Beginner Video - Tom M.

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NutmegCT
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Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by NutmegCT » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:53 pm

Here's where I am now, after two very slow years.

https://youtu.be/fQ1hvN-OuSQ

This is Darr #25.

Believe me, I'd really appreciate comments on what I should do to improve. Really! Even something as basic as "go back to Darr #21 or #23". Please! I struggle keeping L and R hand fingers in the right place, and have to hunt for nearly every note I try to play. I can do scales pretty well - but combining melody and right hand really turns into fumble fingers.

And thanks for Pete in Australia for suggesting we make and post these "where we are" videos.

Tom M.

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by Musicmaker » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:13 pm

Hey Tom, that sounds pretty good to me.
I am not a Zitherist....YET....
But I am a musician of sorts.
The Zither i know , is not an easy instrument to play and there is only one other instrument that i have learnt that is simply mind boggelingly very hard, that of the pedal steel guitar ( E9 )
I put the Zither on the same level.
My approach to the synchronisation of first finger melody and accompaniment with the rest of the right hand would be to practice first, only the melody until near perfect and then only the accompaniment strings, again, until it comes without thinking.
When i am learnjng a piece on whatever instrument i go for one measure at a time.
I learn by stubborn repetition that would defy a parrot and sheer determination.
I am probably wrong in my above approach so we can only wait to see what experienced Zitherists have to say. I will also learn from their input and thats what it is all about. I do so hope you hear something back.
Lastly, thank you so much for sharing that Tom.
Whatever happens....DONT GIVE UP !
Pete

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by NutmegCT » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:59 pm

Pete - thanks very much for your detailed reply!

Quick question: you mention learning one measure at a time. When you're learning a new instrument, do you play that one measure at a time while looking at your fingers? or while looking at the music?

I'm trying to figure out if I'm supposed to be playing by "feel" - or by looking at what I'm doing.

Thanks.
Tom M.

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by Musicmaker » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:45 pm

Hi Tom.
I can only speak as a musician here and not a Zitherist.
Music is played very much and should always be played with feeling.
Before i can get to that stage i will learn one bar at a time until i grasp it completely and remember the tune. ( the melody ).
To do that then first off i must study the notation and play slowly note for note until i dont have to look at the music and am playing by feel. When that is accomplished i move on to the next measure and do the same. Then play the two measures together and so on.
By the time i have reached the end of the piece i would have played the meausures sometimes a hundred times! And the piece is remembered.
When i am playing classical ukulele and have learnt the piece from memory, the names of the notes i am playing are totally irellavent because i am concentrating on cord and finger PATTERNS.
The SHAPE of the chord and fingering patterns played dozens of times.
I think its true to say that musicians when they are reading from music do not look at what they are playing but feel for it.
When playing a solo at a concert, the piece is memorized note for note, they do not look at what they are playing but are in a world of " Feeling".
For example Yehudi Menhuen with tge violin concertos.
That is way too far ahead.
I would say that to aim at feeling for the notesafter having learnt where they are would be a good approach.
Pete

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by Musicmaker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:08 am

Hi Tom .
It's me, Pete, again.
Two, what might be important points to observe.
Having watched some videos of Zither playing , i have noticed that the Zither is placed at quite an angle so that the left hand side of it is further away than the right side.
This is recommended in the tutor i am reading also.
Have you got your Zither angled?
The reason for this i can only assume is for comfort of playing and to reduce fatigue.
Also i noticed you were standing when playing.
I might be wrong here but i think to play the Zither, one must be Comfortable, easy and relaxed.
This is a mind set thing.
Have you noticed that before a pianist will play a piece, they will sit, adjust, pause, and tell their minds that they are going to play beautifully and with feeling. They then pause again, compose the hand positions and they are in!
It has to be in your mind before you can play it.
Thats applies to all instruments ....i think?
Pete

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by NutmegCT » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:47 am

Pete - thank you sir!

Sounds like you're learning each measure so well you've got it memorized. Then you repeat the process until you've learned - and memorized - each measure all the way to the end of the piece, and you're playing from memory.

I drove to upstate New York a few weeks ago, to work with a zitherist in a German folk group. Really looked forward to it - but when I got there I discovered the zitherist doesn't read music at all. Just plays a melody by ear, and strums accompaniment strings that "sound good". He said he wouldn't have a clue how to use a method book! (That wasn't very encouraging ...)

I do have my zither slightly angled, and you do raise a good point about standing versus sitting. I'm interested in hearing from experienced zitherists here who might comment on position and sit/stand, as well as left hand finger position and technique on the fingerboard (griffbrett) and right hand finger position and technique on the accompaniment strings.

Thank!
Tom M.

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by Andy » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:32 am

Hey Tom,

Good progress! I know it feels like a struggle but don’t give up!

It definitely seems like playing standing would be more difficult than playing sitting, but at the end of the day it comes down to being comfortable. There are a few videos of people playing standing, but it definitely doesn’t seem to be the norm.

And I think Pete is spot on about feel and patterns. As I put more time into each of these lessons, I’ve been finding that I am starting to feel the strings and chords that the lessons have been consistently drilling; muscle memory is starting to set in. And the chords are all a series of repeating patterns up and down the strings.

One thing that also helped a lot was seeing the chord patterns laid out visually. Heidi’s Max Roller post (viewtopic.php?f=18&t=441) helped to demystify the accompaniment strings a good bit. I hadn’t realized until I saw this that the accompaniment drills from my lesson book were the C-Major, G-Major, F-Major chords.

- Andy

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by NutmegCT » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:19 pm

<deleted> For some reason my post showed up twice.

TM
Last edited by NutmegCT on Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by NutmegCT » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:19 pm

Andy - thanks for the reminders. I'd actually found those "chord charts" just after they were posted. They're certainly useful for the zitherist who can use them.

But this shows what to me is a major split between the method books, chord charts, and actual zither music.

Most method books teach specific written notes for left hand fingers - not chords. You can find some books which show melody plus chord symbols (e.g. G7, CMaj, EMin, etc.) but most zither music isn't written that way.

As a (former) professional cellist, I can see when the accompaniment notes make up a C chord, or G chord, etc. But the composer isn't actually writing chords - the composer is indicating specific notes. So unless those accompaniment patterns repeat, you're always "looking for the next group of notes" - and that group is probably written to be played sequentially, not all at once.

That's probably why the zitherist I drove to New York to see told me he just "plays the chords that sound good". He's not actually reading the music. But as students, we use method books, which expect us to actually read the music.

Still hoping to hear from experienced zitherists about my LH and RH positions and technique.

Thanks all!
Tom M.

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Re: Beginner Video - Tom M.

Post by Andy » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:42 pm

Tom,

It applies to the accompaniment too, take a look at your lesson #26 in Darr. Starting from measure one of the accompaniment, it is basically written G-Major chord, D-Major chord, C-Major chord, G-Major chord, except they’re broken up into repeating patterns of bass, accompaniment chord, accompaniment chord.

And because the chords follow (for the most part) the same finger pattern, switching between them becomes a matter of stepping up and down the strings in increments, if you keep your fingers on the strings and use your rest strokes. G-Major chord is always one up from C-Major chord, D-Major chord is always one up from G-Major chord, exc.

I know it doesn't apply to all the lessons, but for me recognizing this helped to ease some of the complication in the accompaniment. Some of the later lessons I've seen now are using scales in the accompaniment, but even this seems to follow a neat little pattern. One problem at a time though!

- Andy

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