GUEST COLUMNIST:

CHARLES BROWN

Classical Guitar: The Rest Stroke


Greetings! I'd like to spend a few minutes and share a little bit of info on Classical Guitar.

What I'd like to talk about is a classical technique called the Rest Stroke, which I use throughout the "Sarabande from violin Partita #1 in Bm" by Johann Sebastian Bach. This piece can be found on my CD "MYSTICS", which is available through Fossil Records: http://www.fossilrecords.net. It can also be heard at my MP3 website: http://www.mp3.com/charlesbrown-ASCAP.

The Sarabande is one of the movements from the Baroque era "Suite", and was a stately dance movement that is played in time. The reason the rest stroke is an important technique, is because it helps to bring out the melody line which is so prominent in slower movements like a Sarabande or Adagio.

The Rest Stroke is a right hand fingering technique in which the string is played with a combination of nail and flesh; and then the finger rests against the adjoining lower string after playing the note. This technique allows for better leverage and control when playing single note passages, and produces a richer, fuller tone, which helps to accentuate the melody line. The following example is a simple rest stroke exercise based on a C chord. It's an excerpt from a study by Francisco Tarrega, who was one of the most important composers for the Classical Guitar. Play the exercise slow at first and make sure every note sounds smooth and clear.



The next example is an actual excerpt of the Bach Sarabande from my CD. It's a beautiful piece with a strong melody. Since this piece was originally written for violin, it's useful to try to listen to a recording by the original instrument to hear how the notes are phrased. There is also a beautiful version of this piece by the great guitar maestro, Andres Segovia.


Classical guitar is a whole world of beautiful music that can bring a lifetime of enjoyment. Also, the technique gained through learning Classical guitar carries over into becoming an overall more proficient player in Rock, Metal, Jazz, and other guitar styles.

For more great Classical guitar inspiration, check out the playing of other great Classical players such as Christopher Parkening, Sharon Isbin, Julian Bream, Liona Boyd, and Manuel Barrueco. Enjoy, and Practice Hard!