WEEK ONE Updates: Main Thread - Awakening Tárrega's Spirit

Hello and welcome to the WEEK ONE Main Thread for this challenge! 😍


Alright my friends - this is the thread where we'll all be posting our daily updates.

Make sure you've read the rules before replying (<- click)

 

Twice a week between Mai 31st and June 21st, I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!


Download the music here! (← click)


Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):

 

  • One thing you found easy:
  • One thing you found difficult:
  • (Optional): a video of you performing it!
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  • Hi Martin.

    This will be a super interesting challenge 🙂 Looking very much forward to it.

    I've chosen Marieta (Mazurka in A Minor). Just love it!

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      Philip A good choice, very moody and dramatic!

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  • Hi Martin,

    this challenge came at the right time. I was watching the lesson on Prelude no 1 and immediately love it. I was thinking to learn this some point in the future (like so many other pieces but ended up not doing anything about it). This is a timely push to learn it now. 

     

    Gonna start on this today.

    Working on: Prelude 1

    Easy: Music not complicated to read, the rhythm seems not overly complicated

    Hard: I'm sure there will be tons of difficult parts once I get into it. 

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      don 

      Day 1: On Prelude 1

      Kinda memorized most of the music. Decided on fingerings but might change it later. 

      Easy: There is nothing easy about this. :-)

      Hard:  A lot of finger displacement to achieve legato.

      Gonna practice really really really slowly like 10% of what Andrea played on the lesson to drill in muscle memory .

      Will post a video when I have the time. 

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      don Awesome, I am looking forward to your submission! It's a beautiful piece and in my opinion somewhat clearer and cleaner than his other works, the Préludes tend to have in general a more Schubert-like quality! Maybe I'll try this piece as well! 

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      • don
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      Martin 

      Thanks for organizing this! Otherwise this will fall into something that I wanted to learn but never gotten round to learning it pile.

       

      Here's my first day take. After decided on the fingering, Im trying to play as slow as possible to:

      1. Burn in muscle memory

      2. Keep as many fingers on the note as long as possible - almost like spider exercise - to achieve legato.

       

      I'll speed up once my fingers are used to it. 

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p85Qn1VFc0Q

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    • don thanks for sharing that video. Keep at it and you will be playing the piece in tempo. 

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      Philip  thanks for the encouragement. I'm starting to get the flow of it now, hopefully able to play this soon :-)

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      After 2 days of playing. I finally memorized all the positions required. 

      Fingers constantly shifting makes the piece really challenging for me. Sounding too choppy at the moment. Hopefully with more practice it can sound more legato. 

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    • don Nicely done, Don! That is a real exercise in shifting, isn't it? I think you're managing the shifts well, though.

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      Eric Phillips  thanks! It feels like one of those exercises from pumping nylon but with a much much beautiful melody. 

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      don wonderful development! Great to hear progress with this wonderful piece!!

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    • don Well done Don! Great progress.

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      Ron Martin thanks! I think just need a couple more days to get to a reasonable level - babies wont cry and dogs wont' bark at my music..:-)

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      • don
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      day 6 update

      Progress has been really slow. Hopefully get this down in tempo before end of event.  

      Tend to speed up during parts that I'm familiar and slow down on those that I'm not. Will try practising at much slower speed.

       

      Any advice on how to practice better are welcome. 

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  • Hello Martin and everybody, I have started also by the first prelude. It is a beautiful piece, I have just watched the tonebase lesson by Andrea de Vitis and I am following his suggestion of avoiding slurs in order to preserve the right balance in volume of the appoggiaturas and the legato in the piece. Also because sometimes my slurs sound a bit too much (unpredictable) mainly when I slur into an open string. Martin I remember you played parts of it so beautifully in the slow pieces seminar. Do you do the slurs? So far I have prepared in very slow practice bars 1 to 18, I will not go any further and will practice them for a couple of days.
    Difficult maintaining the legato mainly at the chords succession 

    Easy : So far positions are not too demanding 

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    • Emma I hear you, consistent legato is hard on the guitar but makes it sound so beautiful and fluid.

