challenges
  • longer muscles can contract for a longer distance 
  • make strength accessible rather than specific.  
  • a larger muscle produces more force
  • lengthened muscle produces the most tension. 
  • optimal elbow flexion is 100 degrees 
  • fatigue compromises the quality of the movement
  • moment arm: the distance perpendicular to the force vector.  For example, elbow rotates.  with elbow flexion at 90 degrees, the distance between the contracting muscle and the rotating joint is larger than when the elbow is   
  • tension creates control.  do Isometrics after the isotonic sets. 
  • a lengthened muscle, or a muscle with a large movement arm has mechanical advantage.   
  • quality is defined as % of perfect 

 

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Phrases and Cadences

Cadences: a point where harmonic movement comes to rest.

Phrase: a melody that ends in a cadence  

Perfect Authentic Cadence: has predominant, dominant, Tonic (in that order).  Dominant and Tonic must be in root position.  

Half Cadence: a phrase ending on the V of the key.

Prolongation: A Tonic, Pre-Dominant, or Dominant Chord extended over more bars/beats.    

Non-Harmonic tones:

-neighbor tone: one step from a harmonic tone 

-passing tone: a note situated stepwise between two harmonic tones  

-incomplete neighbor tone: approached by a leap, left by step or vice versa 

-double neighbor tone: two chromatic neighbor tones, in any direction 

-Suspension: a non-harmonic tone held, then resolved after the other voices

Harmonic embellishments: Chords that harmonize non-harmonic tones in one or more of the voices.  They add intricacy and color, but do not change the overall     harmonic direction.  

Pedal: holding one note, in one voice, for a significant period.  

 

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4-Note Chord 2 Octave-Displacement Voicings

One voice displaced by 2 octaves

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed  

    1st voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice, 2nd voice 16va,

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 4th voice, 3rd voice 16va, 

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice 16va

    2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice, 1st voice 16va

2 voices displaced by 1, 2 octaves

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed

    1st voice, 4th voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va

    2nd voice, 3rd Voice, 1st voice 8va, 4th voice 16va

    2nd Voice, 4th Voice, 1st Voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va

    3rd Voice, 4th Voice, 1st Voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va  

   

    1st voice, 4th voice, 3rd voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 4th voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va

    2nd voice, 3rd Voice, 4th voice 8va, 1st voice 16va, 

    2nd Voice, 4th Voice, 3rd voice 8va, 1st Voice 16va,  

    3rd Voice, 4th Voice, 2nd voice 8va, 1st Voice 16va   

3 voices displaced by 1, 1, 2 octaves  

   1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed  

   1st voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va

   2nd voice, 1st voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va

   3rd voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va

  4th voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va

  

  1st voice, 2nd voice 8va, , 4th voice 8va 3rd voice 16a   

   2nd voice, 1st voice 8va, 4th voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va

   3rd voice, 1st voice 8va, , 4th voice 8va 2nd voice 16va

   4th voice, 1st voice 8va,  3rd voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va           

 

   1st voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va

   2nd voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va, 1st voice 16va

   3rd voice, 2nd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va,1st voice 16va

   4th voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va, 1st voice 16va     

3 voices displaced by 1, 2, 2 octaves  

   1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed  

   1st voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va, 4th voice 16va

   2nd voice, 1st voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va, 4th voice 16va

   3rd voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va, 4th voice 16va

  4th voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 16va, 3rd voice 16va  

  1st voice, 2nd voice 8va, , 4th voice 16va 3rd voice 16a

   2nd voice, 1st voice 8va, 4th voice 16va, 3rd voice 16va

   3rd voice, 1st voice 8va, , 4th voice 16va 2nd voice 16va

   4th voice, 1st voice 8va,  3rd voice 16va, 2nd voice 16va           

   1st voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va, 2nd voice 16va

   2nd voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va, 1st voice 16va

   3rd voice, 2nd voice 8va, 4th voice 16va,1st voice 16va

   4th voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 16va, 1st voice 16va     

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4-note Chord Octave-displacement Voicings  

4-note Chord Octave-displacement Voicings

One voice displaced by an octave:

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed

    1st voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice, 2nd voice 8va,

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 4th voice, 3rd voice 8va,

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice 8va

    2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice, 1st voice 8va

2 voices displaced by an octave:

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed

    1st voice, 4th voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va

    1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va

    2nd voice, 3rd Voice, 1st voice 8va, 4th voice 8va

    2nd Voice, 4th Voice, 1st Voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va

    3rd Voice, 4th Voice, 1st Voice 8va, 2nd voice 8va

3 voices displaced by an octave

   1st voice, 2nd voice, 3rd voice, 4th voice = Closed

   1st voice, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va

   2nd voice, 1st voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va  

   3rd voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 8va, 4th voice 8va

   4th voice, 1st voice 8va, 2nd voice 8va, 3rd voice 8va

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Optimal Range of Movement

The optimal range of all possible movements.  

 

Posture vs. Movement

 

 

 

The optimal range of all possible movements is the middle 2/4ths of the range of motion.  

 

0 degrees = neutral position for all joint angles.    

 

Neck Flexion and Extension: 0-23 Degrees (that’s probably a lot less than you would want in order to look at the fretboard).

 

Neck Rotation: 0-40 Degrees. 

