I have a tremolo-related question.
I am a relatively advanced player (I achieved my TGH Music Performance diploma in 2016) and have got reasonable basic tremolo technique, e.g. for pieces like Tarrega’s Recuerdos.
I’m currently learning the Suite del Recuerdo by Jose Luis Merlin. In some of the parts of this suite there is a ‘T’ marked on the score when playing 2 notes together and the glossary explains that you are supposed to play ami in the direction indicated – e.g. see part 6 (Joropo) where it starts with a ‘T’ marked tremolo on the 1st and 2nd strings at position 7 (playing B and G sharp).
What I’m not clear about is the appropriate technique: are you trying to play both strings at the same time ami, or do you play ami on the 1st string and let each finger ‘fall’ on to the 2nd string? I’ve watched a few versions on YouTube but can’t really see what’s going on!
Grateful for any help, thank you.
This technique is best described as ‘tremolando’.
One must ‘play’ the required strings rapidly with fingers a m & i, each finger in turn passing across the, in this instance, two strings.
In order to catch both strings the playing action for each finger has to be a little flatter, than would be for a single string, brushing across the top of the required strings rather than taking hold of the strings.
The fact that nail and string noise is present is part of the effect, we are not looking for very ‘true’ tone but more of a percussive effect.
Working slowly while developing this technique is very important.
’T’ is a marking in the music where this technique is required and a shown arrow informs the direction of travel.
When the arrow is from low string to high the technique is very similar to a rasguado but with less wrist movement and performed much lighter, the fingers doing the lions share of the work.
In the attached videos to your email I have tried to show you the finger movement in close up and more detail.
The extracts are from Joropo and Chacarera.
As you can see the 3 notes do not always work!
I have shown 2 examples one with thumb resting on the next string – which gives support and helps with accuracy – and one without thumb resting.
Both should be possible with practice and then the choice comes down to personal preference and consideration for what else is happening in the music.
With practice, and slow work, you will get the feel of the finger movements.
The resulting ‘bubbly’ sound is great!
Hope that this helps.
Thank you so much! This is just incredibly helpful.
The two videos are crystal-clear and brilliant in enabling me to see what to do. I agree that the resulting sound is great – as you say, it just needs some slow practice.
I really like the Merlin suite so I will definitely persevere – it’s a bit different but I’m a big fan of South American guitar music. In fact I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with Lauro and all his great Venezuelan music – there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
Thank you again – what a fantastic service!
Do you have a question relating to the performance of a piece? Is there a technical problem that frustrates you?
If you are looking for assistance then Ask Selina