Create a Three-Dimensional Sound on Fingerstyle Guitar

Posted by Alex de Grassi

Depth of field is accomplished primarily through “internal dynamics”—the relative volume or weight given to each voice or even to each individual note. Finding that balance in a guitar arrangement is a powerful tool for creating a moving performance. The key to controlling these internal dynamics is learning to deliver the right touch, with its own individual volume, to every note. I call this the hierarchy of accents.

Depth of Field examples
Click to enlarge.

This group of examples is intended to help develop awareness and train the fingers to vary the volume in a hierarchy of accents. Example 1a is a tremolo pattern—four groups of 16th notes repeating the same note—with an accent on each beat. The picking-hand fingering, a three-stroke a–m–i sequence, requires the accent to be played by a different finger each time. Play the example slowly with a metronome and exaggerate the accents while playing the other notes softly. Once you can play it smoothly, try it at faster tempos. Then try measure 2—without any accents. Strive to play the tremolo fluidly with every note at the same volume.

Excerpted from The Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method: Depth of Field

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