 

Neck Lateral Flexion: 0-25 degrees

 

Shoulder forward flexion: 0-90 degrees 

 

Shoulder external rotation: 0-45 degrees

 

Shoulder Abduction: 0-95 degrees

 

Shoulder External rotation: 0-45 degrees 

 

Elbow Flexion/Extension: 25-125 degrees

 

Forearm pronation: 0-60 degrees 

 

Forearm supination 0-65 degrees  

 

Wrist flexion: 0-65 degrees 

 

Wrist extension: 0-65 degrees 

 

Wrist radial deviation: 0-15 degrees 

 

Wrist ulnar deviation: 0-23 degrees 

 

Finger Metacarpal Phalangeal flexion/extension: 20-60 degrees

 

Finger Proximal inter-phalangeal flexion/extension: 25-75 degrees 

 

Finger Distal inter-phalangeal flexion/extension: 20-60 

 

Thumb basal joint Palmar Adduction/Abduction Contact/45

Radial Adduction/Abduction Contact/60

 

Thumb Interphalangeal Hyperextension/Flexion 15H/80

 

Thumb Metacarpophalangeal Hyperextension/Flexion 10/55

 

 

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Maximal Range of Movement

Playing guitar involves contracting muscles of the upper body for up to 8 hours at a time.  Guitars weigh 1-10 pounds.  Your body must bear this weight while making light, but vigorous, and often fast, motions with the hand, arm and shoulder.  

 

If your body is already messed up, playing guitar has the potential to make it worse.

 

Here are a few range of motion tests you to see if you are in the minimum physical condition to play guitar:

 

Neck: 

 

 

Shoulder:

 

 

 

Elbow:

 

 

 

Forarm Rotation: 

 

 

 

Wrist: 

 

 

 

Fingers 

 

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Scales

Scales are 7 notes.  The Major and Minor scales are common and familiar.  I add sharps to"brighten," and flats to "darken" them. Through this "shading," I create a spectrum of scale sound-colors.   

Major + 1 Flat

1234567= Major

1b234567= Major b2

12b34567 = Melodic Minor

1234b567 = Major b5 

12345b67 = Harmonic Major 

123456b7 = Mixolydian  

Major + 1 Sharp

1234567= Major

1#234567= Major #2

123#4567 = Lydian

1234#567 = Major #5 

12345#67 = Major #6

Melodic Minor + 1 Flat

12b34567= Melodic Minor 

1b2b34567= Melodic Minor b2

12b3b4567 = Melodic Minor b4

12b34b567 = Melodic Minor b5 

12b345b67 = Harmonic Minor 

12b3456b7 = Dorian  

Melodic Minor + 1 Sharp

12b34567= Melodic Minor

12b3#4567 = Melodic Minor #4

12b34#567 = Melodic minor #5 

12b345#67 = Melodic Minor #6

Lydian + 1 Flat

123#4567= Lydian 

1b23#4567= Lydian b2

123#45b67 = Lydian b6 

123#456b7 = Mixolydian #4  

Lydian + 1 Sharp

123#4567= Lydian

1#23#4567= Lydian #2

12#3#4567 = Lydian #3

123#4#567 = Lydian #5 

123#45#67 = Lydian #6

Dorian + 1 Flat

12b3456b7= Dorian

1b2b3456b7= Dorian b2

12b3b456b7 = Dorian b4 

12b34b56b7 = Dorian b5 

12b345b6b7 = Natural Minor/Aeolian

Dorian + 1 Sharp

12b3456b7= Dorian

12b3#456b7 = Dorian #4

12b34#56b7 = Dorian #5

Lydian Augmented + 1 Flat

123#4#567= Lydian Augmented

1b23#4#567= Lydian Augmented b2

12b3#4#567 = Melodic Minor #4, #5

123#4#56b7 = Mixolydian #4, #5   

Lydian Augmented + 1 Sharp

123#4#567= Lydian Augmented 

1#23#4#567= Lydian Augmented #2

12#3#4#567 = Lydian Augmented #3 

123#4#5#67 = Lydian Augmented #6

Aeolian + 1 Flat

12b345b6b7= Aeolian

1b2b345b6b7= Phrygian

12b3b45b6b7 = Aeolian b4

12b34b5b6b7 = Aeolian b5/Locrian Natural 2

Aeolian + 1 Sharp

12b34567= Major

1#234567= Major #2

123#4567 = Lydian

1234#567 = Major #5 

12345#67 = Major #6

Lydian Augmented #2 + 1 Flat 

1#23#4#567= Lydian Augmented #2

1#23#4#56b7= Lydian Dominant Augmented #2

Lydian Augmented #2 + 1 Sharp

1#23#4#567= Lydian Augmented #2

1#2#3#4#567= Lydian Augmented #2 #3

1#23#4#56#7= Lydian Augmented #2 #6

Phrygian + 1 Flat

1b2b345b6b7= Phrygian

1b2b34b5b6b7= Locrian 

1b2b3b45b6b7= Phrygian b4

Phrygian + 1 Sharp

1b2b345b6b7= Phrygian

1b2b3#45b6b7= Phrygian #4  

Major plus 6 Flats

1234567= Major

1b2b3b4b5b6b7= Locrian b4

Major + 5 Sharps

1234567= Major

  • 1#2#3#4#5#67= Lydian Augmented #2 #3 #6

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