Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

  1. #1

    Default Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Tremolo to many people seems to be the sound that's closest associated with the mandolin. But for my part, I started practicing tremolo only two or three years ago, when I got into classical mandolin. In method books like the Ranierei method, tremolo seems to be the rule and non-tremolo the exception. But it's not explained how to practice tremolo systematically. That's what I want to discuss in this thread, ways to practice a kind of tremolo, that's not just a special effect, but part of the melodic playing.
    The main difficulty for me is to get out of the tremolo in time for the next note without playing the tremolo too short. What helps me is measured tremolo.
    An example: In John Playford's Gathering Pescods I play the half notes D-U-D-U-D-U-D
    The tempo of the tune is fast enough to make this sixteenth note group sound like a tremolo.

    Here's the sheet music, mando tabs and chords
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gathering_Peascods.pdf 
Views:	27 
Size:	23.9 KB 
ID:	172950
    This is no real tremolo but a good preliminary exercise.
    I prepared some easy tunes with a recording and sheet music (plus tabs), so everybody who wants to work on their tremolo is invited to join in.
    I'd be curious to know, how others approach this subject, especially how to continue after a tremolo and play the following note in time.
    It would be especially nice, if the trem-pros would share their knowledge!

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to crisscross For This Useful Post:


  3. #2

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    I am currently working on this:

    (numbers = scale degree)

    16th notes - 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 | 1 (tremolo at 32nd notes for 2 beats)
    So 2 beats of 16th notes and 2 beats of tremolo.
    If this does not make sense I'll make a PDF.

    Play in any and all keys and modes, starting with any finger (position on neck is important)

    the 1-5-1 pattern is one I use a lot, keeps me on two strings instead of just the one. Also, starting with the 3rd or 4th finger ups the challenge.

    Getting from the last 16th note to the tremolo is not bad... however getting back in when the downbeat is not on the first finger is a bit crazy making.

    Some variations would be to use sextuplets instead of the 32nd notes. Also "unmeasured" tremolos... but whoa there... not so fast!

    :-)
    Carl

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Carl23 For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    from another thread

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...e-and-Dynamics

    ToyonPete said:

    "I was in the same [ tremolo ] workshop with Takumi! He is an amazing player. First time in the US. To go a bit off the pick topic, he covered six different tremolo techniques.

    1. Grip - hard or soft
    2. Position - ranging from picking near the bridge to the 12th fret and everywhere in between
    3. Pick angle - from perpendicular to a diagonal attack
    4. Depth - from barely touching the tip of the pick to the string, to a deeper bite
    5. Speed - slow tremolo to fast tremolo
    6. Flexibility of wrist - hard or soft"

    That seems pretty systematic to me.

  6. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  7. #4

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    @david - that's a great list of things to consider. Do you know if they are recommended to work on in order? Or just all things to be watched?

    I think the OP was more about a systematic way of practicing tremolo.
    As a percussionist, I equate tremolo to rolls. (not a perfect comparison, but good enough for me)

    I have a ton of roll exercises that I try modifying for Mandolin, some work out, others... not so much.

    The largest problem with translation is that percussionist use two strikes with each hand to make the roll. Generally I translate handing to up and down strokes... so you can see the problem there. rrllrrll becomes dduudduu... rather difficult to play quickly.

    ;-)
    C

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Carl23 For This Useful Post:


  9. #5
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl23 View Post
    @david - that's a great list of things to consider. Do you know if they are recommended to work on in order? Or just all things to be watched?

    I think the OP was more about a systematic way of practicing tremolo.

    The largest problem with translation is that percussionist use two strikes with each hand to make the roll. Generally I translate handing to up and down strokes... so you can see the problem there. rrllrrll becomes dduudduu... rather difficult to play quickly.

    ;-)
    C
    The use of double r (down ) and double l (up ) strokes works better on drums!

    As for the list, ToyonPete just listed them in the order Mamiya presented them in the class.

    As for the OP's question, there was a system the Japanese used that began with slow measured tremolo, and moved to faster measured tremolo, and then in most cases to also using varied speed and unmeasured tremolo.

    Also see:

    Calace method part 1, the opening section has tremolo exercises

    Schick mandolinschule page 16 and on

    Bickford vol 1 page 32 and on

    Christofaro page 4

    Munier method, varios exercises

    Odell page 24

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  11. #6
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Rockville, MD
    Posts
    1,503
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    For what it’s worth, I have found my tremolo improving in all those aspects as a result of working on repertoire, tone, and performing as a test and reinforcer of successful technique. I’ve never worked on it as a technique on its own, but one piece in particular was helpful for me—-Recuerdos de la Alhambra. It is duo-style, but written in measured 16ths. Because the tune is pleasing to hear I enjoy practicing it, and it is always improving.

    I have used the firm-grip stiff-arm approach, good for getting started. Recuerdos forced me to a lighter grip and smoother tone.
    Blog--Miniature Orchestra
    Sound Clips--SoundCloud
    Videos--YouTube
    The viola is proof that man is not rational

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Tom Wright For This Useful Post:


  13. #7
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West of Chicago
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    I have worked on Tremolo on it's own and like Tom, developed my Tremolo by playing pieces I like that require Tremolo. I love the sound & the feel of playing the Tremolo.
    I have played Tremolo & Duo studies from various methods, some are on David's list. I became more conscience of it during my time with Giovanni Vicari. Even though I had been playing for a while before I started with him, my first couple of lessons, he was very attentive to my wrist motion, holding my pick etc. Even when we would play a piece that was not a Tremolo study per se, he would be attentive to my Tremoloing. No substitute for being under the watchful eye of a master.
    I, like David, was at Takumi's workshop at CMSA. Very interesting perspective. Down through the years, I have been attended a number of workshops where Tremolo was addressed, often helpful, sometimes not.
    Joe B
    A Splendid Time is Guaranteed for All

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to mandopops For This Useful Post:


  15. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopops View Post
    I became more conscience of it during my time with Giovanni Vicari. Even though I had been playing for a while before I started with him, my first couple of lessons, he was very attentive to my wrist motion, holding my pick etc. Even when we would play a piece that was not a Tremolo study per se, he would be attentive to my Tremoloing. No substitute for being under the watchful eye of a master.

