THE FEYS-NIEDT TREMOLO TECHNIQUE
In the process of mastering the PAMI-tremolo the (autodidactic) amateur encounters a major obstacle when attempting to control the a-finger, in terms of
consistency qua rythm, volume and timbre. Indeed, one frequently sees even masters of the classical guitar avoid (traditional use of) the ring finger in a multitude of situations.
These difficulties can be partially circumvented by using PIMI (exclusively) or PMIM (exclusively), which seem to allow a much better control volume and timbre. However, in each approach ONE finger will have to handle 50% of the workload per cycle. Also, after each cycle this overworked finger that has to jump into action immediately in the next cycle, must have returned to its rest position.
Applying criteria of equal distribution of work and optimal use of the rest-position to all possible tremolo patterns and proceeding by elimination, we finally obtain two unique patterns that satisfy the required conditions, i.e. (PIMIPMIM) and (PMIMPIMI) ( these patterns constitute the Feys-Niedt tremolo technique).
Are these patterns, resulting from studying Douglas Niedt’s excellent “ How to master the tremolo”, the final solution to any tremolo-problem? Caveat emptor. The student will have to decide whether these two permutations are equivalent and ,of course, whether a purely logical result is corroborated by practical experience. When discussing these patterns, Douglas Niedt insisted that it should be mentioned that “regardless of what pattern is used, some people will not be able to play the patterns fast enough (144+) to sound like a tremolo. For them, pami is still the solution” and that “both pmim (Ana Vidovic uses it) and pimi (Douglas Niedt uses it) are also still viable solutions for some people”.
For the sake of completeness, I should mention that these patterns are not
discussed in standard tremolo-literature such as William Foden’s “ Grand guitar method” (1920, 1921), Vladimir Bobri’s “ Complete study of tremolo for classic guitar “ (1972) or Ioannis Anastassakis’ “ The art of tremolo” (2008).
Also, according to Chiesa and Gilardino, Segovia used PIMI. However, guitar virtuoso Jim Greeninger, himself a Segovia student, wrote me that “In all my studies with Segovia I never saw any evidence of such a technique. I believe his tremolo was pami as with most of the rest of us.” Should someone find a video of Segovia playing tremolo, please keep me posted.
Good luck with the Feys-Niedt tremolo technique.