Being able to listen to the sounds we make whilst playing the guitar is paramount - this is one of the most overlooked skills and one of the most difficult to develop, but essential to good playing.
“Good playing?" What’s that? In this case it is also recognising, locating and emphasising the melody in a piece of music. It’s a good idea to think of the guitar as a string trio fulfilling the roles of cello, viola and violin, with the violin playing the melody on top. If we don’t, it all becomes a bit muddy. Locating the bass is really straightforward, separating the melody from the harmony can be more of a challenge, but easily done when we are more familiar with the music. If we sing along too it really helps emphasise the melody line.
That’s the ideal, but physically and technically making the melody stand out is not easy. I created this simple exercise to focus the power of the RH fingers, four playing softly and one pulling harder - it’s great to encourage finger independence of the right hand - listening to the sounds our fingers produce is essential though, making sure the melody is coming through strongly.
This doesn’t take into account, though, the role of the rest stroke in giving more weight and body to a note and very useful it is when playing the melody… I’ll look at that in the next video.