The Website of Harry George Pellegrin -- .Author, Musician, Recording Artist, Pedagogue

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Time for Planting

(Planting Part Two)

Guitar Technique Sessions... Your Weekly Strength, Stamina and Dexterity Exercise

Week Number Forty Two July 28, 2005

Yeah, I know. We're half way to harvest-- what should we be planting???

The fingers of the left hand, that's what!

I spend quite a bit of time with newer players -- it's an occupational hazard of teaching music., after all. And, if you have been reading along with these technique session pages for any amount of time you also know that beginning players (and beginning music readers) will often come up with interesting hand positions, fingerings and all manner of technique concepts that would be amusing if they telling me that 'this is the only way' they can play the piece to MY satisfaction!

Some of my students are quite adept at reading and expend more energy and motion to perform music than they need to. Even if they execute the printed page to perfection, they are wasting valuable time and energy to do it. One of the most famous examples of this for me is a failure to plant the left hand.

What does this mean exactly? Planting means almost exactly what it sounds like. If you have a melody that captures say, all the notes in a C major chord (and we'll look at an example in a moment) then the left hand should be placed in that C major chord on the fingerboard and NOT MOVED until all the notes have been played and it is time to move on. Okay, a picture is worth a thousand words so let me show you an extract from a much longer exercise "Planting Time" as found in my Guitar Method.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new readers look at this piece and invariably play each note as an individual sovereign entity. The good ones will maybe plant half measures through instinct rather than conscious thought. Look at measure three. That is an E major chord, no doubt. The Newbee will let go of the G# before plucking the open B. The first finger usually swings around to catch the B half note in the bass.

 

So starting in measure one, the student should grab that familiar opne position a minor chord and hold it until measure three, which, as stated above, is performed by simply shifting the entire a minor chord down one string to make the ever-popular E major open position chord. The doesn't change shape, just position -- by a quarter inch! Talk about economy of motion. Measure four, five and six returns the fingers one quarter inch south to perform the entire shebang with the a minor open position grouping again. Simple, but students I have continue to lift the fingers and reposition them throughout those three measures.

 

Measure eight into measure nine is the only 'tricky' spot. Three beats planted, one beat to a G major chord, then plant an open position C major chord. I'm sure you get the idea. This is a good lesson for newer students and I encourage you to use this little snippet of my exercise to get them to look at music to see wear they can park that left hand and when it absolutely necessary to undertake some brilliant technical stretched and runs.

 

 

What's New? The Two New Albums!

 

 

 

 

Hey, the new albums are out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's and its sequel as well.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track... Reflecting Pools is an ethereal journey into the realm of relaxation. In That Zone is a more classically structured exploration of mood and personality.

Available through www.BATHTUBMUSIC.com...

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or www.bathtubmusic.com.

 

LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at Amazon.com for what seemed like a century, it is my understanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website stocks new coipies of LOW END in an on again/off again mode.

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions:Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exercizes to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting piece from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!

 

 

 

My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimey as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin

 

As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit www.makeNYNYagain.com and rebuild America!

 

 

About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definitely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and everyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps. Of course this was during the same period of time that Son of Sam was using Untermyer and Pine Street in Yonkers for his own uses... And we didn't know!!!

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.

Thanks!

 

 

 

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