Week 1: Let there be Music! 🎶

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of "The Transcriptions" practice challenge! 


  1. Pick a transcription that was originally composed for another instrument, like piano or violin. Don't be afraid to choose a challenging piece or explore works from composers you haven't played before. 

  2. Commit to practicing daily and share your progress with the community. Aim to practice every day and post at least two videos per week showcasing your progress. This will help you stay motivated and accountable, and also allow you to share your transcription journey with others. Whether you're tackling a complex piece, refining your skills with a piece you already play, or experimenting with new playing techniques, the community is here to support you and celebrate your achievements.

  3. Share your favorite piece that you would like to see transcribed or your favorite recording of a transcription. This will not only inspire others in the community but also provide a rich resource of ideas for everyone to explore. Plus, it's a great way to celebrate the creativity and artistry involved in adapting music from one instrument to another.

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • Debussy - La fille aux cheveux de lin (Apr 12)

    This is a piece I first remember hearing long ago from Christopher Parkening's Parkening and the Guitar album. More recently, I have heard it performed by several guitarists on YT, with my favorite (perhaps) by Steve Cowan. It's a beautiful piece, written for piano, but it seems to adapt well to the guitar. As part of my work with the piece, I'd like to listen to some piano performances of it. I am very unfamiliar with the world of piano - does anyone know of a great piano performance I should listen to?

    Here is my initial recording of it, after practicing it for maybe an hour yesterday. I am using a transcription by someone named S. Lilley (attached) as my starting point. The attached score looks strange because I removed all of the tablature, as I don't want to use all the fingering, and I also wanted a smaller score (fewer pages).

    Here are some areas I need to work on:

    • measures 8-9: I added the harmonics, more for ease of fingering than anything else. These measures I see being played in very different ways by different guitarists. I like the fingering I used here, but I'm not locked into it. Either way, it needs to be played more fluently.
    • measures 14-15: This needs to be more legato and quick. The tricky part is trying to get the melody to sustain, but some compromise seems inevitable to me. Again, I'm not locked into the fingering I am using here.
    • measure 20: I like the campanella fingering of the melody here, but I need to execute it better.
    • measures 24-27: These chords are really difficult to play lightly and flowingly. More practice is clearly needed. Does anybody have any tips for playing this type of texture?

    There are many more things, but I'll stick with that for now. 🙂

      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips The Debussy is sounding so good already.  Bravo!!  It's amazing how you learn it so quickly.  I look forward to your next submission.  Thanks!

      Like 1
    • You have great tone and amazing sight reading skills! Great start for the piece as always. Bravo Eric!

      Like 1
    • Barney Thanks, Barney. I just hope I am able to bring it to the next level.

      Like
    • Khiem Nguyen Thanks, Khiem! Good to hear from you again. I hope we get to hear you play. 😀

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips thank you for that, it really motivates me to come back after a long while. I hope to be actively joining you guys in the recording of this challenge :D 

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips what a great start of this new (revisited?) challenge! Can’t wait to hear more of this, Eric. It’s a beautiful piece and very suitable for the guitar, I think. You have already admirably good control of those not so easy shifts. You manage to keep a smooth legato most of the time. Your tone, phrasing and timing are convincing. Some more colouring may help telling the story and add intensity. 

      Like 1
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I know you will!

      Like 1
    • joosje Thank you. I really appreciate the suggestions to improve it!

      Like
    • Eric Phillips Wow, Eric, this is coming along so nicely. I remember Parkening's version as well. 

      I was looking at m14-15 since I enjoy working on little problems like that and came up with how I'd approach it. Just an idea.

      And again, great work on this.

      Like 1
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Wow, I wish I could do that after an hour! It already sounds amazing. I look forward to hearing how you develop it further in future submissions. Bravo Eric!

      Like 1
    • Ron Thanks, Ron. Hopefully it will develop.

