New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

The Nose Technique
When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where Needing to play a chord “on” the 14th position was generated.

The technique represented here should not be mistaken with a previously published personal video of a group of guitar masters, where David Russell with a few others of his friends played different effects on the guitar; which in a part of that video, plays a harmonic note with nose for fun. Also another place the author has seen something similar to this technique is the book “Questions and Answers about the Classic Guitar”, where the author of this book Sharon Isbin, mentions a play of a famous classical guitar player, as follows: “in recording one piece, in order to stop the sound of the 6th string, the nose was used …” (which stopping the sound of the string is something different from playing a harmonic note).

All the aforementioned was to remind that the “Nose Technique” is a complementary technique for the “Lip Technique” and not by any means an act of jocosity. The author has developed these two complementary techniques as a procedure to play a complete melody line independent of the fingers of the left hand, and not only for playing a single note on a string while playing a piece (however, the author has not found any method in world, similar to the “Lip Technique” introduced in this manuscript).

“Consider a musician of classical guitar, playing a part of a harmony in a piece with the left hand and simultaneously the lip and nose are situated at different positions and even opposite to the movement of the left hand, playing another part of the harmony and the melody line in the piece. This technique introduces a new method in classical guitar and even other styles of guitar.”

With no doubt, as same as the “Lip Technique”, exercise is also necessary for the “Nose Technique” as well. Exercises such as playing harmonics on a string, along the length of the fingerboard, and playing wide-apart harmonics, such as: the 3rd and 12th positions on the three bass strings could improve capabilities of the musician.

Significant points about applying the Nose Technique:
1- Taking care about making sudden moves with the neck, as same as the Lip Technique.
2- Being careful when the face gets very close to the fingerboard of the guitar, the eye sight may become limited or blocked, therefore control on the fingers of the left hand would be a priority; because in opposite movements of the left hand in compare to the lip and nose, it would not be possible to observe and control the fingering on the left hand fingers.
3- Finally, a point when using this technique is the possibility of an itching since of the nose. For restricting such an event, it is suggested to clean the strings with a little moistened cloth, besides not having an oily skin surface of the nose while applying this technique.

Advantages and Restrictions of the “Lip” and “Nose” techniques

1- The significant advantage of these techniques is making it possible to play harmonies and intervals which till now had to be eliminated or replaced with other notes, in order to be playable with the classical guitar, because of their wide-apart intervals, which could be only for playing a single note or creating a complete melody-line independent of the left hand fingers.
2- The first restriction of these techniques is anatomic differences in the size and form of the lip and nose of each person, which influence of this parameter on applying these techniques needs independent research, based on experience of different musicians applying these techniques (possibly to be the subject of a separate manuscript).
3- Another restriction is not being able to apply the Lip Technique beyond the 12th position; because the fingerboard is situated on the sound board or top of the guitar and therefore it would not be possible to get notes with the Lip for such positions. This failure was understood by the author while arranging “Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582” by Johann Sebastian Bach, on the classical guitar, while trying to preserve the original tonality. Which in order to overcome this restriction a subsidiary technique, named by the author as the “Chin Technique” is developed.
The Chin Technique is applied for situations such as needing to play a note with the Lip on the 6th string and 14th position of the guitar, which the only possible way the author could apply, was using the graphic sign ()or the “Chin Technique” for playing this note. Although the “Chin Technique” could be considered a technique independent from the Lip technique, the author has considered it a subsidiary of the Lip technique. In the Chin Technique the required note is taken applying the left corner of the chin and the stroke of the right hand fingers (picture No.3). The author suggests this technique for positions beyond the 12th position, because except such positions it is much more practical to apply the Lip Technique.

(picture No.3)

4- The last restriction is when needed to play a chord on the 2nd position and simultaneously a note on the 14th position of the 1st string. In such situation none of the aforementioned techniques could be applied, unless playing a sound similar to the harmonic of that note on another string. If that would not be possible either, then like playing an electric guitar, with the “i” finger (of the right hand) we get the note on the 1st string and with fingers “a” or “x” could play that note (picture No.4).

As the closure of this manuscript, in the following video, the author has played an arrangement of Audio File“Playing Love” aforementioned within the text, in order to illustrate application of the aforementioned techniques (Lip and Nose Techniques), and capabilities they give the classical guitar to preserve the original tonality of the piece.

(picture No.4)
I hereby appreciate all friends of mine and masters who assisted my work. I present my gratitude to my dear cousin Dr. Farzad Mahdavi, who is such as a brother to me, for his valuable guidance and assistance in all stages of preparing this manuscript. I respect my dear professor Dr. Loris Hovian for all his kind support in reviewing the pieces and finally Mr. Sajad Pourghanad the director the Harmony-Talk website.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar in youtube


1- Bosman, L. 1998. Harmony for Guitar (Guitar Magazine Project). Music Sales America. New York.
2- Sharon, I. 1999. Classical Guitar Answer Book. Hal Leonard Corporation. Milwaukee, USA.
3. Dyens, Roland. 1994. Libra Sonatine. Henry Lemoine. Paris.
4. Villa-Lobos, Heitor. 1992. Dyens, Roland (Adaptation pour Guitar Solo). Aria de La Bachianas Brasileiras No.5. Henry Lemoine. Paris.
5. Ramirez, Ariel. © 2006. Dyens, Roland (Arranged for guitar solo). Alfonsina y el mar (1921). Les Productions d’OZ (DZ.DZ-980). Québec.
6. Mussorgsky, Modest Petrovich. 1981. Yamashita, Kazuhito (Arranged for Guitar). Pictures at an Exhibition, (1874). Gendai Guitar Magazine. Tokyo.
7. Dvorak, Antonin. 1986. Yamashita, Kazuhito(Arranged for Guitar). From the New world (Symphony No.9 in E-Minor Op.95). Gendai Guitar Magazine. Tokyo.
8. Moussorgsky, Modest. © 1950. Bauer, Harlod (Transcribed for the piano). Pictures at an Exhibition. G. Schirmer. New York.
9. [May 28, 2015]
10. [May 28, 2015]
11. Lee, Chen-Tien. 1993. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition: An analytical and performance study (D.M.A. Document). The Ohio State University.
12. [May 28, 2015]
13. [May 28, 2015]
14. [May 28, 2015]
15. Morricone, Ennio. 1999. Playing Love (The Legend of 1900, original motion picture soundtrack). Sony Classical.
16. [May 28, 2015]
17. [May 28, 2015]
18. [May 28, 2015]
19. [May 28, 2015]
20. [May 28, 2015]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
Your email is never shared.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.

From Past Days…

Ennio Morricone’s music for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight

After watching Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, everyone was excited by its novel music besides the beautiful scenes of blood and guts.
The Hateful Eight is the first collaboration between the world-famous film music composer, Ennio Morricone, and Quentin Tarantino as a famous director.

Payam Taghadossi: Talented Iranian-Austrian Cellist

Payam Taghadossi (born in 1989) started his musical education at the age of 4 years with Monika Scherbaum in Bregenz (Austria). At the Conservatory Feldkirch he joined the class of Imke Frank and Martin Merker. Later he studied in Zurich (Switzerland) with Thomas Grossenbacher and Christian Proske, where he 2011 graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. Two years later as the student of Rafael Rosenfeld he received his Master of Arts in Music Performance diploma and later graduated as a Master of Arts in spezialized Music Performance in 2016 from the Hochschule für Musik Basel FHNW.

From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (I)

Music as an art has its own special history; emergence of a singer, of an instrumentalist and then the emergence of the strong character of a composer covers three significant phases of the art of music. With the emergence of composer which was simultaneous with the emergence of the language of music, this art managed to offer a domain for criticism for its composer; a procedure which led to a magnificent variety and evolution in musical production. Even though the conflicts between singers and instrumentalists have not met their end in the Iranian society and while singers can achieve high, instrumentalists have yet to play behind curtains . In a special era, with the efforts of musicians such as Ali Naghi Vaziri (1887-1979) and Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965), glimmers of a composing era started to glow bearing fruit in Khaleghi’s achievement as Iran’s first professional composer. Khaleghi made his reputation as a composer while Vaziri deserved to pioneer this path. By then Vaziri was well-known as a Tar player.

Principles of Violin Playing (IX)

4.3.1. To practice playing of doubles of notes involving two different fingers, each note is played at separate bows with slow tempo, each note is played perfectly regarding its bass and tenor sounds and then the considered double is played at another bow while considering the resulted sound of the double.

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra is an Iranian percussion orchestra featuring 40 lady percussionists. The Orchestra was established as Iran’s largest all-female percussion orchestra in 2008 by Ms. Minoo Rezaei under the title Naerika Percussion Orchestra and changed its name to Avaye Naerika in 2017.

HarmonyTalk Celebrates 11th Anniversary

April 6 marks the anniversary of launching Back in 2004, HarmonyTalk was rather a blog dedicated to music. Gradually, however, it found its way to becoming a more sophisticated journal with an intensive but not exclusive concentration on classical music.

“Guitar Memories” Released

The album “Guitar Memories” consists of the performance of baroque to recent era masterpieces, by Mehrdad Mahdavi, and is published by Tanin-e Honar Publication.

In this album there are pieces composed and arranged by artists such as: Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Johann Anton Logy, Fernando Sor, Yuquijiro Yocoh, Leo Brouwer.

From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (II)

Rouhollah Khaleghi was the master of composing beautiful melodies. He was the premier of the course of history which was first established by Ali Naghi Vaziri and which improved the Iranian music from simply a gathering music to the classical music of the country. First efforts to compose independent and instrumental music can be also traced in Khaleghi’s works.

Principles of Violin Playing (II)

Since for playing violin, it’s necessary that the player’s palms and fingers be inclined toward the fingerboard, therefore, the player, while bringing up his hand, should turn it toward the fingerboard.

Principles of Violin Playing (X)

Creating sound continuity between two notes in the source and destination positions when left hand position changes and “two different finger numbers” are involved is called portamento. Portamento can be performed on single string or two neighboring strings and with hand moving on fingerboard either upward or downward.