Practice Video - Basket of Turf

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Andy
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Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Andy » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:53 am

Hey all,

Hope everyone is doing well with their social distancing and stay at home orders if you've got them. I've been working from home for the past three weeks and the novelty is just about worn off. On the upside, plenty of opportunities to practice. This is the first song I've done in a different position, very challenging, but an Irish Jig is practically scales practice right? Anywho, as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

https://youtu.be/0zEteVmLd1U

- Andy

NutmegCT
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by NutmegCT » Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:03 pm

Hi Andy. Just posted a comment on your YouTube channel. Really enjoyed your performance.

Also learned what a "basket of turf" is!

Happy Easter to you and all.
Tom M.

Andy
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Andy » Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:25 pm

Thanks Tom, and thanks for the picture. I hadn't expected a "basket of turf" to be so literal. Hope you're doing well!

Happy Easter,
- Andy

Evelyn
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Evelyn » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:07 pm

Hello Andy

Thanks for the video. You are doing well!

I note that you seem to be sitting higher. Are you finding this position easier on the hands? I am asking because for some time I used to play sitting rather low, which at the time did not trouble me, but after changing to a higher table and chair I found that the new position gave my hands (especially the left hand) more mobility.

Still in lockdown over here in the UK, and I think that it will be extended further. I don't think that my yard has ever been this tidy.

Happy Easter all, and stay safe!

Evelyn

Andy
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Andy » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:44 pm

Hey Evelyn,

Thanks! I have been trying to sit a bit higher, but honestly I’m not so sure I care for it, there isn’t much room for my legs under the table at that height. I’ve been trying to re-evaluate things, how high I sit, the angle of the zither, all trying to get some more mobility and reach with my right hand. I feel like minor chords are still very difficult because fingers two and three are cramped together, and that I don’t have a strong enough pull with finger three when playing major chords. Also it feels like miles between finger four and the contra bass strings. This all makes me think that my angle is incorrect. It’s frustrating at times like this that there are no teachers to just sit with and get corrections from, but I’ve been watching every video I can find of people playing, looking at how they hold their hand and approach the strings. It’s the best I can do - the struggle continues and failure is not an option.

- Andy

NutmegCT
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by NutmegCT » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:57 pm

Andy - this seems like a perfect opportunity to use something like Zoom or Skype with an experienced zither player.

You'd get feedback on what you're doing, and see how the expert actually places him/herself at the instrument.

(Would actually be an idea for several zitherists, giving them a "zither choir" experience.)

Why not ask a forum member and see how it goes?

Just my two groschen!
Tom M.

Evelyn
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:23 am

Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Evelyn » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:15 am

Andy wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:44 pm
... the angle of the zither - Andy
According to my zither teacher (and as a rule of thumb), the left end of the zither should be positioned so that it is about a hand's width distant from the table edge. Also, you could try sitting just a bit further to the right and at a (very) slight angle to your zither, but it's really a matter of trying to find the position that suits you best. There's no hard and fast rule.

Best
Evelyn

kenbloom
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by kenbloom » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:01 am

I have found over the years that angleing the zither away from me on the left end and sitting higher has helped me a lot. I have a chair that has adjustable height. I tend to tuck my legs under so that I get good clearance from the table. Positioning the instrument lower in relationship to the body gives my arms and wrists a weight advantage which is helpful.
I took a lesson many years ago from an older player and he positioned his fingers so that the tips of his fingers dug into the strings. At the time, I had mine more parallel and was using the side of the fingertip to pluck the strings. He angled his fingers to use more of the tip. He got great tone and mobility doing it that way. It took me awhile to adapt but it did make a big difference. Keeping my right wrist up also helped, giving the fingers the advantage of the weight of the hand and also gave my thumb more mobility, being less cramped.
I have to say that every little bit that I learned over the years from older players has helped but they were hard won victories. Gives credence to that saying from the I Ching.....Perseverance Furthers. Stick to it. It will get better.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcier.org

Andy
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by Andy » Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:37 pm

Tom,
That could be an option! I was actually reading up on zither gatherings in Missouri. I had been hoping to attend one this year, though Covid has put a quash on that for the moment. It would certainly be amazing to meet and trade notes with experienced players in person.

Evelyn,
That is pretty much the approach I have been trying to take, good to know there is no hard and fast rule though. I always wonder how much is personal preference and how much is a rule.

Ken,
That is exactly what I’ve been seeing. It looks, and feels, difficult to position the right hand to play with the finger tips, but it also seems like doing that creates ‘lanes’ for the second and third fingers to strum in the same vicinity without interfering with each other. More height seems to make this position a bit more attainable. I’ll definitely keep at it.

Thanks for the feedback all, this is a huge help.
- Andy

NutmegCT
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Re: Practice Video - Basket of Turf

Post by NutmegCT » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:35 am

Andy - something I noticed over my years of "zither struggle": words and "method books" don't work very well in describing the reality of zither positioning, hand positioning, finger usage, etc.

Example: what are "finger tips"?

I'd always thought a "finger tip" is the part of the finger from the first knuckle down to the end of the finger. But in reading posts and suggestions, I've seen descriptions and photos showing the finger tip as (1) the right side of the finger end, below the nail, (2) the fleshy tip of the finger below the end of the nail, (3) the fleshy part below the nail.

That doesn't even touch on the action of the finger tips when making the strings speak. Reading posts and suggestions, that's all over the place!

Anyway, if someone could actually post a video of specific things, like:

Height of the zither body relative to the player's chest.

Angle of the zither body relative to the player's chest.

Angle of the right arm relative to the instrument.

Closeup view of placement of the right hand fingers on the strings when ready to play a C chord (for example).

Closeup view of movement of the right hand fingers when playing the chord.

Closeup view of left hand fingers when playing a scale. (This might clear up lots of questions on that pesky little finger!)

I don't understand why we have no videos from experienced players, showing these things; lots of talk, but no demonstration. I remember one frequent user here, when asked several years ago for an example of positioning and finger movement, who referred us to a fuzzy video of a film made during a stage performance 30 years ago!

Teachers give their students homework, to practice what they've seen demonstrated by the teacher. Teachers don't expect students to learn from homework without first giving them the demonstration.

Anyway, altho' I now realize I'll never be able to play that wonderful instrument, I do know that visual information is often more useful than just words and fuzzy diagrams, and shaky videos from a distance.

Onward through the fog! Stay healthy everyone.
OK - back to my cave.
Tom M.

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