Why a new Approach?
First of all fretless is not actually new. If anything, it is quite old. But it has little in common with current, published methods. Since the middle of the Eighteenth Century, there have been two approaches to string playing, professional and amateur. Conservatories such as the Curtis Institute and the Manhattan School of Music will always offer a professional approach – an approach that preserves options. Options such as playing jazz or classical, reading at sight, performing with or without a score. Based on singing and emphasizing key instead of positions, fretless presents a means of preserving options. Options such as playing jazz or classical, reading at sight, performing with or without a score.
Why de-emphasize Positions?
Using musical as opposed to mechanical systems, systems such as key and mode, will always be the ultimate goal. This means that, eventually, we must over-ride the Position approach. Its use, to decode music, comes dangerously close to playing by numbers instead of by sound. With fretless, moving the left hand along the length of the fingerboard is integral to learning to support the violin or viola.
Audiation – musical imaging as well as imagining – requires first being able both to sing in tune and to move rhythmically. Without audiation children – and adults – find making sense of music difficult. Now, drawing on the research of Edwin Gordon, GIA has developed materials that offer a professional track, musical foundation. Combining these materials with the Rolland technical materials has produced fretless.
fretless develops secure tonal and rhythmic vocabularies, essential elements for transposition and improvisation. Musical literacy – reading and understanding notation – follows naturally, rooted in a secure, organic, foundation.