    ...
    Joe B
    Whatever he learned from the master, I can tell you first hand Joe has a sweet tremolo!

    "developed my Tremolo by playing pieces I like that require Tremolo. I love the sound & the feel of playing the Tremolo. "

    And there's also the additional practice. Let's face it, even with a great teacher (or two) you still need to practice to get a decent tremolo.

    I thought I had a good tremolo - until I saw that there were also even more shadings of dynamics and phrasing that master players had under control.

    Back to the practice room!

  16. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  17. #9
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West of Chicago
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Thanx for the compliment, David, especially meanful coming from a player of your caliber. Yes, what ever we have been taught we must continue to be diligent about our practice routines on our own.
    One thing I found helpful, as I have gathered various method books, handouts, articles over the years, is to make copies of specific technique lessons from different sources and put them in a binder & tab it. An example is Tremolo. I went through various materials then copied the pages of Tremolo lessons and grouped them together. It saves me flipping though different books, when there is something I need/want to work on. I’ve done this with other techniques, as well.
    Now, back to my practice corner,
    Joe B
    A Splendid Time is Guaranteed for All

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to mandopops For This Useful Post:


  19. #10
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopops View Post
    I went through various materials then copied the pages of Tremolo lessons and grouped them together. It saves me flipping though different books, when there is something I need/want to work on. I’ve done this with other techniques, as well.
    That sounds like a good idea, having all the various materials from diverse authors in one place.

  20. #11

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Ok, here's a newb tremolo question...

    Is it normal to start a tremolo on a upstroke? I can see it being beneficial on some measured tremolos; under certain circumstances. For example a 16th triplet leading to a downbeat.

    thoughts?

    C

  21. #12
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl23 View Post
    Ok, here's a newb tremolo question...

    Is it normal to start a tremolo on a upstroke? I can see it being beneficial on some measured tremolos; under certain circumstances. For example a 16th triplet leading to a downbeat.

    thoughts?

    C
    Mostly I begin with downstrokes, but in certain situations an upstroke may be better, it depends on the musical phrase.

    As for the 16th triplet pick-up note, that also depends; if the 16th is alone, in which case it may be an upstroke leading to a downstroke on the downbeat of one.

    If it is part of a group, that will depend on how I pick the triplets - DDU, DUU, DUD, UDU, etc.

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DavidKOS For This Useful Post:


  23. #13

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    David,

    good stuff. still working on straight alternating... DDU/DUU etc are on a list for me to work on... a very long list.

    :-)

    carl

  24. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Carl23 For This Useful Post:


  25. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Kernersville, NC
    Posts
    2,469
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    After trying to grasp the fine hairs of tremolo I decided it's best left to feel and try not to over think the technical bits. It's like rhythm to me - I'm probably better off letting it happen. I like reading about it tho

  26. The following members say thank you to Mark Wilson for this post:


  27. #15

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Thanks to all who participated in this discussion about tremolo, especially thanks to David, who recommended some method books, which devote a chapter or two to the explanation of tremolo and in which tremolo is the basic mandolin technique.
    But neither Calace nor de Cristofaro give a hint on how to approach the tremolo rhythmically. There's a method book by Charles de Sifry, where there are some examples of rhythmic subdivisions of a note played tremolo.(Sextuplets or sixteenth notes).
    Anyway, for today's tremolo practise tune, I chose the beautiful Romanian waltz Valurile Dunării (Waves of the Danube) by Ion Ivanovici. I play the quarter notes non-tremolo and I tremolo only the notes that have 2 or more beats. The tempo is quite fast, so sixteenth notes give a reasonable tremolo effect.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Waves_of_the_Danube.pdf 
Views:	7 
Size:	26.9 KB 
ID:	173130

  28. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to crisscross For This Useful Post:


  29. #16
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Tremolo Tuesdays-Let's work on our tremability!

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    But neither Calace nor de Cristofaro give a hint on how to approach the tremolo rhythmically. There's a method book by Charles de Sifry, where there are some examples of rhythmic subdivisions of a note played tremolo.(Sextuplets or sixteenth notes).
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Waves_of_the_Danube.pdf 
Views:	7 
Size:	26.9 KB 
ID:	173130
    That's the rub - the most typical way ( as per my not-quite-scientific study) is to use a measured tremolo as a means to an end - control over measure and unmeasured tremolo.

    Now, to me, less as a mandolinist than a composer/arranger, a measured tremolo is just a way of writing 16th notes , 16th triplets, 32nds, etc.

    In many musical situations, this is the desired result.

    However, it may be that the use of a fast measured tremolo is a means to an end - the ability to produce a measured tremolo (on a single note), rapid scalar * or other sort of melodic passages, and ultimately to unmeasured tremolo.

    So as I see it it is a combination of measured and unmeasured tremolo that makes for mastery of this technical issue. I ain't there yet! I just heard some of the best tremolo players at the CMSA convention.

    * if you can play a measured tremolo evenly on a single pitch, the next step is to play the tremolo on moving pitches, left and right hand co-ordination!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •