Thanks Michael - my copy arrived today - excellent service
And now... I'd better get down to some serious practice. I have a feeling this book could keep me busy for <i>many</i> years to come.
Any recommendations as to tracks to start with? The beginner's ones I guess!!
Per ardua ad astra and all that!
I personally started with J'attendrai and Echoes of Spain.
thanks for the replies and tips. I've had a go at etude #1 which is (sort of) coming on...
I'm giving all the tunes a good listening as the only one I really know is Improvisation #2, which might be a bit ambitious...
Do you think it is worth practicing the pieces in both styles?
While practicing or trying to figure out how Django would finger something with only two fingers may be interesting and fun from a curiosity stand point, I believe that using all your fingers is the best approach.
Some of the topGJ players (I've read quotes from Bireli and Angelo Debarre) mention in tutorials that using and strengthening the pinky is key to their techniques.
The fingerings proposed by Michael in the book are pretty optimal for most people especially when tackling intricate pieces like Improvisation #1. I would stick with Michael's fingerings or find your own based on efficiency and comfort of playing but using all 4 fingers.
Here's why I think it's a good idea:
1) It leads you to some interesting views about the tuning of the instrument that will help inform your 4 fingered technique.
2) Many of the lines actually lie more comfortably with two fingers IMHO. Not all, but many.
3) You are going to obsess about the other fingers anyway. This doesn't mean you HAVE to play EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME this way- I look at it as an avenue of research, again, to lead me to ways of looking at the guitar that the standard position approaches don't.
4) Even Angelo and Bireli have been know to play some lines with two fingers- and certainly their vocabularies as players have been influenced directly by this approach- at least from what I've seen on video.
I've never heard Django play a note without commitment.
I agree with this in the general context of learning from Django recordings. However, this topic is specific to the Unaccompanied Django book which contains songs that were not written by Django (including Etude #1 which is one the pieces that Riversax is currently working on) and I don't think that playing things with two fingers is good advice for someone starting to learn the material.
I agree with that and Michael Horrowitz reflects this in his choice of fingerings: just look at measures 46 and 47 of Improvisation #1. Again, this is why I recommend sticking with Michael's proposed fingerings which take these things into account.
Again I agree with you. I have done it myself and I play some signature Django lines with two fingers also.
However, I feel that it is better for someone just learning the material from the Unaccompanied Django book to rely on Michael's expertise and proposed fingerings.
We have to be careful about recommending to new comers to play with two fingers; suggesting that they try it out and figure out their own fingerings is a better approach. But for a new comer to be able to rely on someone with Michael's experience is invaluable.
While the right hand technique is very well defined in GJ, left hand fingerings are left for the player to decide based on personal factors like comfort and efficiency and by learning from more experienced players. Michael is an experienced player and his transcriptions are very thorough.
Again, I am not trying to start a controversy here: in the context of learning the Unaccompanied Django material, I feel that relying on Michael's proposed fingerings is the way to go. Once experience builds up you can start figuring out what works best for you.
efficient as in technical ease, and also a fingering pattern that helps smoothen the transition to the next part... in a non-improv context that could mean going from one chord to another... in the context of an improv, that would mean using a fingering that makes it easy to follow through with other ideas....