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Author: Subject: Advice for Up-Down Picking between Strings (Longa Riad)
MoH
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[*] posted on 7-17-2019 at 04:13 PM
Advice for Up-Down Picking between Strings (Longa Riad)


I've been trying to learn Longa Riad for a while now (not sure if it's appropriate within the 1st year of learning, but I'm making good progress), and one of the things I'm struggling with is a downstroke on one string, followed by an upstroke on the string above it. I can do this at medium tempo in other situations, but it seems impossible in this piece.

For example, in the refrain/chorus, when you play: g g f f e e d d c c b b a, it seems you have to do a downstroke on open c string, followed by upstroke on b on the g string. Alternatively, rather than shifting down the c string, you could stay in 5th position for a while, and play e flat up on the g string, but you still need to do down on f then up on e.

Do I just need to practice more? Are there any exercises I could do to improve my up-down picking? Any advice is appreciated.
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 7-17-2019 at 06:32 PM


Well yes, this passage is very fast.

Perhaps it would help to remember that the first g note in this series of double notes is a "pickup" and played on an upstroke. I would have written the passage like this:

g gffe eddc cbba.

the last group of four suggests that the first note (which is the second c) could be played on the gg string(s). downupdownup on one string. But I'd still play it on the open cc.

Down on a string followed by up on a string that is above it in altitude (g is below c in pitch) at high speed is not so very hard to do. It might require a slight change of wrist angle. It may require a change in how one thinks about what is happening. But it's a basic move on most string instruments. Keep your grip on the risha loose. Keep your wrist loose with nothing locked.

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MoH
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[*] posted on 7-17-2019 at 07:31 PM


Ah, I never even thought to split the two c's between strings. It seems that's how Tareq al Jundi does it here, even though I never noticed it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G10hywpdsGo

That does seem to make things a bit easier, but I guess this is just sort of a crutch for now. I appreciate your saying that it's not that hard, and I'm motivated to practice more now.
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Jody Stecher
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[*] posted on 7-17-2019 at 09:52 PM


You are right, that's how he's playing it. I slowed it down to quarter speed where it's easier to follow his fingers. But why would this be a "crutch"? It's a technique. Totally legitimate. Why would it be a technique for Tareq al Jundi but a crutch for you? At that speed there is not much perceptible difference in sound between 2 c-s on on one string and 2 c-s each on a different string. The reason I said I would play both C-s on the first string is simply because I have no trouble with an upstroke on the string above the string I've been playing following a downstroke on that earlier string. Not because it's more "correct" to do it that way.
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MoH
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[*] posted on 7-18-2019 at 08:08 AM


Oh, I wasn't saying it was a crutch in general, but rather that if I want to improve as an oud player, I will need to eventually get comfortable with a down on one string followed by up on a string above it.
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danieletarab
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[*] posted on 9-24-2019 at 05:06 PM


Dear Moh, the problem you mention is one of the main issues of right hand tecnique on the oud! My advice is.. attack it!! :)
make some exercises to work it out; it will be useful for any other thing, also for taksim. The simplest exercise you can do is to play down stroke on cc string and upstroke on gg string. It's a very useful right hand exercise.
I had your same problem (and I still do when melody go very fast) and Adel Salameh ( rest in peace!!) gave me this exercise and many others to face it.
Another simple thing you can do is to play slowly the passage that gives you trouble, just that bar; that will be your exercise.
Of course you can find easier positions to play this specifical bar, but you will get this problem in all the longas you're going to learn! So, it's better to work on the issue now :)
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