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    • Emma I remember watching that video and I tried a little bit of the prelude without slurs. I thought it worked very nicely. It definitely made it easier to control the phrasing.

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      Emma Hi Emma! I actually haven't played this probably, I was playing his 5th Prelude! But I will do a 1min/10min/1hour Video for this piece, I am curious how far I can get with such a limited time! 🧙‍♂️ It really helps that the first Prelude is soooo beautiful! 🤯

      Blaise Laflamme Oh yes, legato is one of the hardest things to achieve on the guitar, basically my whole Summer Academy in Salzburg with Marco Tamayo was 2-Week-Legato-Madness 

      Eric Phillips Emma Good question about the Slur. I had one masterclass with Thomas Kirchhoff referring to David Russel and he said "Never trust a Slur". While a Slur is a technical device on the classical guitar, we should never forget that it serves a musical purpose which is to connect the line. If the Slur is actually an obstacle for that, we should reconsider!

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  • Started revising prelude no. 1 and the prelude(s?) Endecha-Oremus

    endecha is a Canción triste y de lamento, for funerals, I understand. And oremus, means praying, so they go together, but were they written as one piece? Is there a story behind? Anyway, they represent the sadness in my heart as I must leave Prague and many dear friends .....

    easy: technically not complicated and I studied the pieces before.  Long time ago, with Srdan Tosic, eminence grise of the Belgrade CG world. 

    difficult: a clean phrasing and legato, consistent fingering for Oremus, clean harmonics at the end of prelude 1

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    • joosje I'm waiting to listen to you on this as I also plan to work on Endecha-Oremus :)

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    • joosje I have heard that Oremus is actually a transcription of a piece by Schumann. I'm not sure if Tarrega meant for Endecha and Oremus to be played together, but they do certainly sound great that way!

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    • Eric Phillips I heard that, too, but does anyone know that original Schumann piece? I couldn’t find it.

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    • joosje yes I am dreading the harmonics of prelude 1...

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      joosje Oremus is based on this piece by Schumann, the Phantasietanz, Op. 124, no. 5, though the title of Tárrega's piece might indicate that we are allowed to use a slower tempo instead 🏎 So far I haven't found too much information, only that Oremus is supposedly the last piece Tárrega was working on before he died!
       

      Oremus is noted for being the last piece Tárrega wrote before his death in 1909 and was first published shortly afterwards in Madrid by Idelfonso Alier along with several other works from Tárrega's estate.

      Schumann's original piano work consists of two sections (A and B) which are both repeated giving it the form ABAB while Tárrega's transcription only includes the B section. Since Tárrega was working on the piece shortly before he died, it is possible he intended to transcribe all of it but that assumption can not be confirmed.

      The part Tárrega did transcribe shows several differences in the original, all fairly typical of what can be expected in a guitar transcription of a piano work.

      The main difference between Schumann's piano work and Tárrega's transcription is tempo indication. Schumann gave the tempo as "sehr schnell" ("very fast") while Tárrega's transcription was published with the tempo indication "lento" ("very slow"). This difference is reflected in the titles of the two versions of the composition. Without access to the original manuscript it is impossible to tell whether this re-interpretation was made by Tárrega or by the publisher.

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oremus_(T%C3%A1rrega)

       

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    • Emma I've seen them done with the right hand thumb on the node, instead of the i finger. This helps reduce the scraping noise on the bass strings.

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    • joosje joosje the original Schumann piece might be Phantasientanz, Op.124 No. 5

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  • Etude I'll be working on: Maria Gavotte. I've always enjoyed it. It's so rockin'!

    One thing I find easy: It's not complicated musically and it is very guitaristic.

    One thing I find difficult: I've always been intimidated by any piece that goes much above the 12th fret, and so I've never fully taken this one on. I'm particularly nervous about the portamento in measure 41. I'm going to give it my best try, though. 🙂

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  • Just downloaded the pdf. Will be taking a look at it tomorrow to choose a piece

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      Ron Awesome!

