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Re: Artificial string harmonics question
David Raleigh Arnold
Re: Artificial string harmonics question
Fri, 22 Feb 2002 15:58:10 +0000
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Amelie Zapf wrote:
Am Freitag 22 Februar 2002 00:18 schrieb Graham Percival:
It looks as though "artificial harmonics" means something different for
guitars. I don't know if the cello-artificial harmonics are possible
to do on a guitar; if not, that would explain the difference. :)
True indeed. On the guitar, the artificial harmonic is created by touching
the string in the middle (an octave higher than stopped) with the right hand
and plucking simultaneously.
No. If the string is open, it is a natural harmonic, not an artificial
one. The original sender had that backwards too. There is agreement
that the diamond shaped note is for indications other than the true pitch.
One more time:
Open string = natural harmonic.
Stopped or fretted string = artificial harmonic.
And of course it was natural harmonics that Carcassi was refering to in
1826. Pardon the lack of marks, I hope you can make it out:
"On produit les sons harmoniques en posant su doigt se la main gauche
sur toutes les cordes de la Guitare a de certaines divisions seulement.
Il faut que le doigt pose legerement mais avec assez de force pour
empecher a corde de resonner a vide, et on leve ce doigt aussitot apres
avoir pince la corde un peu fort pres du Chevalet.
"Les sons harmoniques rendent une octave au dessus de ce qu'ils sont
marques. Ils se font a la 12me, 7me, 4me, et 3me touch comme le
demontre le tableau suivant."
It is easier to use diamond shaped notes than to use his system, which
was to give fret, string, and true pitch at the octave. Later in the
book he marked them as flags, or flagolets. :-)
On the next page artificial harmonics are described thus:
"On peut aussi executer en sons harmoniques toutes les notes du
Diapason de la Guitare.
"Pour y parvenir, on doigte avec la main gauche la note qu'on veut
rendre harmonique, comme sil'on devait executer une note ordinaire, puis
l'on pose le bout d l'index de la main droite a la 12me touche
correspondante de la note doigtee par la main gauche, en ecartant le
pouce de l'index qui pose legerement sur la corde, on pincera cette
corde qui resonnera harmoniquement."
Of course those who say that a diamond shaped note is appropriate for
*other than octave* overtones in all cases, not just the natural
harmonics, are quite right.
The probability that a person who numbers the fingers of his right hand
is going to want to indicate an artificial harmonic at some interval
other than the octave on a guitar is extremely low. Carcassi refers to
the index finger of the right hand, and the first finger of the left
hand, as we do now. The fingers of the right hand are not numbered by
Touching a fourth higher makes no sense on the
guitar, because the resulting sound would be too soft and quaint, as it's a
plucked and not a bowed instrument.
It's done with natural harmonics very often. It's hard to see any
reason why it would be done with an artificial harmonic.
Now here's a mean one that throws me off completely: How do you notate the
sound often heard by a jazz guitarist that sounds like the basic fretted note
and the artificial harmonic together? It is created by striking the note very
hard with a pick held between thumb and 1st finger of the right hand and at
the same time, touching the string extremely lightly at 1/4 of its way from
the bridge with the 3rd finger (takes a lot of balance).
The only way that is not hopelessly confusing is to resort to writing
the true pitches and indicate that both notes are played on the same
string. After all, the whole idea of music notation is to write what
the music sounds like. The technique is not at all difficult. I don't
know of any classical guitar pieces that exploit it, which is strange.
That's easy, because all you have to do is write the sound you want.
Here's a tough one: How do you indicate a slur when the slurred note has
the same pitch as the originating note? It can be done by touching the
string at the end when sounding it, giving an imitation of a violin
pizzicato, and then removing the hand from the string so that the sound
seems to become stronger. If you don't want to call that a slur, what
would you call it? It sure isn't a tie.
It should work pretty well on a cello open string, too.
Information is not knowledge. Belief is not truth.
Indoctrination is not teaching. Tradition is not evidence.
David Raleigh Arnold address@hidden