Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Fate of Strings

Old Portuguese Tiles : O Fado

Today the strings will be changed. Fieldwork DC begins this afternoon and I will be participating, that means playing, and to do that I must have new strings on my Godin. The Field process has been very useful for me over the years. In fact, one of the reasons I now play solo came as a result of a Fieldwork session. After FingerPaint faded, I continued to dabble in electronic music, primarily using long digital delays. This involved a lot of equipment and it was too much work to tear down, reset, play for a short time at the workshop, tear down, and reset at home each week. So I would present my work using a CD. I was prepared to take another session of the Field when I found myself wanting to perform something live, instead of popping a CD in a portable player. Eight days before the beginning of the session I picked up my Ovation and was horrified at the state of my playing. A tremolo piece, Aftermath, emerged; and I was born as a solo guitarist. Eventually I let go of the plectrum and returned to fingerstyle.

But about those strings, they still not changed. One of the pieces I will show at The Field today is Beneath Dark Images, which I have not played for anyone other than my wife. I decided to play through it a couple of times before changing the strings and allow the piece to simmer in my brain. I became aware of my body using the Alexander Technique directions. Then I decided to begin by working with inhibition on a particular transition in Livin' the Dream. While the problem in this particular transition appears to be in my left hand, I noticed via the use of inhibition that I was tightening my right elbow in anticipation. This introduction of unnecessary tension and shortening has a direct result on my left hand fingerings.

I worked with this for twenty minutes and then moved onto Beneath Dark Images. The quality in my hands that was already present from the previous work informed my playing through of this piece. I addressed two transitions that are problematic and decided to capture this process for the blog.

Yet those strings remain to be changed and change them I now will. Then there is the debris to pick up in the yard. How can I incorporate the yard work into my practice?

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