Carlevaro - Technique
This discussion thread is dedicated to Carlevaro's technical aspect of his work.
How to Get Started
Maestro Carlevaro introduced his technical ideas to his students by using the technical Cuadernos accompanied by the School of Guitar book.
- School of Guitar: Exposition of Instrumental Theory
- Didactic Serie for Guitar, Cuaderno #1 - Diatonic Scales
- Didactic Serie for Guitar, Cuaderno #2 - Right Hand Technique
- Didactic Serie for Guitar, Cuaderno #3 - Left Hand Technique
- Didactic Serie for Guitar, Cuaderno #4 - Left Hand Technique (Conclusion)
For years, every time I've done exercises like Giuliani's 120 right-hand exercises, I've always had left-hand pain in my thumb joint from the counter pressure of holding the chords for so long. After watching Alfredo Escande's lessons and working on the lessons I actually laughed since I realized I'd been doing it to myself for no reason. For the last few days, I've been playing some of the first forms from Cuaderno 2 without my thumb even touching the guitar just to reinforce the body and left arm position. This is really helpful, especially considering I have some wear on my hands and need to be a little more cautious.
I wondered what Carlevaro thought about planting the right thumb on the strings while playing only with the fingers. I might have missed it but I didn't see anything on the topic in the right-hand chapter.
Tips of the Week - As I mentioned in my previous "Tip of the Week" post, focusing on the first set of arpeggios exercises using toque 1 (free stroke) in Cuaderno 2, is a good way to start delving into Carlevaro's school of technique. And, while the focus is primarily on creating flexibility and dexterity of fingers i, m, a, it is also a good series of exercises for the RH thumb. My tip this week is that when focusing on Carlevaro's thumb stroke, pay close attention to where the power of the thumb comes from. As Carlevaro says in the School of Guitar, "The thumb must not function by flexing one or both its joints. Instead, the movement should originate at its base and through fijacion (fixation) make use of the muscular aggregate (Muscular Aggregate, a concept which refers to the use of the totality of its muscles)." (Carlevaro, pg 30).
Barney Blaise Laflamme Moyses Lopes Since, Blaise, Moyes and I have all had experience studying with the Maestro directly or one of his students, I thought we could give some advice to Barney as he begins to explore Carlevaro's School of Guitar. As you are doing Barney, starting with the School of Guitar book is a great first step and will provide some theoretical as well as practical guidance to your journey. Also, be sure to check out the Alfredo Escande Tonebase workshops and Carlevaro's Masterclass Youtube video. They can help you as well as you try to understand some of Carlevaro's terminology and concepts. Regarding the RH approach, I would focus initially on what Carlevaro's calls Toque 1 (free stroke) and applying that to the first set of exercises in Cuaderno No 2. As Carlevaro states in the School of Guitar, "it is preferable to begin by playing the formulae with toque No. 1 (libre)." Regarding the LH, Cuaderno No. 3, which focuses on "translations" or shifting, he states, "it is important to realize that all the work involves the development of what has been referred to as total translations, which must be performed by working the entire arm-hand complex." He demonstrates this in the Masterclass video. Also, regarding studying his school of technique on one's own, of course, having guidance is important, but Carlevaro also puts much stock in being both student and teacher simultaneously and finding one's own path forward. Hopefully his wisdom and insight through his teachings and writings will help guide us all on our journeys.