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Thread: Reflections

  1. #1

    Default Reflections

    We already talked about the books, which Alison Stephens wrote for Astute Music.
    There is another book with six short pieces for the intermediate player by Barbara Pommerenke-Steel called "Reflections".

    REFLECTIONS, six pieces for solo mandolin, is a collection of short pieces which have been composed with specific musical or technical aspects in mind. This book utilizes many commonly used mandolin techniques including: legato tremolo, stroking patterns, arpeggio technique, chords and harmonics in highly attractive, accessible and rewarding pieces for the Intermediate player (approx. Grades 2-3).
    I started with "First Signs of Spring".
    If you follow this link and click "Images" you can have a look at the sheet music: http://www.astute-music.com/shop/man...int-p-104.html
    The techniques practiced in this piece seem to be position shifting with economical left-hand movements and playing a melody with either basss note or arpeggio accompaniment.


    In the introduction to the book, she explains that every downstroke should be played as a rest stroke.
    That's completely new to me and doesn't make complete sense in so far, as the melody above the chords in the second part is played entirely on the e-string, where a rest stroke is not possible,
    In another thread, Martin mentioned, that Barbara is a mandolin player of the German school.
    So my question: is the preference of the downstroke as a rest stroke typical for German players ?
    I mean. it's OK to have the rest stroke in your bag of tricks to accentuate a particular note, but every downstroke a rest-stroke...?
    At least to me, that feels a bit uncomfortable, so I played this nice piece completely in free-stroke mode.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    I'm taking lessons from Caterina Lichtenberg online, and yes she agrees that all down strokes should be "rest strokes" at a 45 degree angle... Now there are exceptions like fast passages and certain phrasings, but for the most part any time you can play with a rest stroke you should. Even the e-string you should act like you're pushing into an imaginary string. Your tone will be way better and much fuller the more you do it.

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  5. #3
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    Also I love astute music. I wish more companies would do digital downloads.

  6. #4
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    I've signed up to Caterina's course as well. I often do rest strokes on the guitar when using a plectrum/pick. So, I'm not finding it difficult to do on the mandolin. However, I had no idea that was a German approach. Is the Italian style very different?

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  8. #5
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    Basically the rest stroke is a way of ensuring the plectrum is played properly through both strings evenly. It avoids you pulling your punches. It also really helps with making sure the full time is allocated to each note (even in faster passages it can help a lot) which can be a problem on our instrument with little sustain. Calace, Munier and Bickford all advocate it so I'm not sure it's a German school thing, just they are really sorted as teachers.

    (My piece of wet string internet can't do YT to have a listen here yet CC but look forward to catching it next week)
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  10. #6
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    Rob I've seen you on the site . She's been wonderful. I encourage anyone who wants to learn classical to give her artistworks site a chance.

  11. #7

    Default Re: Reflections

    Calace, Munier and Bickford all advocate it so I'm not sure it's a German school thing, just they are really sorted as teachers.
    Just had a look at the only classical mandolin method book I own by Marylin Mayr and she also advocates the downstroke as rest stroke.
    So my assumption that this is a typical German thing was wrong.
    To me, the free stroke just seems to come more naturally, and maybe I thought only those weird Germans are capable of breaking such a natural habit by force...

  12. #8
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    crisscross - I've only now been in a position to listen to your video - very nice performance! Well done.

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  14. #9
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reflections

    The thing to remember is that it really is a mental image thing once you get past the initial practice/ reinforcement stage (important to do or you won't really embed the voice)
    You get it locked in, then it just becomes another sound you make.
    Even when playing quietly it gives a solid clear note sounding purposeful and self contained.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  16. #10

    Default Re: Reflections

    I finally found the time to practice the rest stroke and rerecord First Signs of Spring using it. The result seems to be a fuller, more mellow tone, as Classicalcomp pointed out even on the high e-string, where the pick comes to rest on emptiness:

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