      Like
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I'm not going to lie to you Eric...but...this was...amazing! 😄

      I was following along on the score you provided, and got a little lost before I noticed you omitted measures 22-24. 😮

      I know you've mentioned in the past that doing harmonics with just the right hand while playing other notes is challenging for you. I think the end of this piece is a good place to work on that. I think the D and G octaves in mm 37-38 are doable. At least, how I'm reading the score, it looks like you would play an open D string while fingering 3rd fret, second string and playing the harmonic at the 15th fret, and then in m 38 playing the open G string, fingering the G at the third fret, first string and also playing the harmonic at the 15th fret. That just leaves m 39 - harmonics for both the G and the B. I can't honestly think of any way to do that other than playing the G and B strings open and playing the harmonics at the 12 fret. 

      I did a quick search, and this was the first piano piece that came up. I listened, and it was remarkable: 

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson Thanks Steve for your careful listening. I don’t really see how I’ve omitted measures 22-24. When I listen, I hear them in my recording.

      Regarding the ending, I’ve heard different guitarists play it differently, and I chose to keep it simple mainly because I like it more that way. I’m actually not a fan of ending with such a cliche dominant to tonic, and I’m considering maybe just leaving those measures off completely (I hope that’s not sacrilegious). I think the way you suggested playing it would work, but the upper harmonics would be an octave higher than notated, which might not be a bad idea. I’ll try it out the next time I have the guitar out. 

      Like 1
    • Steve Price Thanks so much, Steve. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at the fingering of that rather dense passage. I tried what you wrote a few times, but it just did not seem to work for my fingers. I found it very hard to play the chords with a mix of open strings and fretted notes. Trying to stay on those fingertips, while also negotiating a melody line, was just too difficult for me. If you can play it that way, though, that's great and I'd love to hear it. Maybe I'm just not doing it right?

      Like
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I didn't mean that you omitted the measures in your performance, but in the score. I was following along, and I was like, wait a minute, he's playing something that's not written! 🤔

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson Okay. I just opened the score I attached, and I see them there. They're at the top of page 2. Not sure why they are not on yours. I did cut-and-paste that score together to eliminate the tab.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips That makes sense about the fingering. I pulled out my "Parkening and the Guitar" book that has this and Jack Marshall's arrangement has that passage fingered about the same way you play it. Also, I'm not sure if the piece just lends itself to one particular transcription, but this is exactly the same as Jack's arrangement for Christopher with the exception of two or three added or removed notes from chords and the odd extra two notes at the end that aren't in the piano score. 

      Like 1
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips got it. I opened the Word doc again, and there was a big empty space at the top of the second page. I clicked there and those measures magically appeared! 

      Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson Eric Phillips No doubt I'm 'old-school', but for my taste, Lang Lang has nothing on Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli:

       

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MswHKA4dako

       

      (Call it the wisdom of age versus the yearning of youth.)

       

      By the way, for those unfamiliar with the significance of the title, it's worth having a look at the wikipedia entry for Debussy's prelude:
       

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_fille_aux_cheveux_de_lin

      Like
      • David
      • David.39
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips thank you for a great performance and for sharing the sheet music, too. I’m inspired to try tackling the piece once I am more advanced. Debussy sounds fantastic on the guitar.

      Like
    • Barney
    • Barney
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I love this music and transcriptions by Jorge Caballero.  However, he has never published them.  When I asked Jorge, said said he never notated them (hard to believe, haha)....

    Does anyone know someone with the skill to notate these pieces form watching the videos?

    btw, he is performing them using Bream's Hauser from The Met display.

    Thanks!!

    Like 1
    • Barney Those are REALLY beautiful, Barney! I am particularly fond of Evocacion. It's nice to hear pieces by Albeniz that are not played as frequently as the standards.

      Like
    • Barney Hi Barney, Johannes Møller is known to provide such a service with a fee - listening to a piece of music or video music and returning with a sheet music. You can contact him on Facebook or using the contact in his website https://johannesmoller.com

      Like
    • Barney it is a little bit hard to believe Jorge has never notated them but that can also be possible. I have also heard stories of several good guitarists - especially who are usually good at improvising - that play elaborated music without notating them properly to sheets. Agustin Barrios was told to be such a person too - according to what I read from some articles. :)

      Like
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