"red strings"

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NutmegCT
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"red strings"

Post by NutmegCT » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:24 pm

Please bear with me - the "ultimate" beginner.

I'm actually making some progress on the fretboard. Those strings are the same as my cello, so I find them relatively intuitive.

I'm afraid I can't use the term "intuitive" on all the other strings. Is there some rule or technique to help me identify which of those 26 strings to use for a particular chord or triad?

Example: to play a G major triad or arpeggio, I should use all (or some) of these strings: 5, 6, 9, 17, 18, 21, etc. to obtain G, B, D.

But how do my right hand fingers "find" those strings, especially to play them all at once as a chord, as opposed to an arpeggio? Darr jumps right in (section 21) with melody and accompaniment, but finding those strings is really a major uphill battle for me.

Are the "red strings" to be used as some sort of guide? I don't see a mention of the reason they're red in any of the literature I have.

Seems that if finding the correct Begleitung and Bass chords is done simply "by feel", it's going to take me another lifetime to feel comfortable.

As always, thanks for your patience!
Tom in Connecticut

Rudy Mueller
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: "red strings"

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:10 am

Hi Tom,

This is a MAJOR hurdle for new zither players.

Naming the fingers of the hand 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (with thumb as #1), for the G chord, for example,
pick up the downbeat G (string #17) with finger # 4
pick up the fifth ( g + d , strings 5 and 6) with # 2
and the third ( b string 9) with finger # 3.

For the beginner, however, you may want to start with repetitively playing 3/4 time G g g G g g G g g over and over and over with fingers # 4 and 2, strings 17 and 5 , until you're comfortable. This is drudgery, and may take some time, but is a major step!

then add the d playing G dg Gdg Gdg etc., strumming both the g and the adjacent
d simultaneously with finger #2.

When you've got that down, add the b with finger #3, simultaneously strumming g and d with finger #2 as above, and b with #3, playing G dg b G dg b G dg b repetitively.

3/4 was easiest for me (tempo of Bavarian Schnaderhüpfl or limericks); you may prefer some other.

Ergonomically, the zither is a masterpiece. To change chords, one then just moves the hand one string forward or back, to C or D, for example, picking up the fifths and the thirds as above.

The "red" and bronze colored strings are for visual orientation.

Kurt Eckroth and others do give lessons over the internet, and CDs are available. Check the zither site, or contact Dave Kyger.

For the beginner, you may initially prefer to tune/check only the strings used "daily", and the entire instrument on a less regular basis. An inexpensive electronic tuner is a God-send.

Have you been able to make contact with other local players? Do you have at least a few e-addresses? e-mail may be more convenient.

Rudi Mueller

kenbloom
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Re: "red strings"

Post by kenbloom » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:46 am

Hi Tom,

Being able to play a simple triad is indeed one of the big hurdles to get over. Basically, your index finger has to cover twice the distance as your middle finger to get the chord to sound. You use what guitar players call a rest stroke. Your index finger glides over the adjacent G and D strings while the middle finger strums the B string. The index finger comes to rest on the C string while the middle finger comes to rest on the E string. When I was learning to do this, I spent quite a while just trying to get the chord to sound reliably. It took a while but perseverance furthers. Once I could get the chord to be clear, I then added a bass note and got the feel of doing the "boom-chick" thing. You hear that clearly when Karras is playing the Third Man theme.
After that I tried play my G fingerboard string everytime I hit the bass note. I then proceeded to try and play the fingerboard string open with each bass note and each chord. Not having a teacher all this took me about a month. Keep at it and you'll get it!

Ken Bloom

NutmegCT
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Re: "red strings"

Post by NutmegCT » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:32 pm

Gentlemen - thank you for the detailed suggestions. Looks like tomorrow I'm going to create some very sore fingers! Fortunately, back in the Dark Ages I did play some classical guitar, so I'm familiar with "rest stroke". Of course, that instrument had only six strings - not over 30!

I've made an appointment with a Connecticut zitherist (?) for Monday, and will likely pick his brain as much as possible.

And thanks for pointing out a very important concept which I'd completely overlooked. Once the right hand has "found" a chord/triad, you shift back and forth with that same hand position, to play triads based on other roots.

Onward through the fog.
Tom
PS - the mention of Karas brought back amazing memories. I first saw THE FILM back in the 1950s, and was completely taken by the zither music. I've been searching for time and patience to learn the instrument for the last fifty some years. And now the time has come.
PPS - please forgive me, but here's what I'm listening to right now. Quite a parallel with The Third Man, and contemporary Vienna:

http://youtu.be/MgOZC495NMk

NutmegCT
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Re: "red strings"

Post by NutmegCT » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:41 pm

Note to Don - I emailed you this morning about having to change our Monday zither session. But Juno.com rejected my message saying "mailbox unavailable".

So I'm hoping you read this.

Note to all: I've actually made progress in the right hand chord adventure. Not much for you experienced folks, but when I first played a simple melody and accompaniment (three different chords) a few days ago - I was really pleased. There's hope for me yet!

Slow and steady wins the race. And as Churchill said: "Never give in".
Thanks to all.
Tom in Connecticut

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Dave
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Re: "red strings"

Post by Dave » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Tom,

Nice to hear that you're making headway. My progress has never been by leaps and bounds. I do however appreciate those small victories when they occur. :D Thanks too for sharing the link of Cornelia Mayer playing. It is lovely indeed.

best,
Dave
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

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