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    • Etude you worked on: Capricho Arabe, first page
    • One thing you found easy: No much difficulty with sight reading since I worked on it last year for a short time, still remember the scores 
    • One thing you found difficult: Sometimes molto accelerando 😀

    I am planning to work on the first page entire week, and the second next week. It is not an easy piece, but I want to finish it this time. That's why I like these challenges 🤩

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      Gokce Turkmendag Awesome! I'll intend to work a little bit on Capricho as well! Yeah, sometimes the piece requires to let loose your fingers, but sometimes the fingers are still sleepy 😵

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  • Hi Martin and everyone! I’m also really excited about this challenge. The two Tarrega pieces I already have in my repertoire are Lagrima and Adelita. I have always wanted to learn the Gran Vals and Capricho Arabe so this is a great opportunity to pick one and see it through. I’ve never tried either. And since we just finished the Virtuosity Challenge, why not?
    Hmm 🤔 eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

    Capricho Arabe! I will start on it tomorrow! 😀

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    • Debbie good choice! 😉👍

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      Debbie Wonderful, I look forward to your updates on that piece!

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    • Gokce Turkmendag I see we are both working on it Gokce. We can compare notes!

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    • Debbie yes, that's why I am happy about your choice. Gran Vals was my second option by the way. Don't miss Tariq Harb's course on Tonebase. Looking forward to your submissions!  

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      • don
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      Debbie great choice. there is this wonderful lesson by Ali Arrango on tonebase for Gran Vals and there is also one in Mircea's virtual masterclass. (think is the first one). 

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  • Hi Martin. This should be a great challenge. I have an ongoing challenge of my own but I can work on the Tarrega pieces alongside this. I've just actually been working on Prelude 5 and was hoping to record it before Wednesday for something else so I shall post the video here. I've tried to play Maria a long time ago so will also work on that this week. Hopefully I'll have time to learn the Tango after that (but not this week!)

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      Derek Wonderful, the Prelude 5 is one of my most favourite pieces! It has its obstacles and stumbling blocks (especially intonation in the higher positions), but this piece definitely worth all the effort!

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  • Hi Martin and everone! I have already had LaGrima and Recuerdos de la Alhambra under my hands. I will choose to work on two new pieces: Adelita and Gran Vals for this Tarrega challenge :) I am excited! :)

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  • Is there an actual video being broadcast today 31st May - I cannot seem to find how to access it?

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  • This looks fun! 
      I would like to participate(:

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    • Devyn McCrea working on Maria(:

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      Devyn McCrea Great, a spirited piece!

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  • Hi Martin, I’m refining Recuerdos de la Alhambra, and Estudio brilliante and starting Danza Mora ( I was holding off on starting this one until after the school semester was over. Perfect timing!).

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      Giovanni Wow, tough choices, it will be a hell of a development for your right hand as each of these three pieces have their unique properties! Recuerdos of course as the standard tremolo piece, Estudio Brilliante as a great Arpeggio Study and Danza Mora to improve balance and right hand finger independence!

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      • Giovanni
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      Martin Totally! hahaha I have "recuerdos" memorized, but not happy with where it's at. Working on the rubato and tone with this one.  "Estudio Brillante" is definitley tough at a fast tempo. I can't play it fast right now. I'll work on increasing my speed this week! 

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      Giovanni To be honest, I am not a Tremolo-Guy, I always had problems with that, which is why I've been sticking to "Una Limosna Por El Amor de Dios" by Barrios so far, the Tremolo on the 1st string is just much easier. But maybe I'll try to work on that a little bit as well over the course of the next 3 weeks!

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      • Giovanni
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      Martin I love "el ultimo tremolo!" it sounded really good the last time you played it live! Yeah, "Recuerdos" is a tough one. Getting it to sound right is a challenge for me. 

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      Giovanni Thank you, another one of those pieces that I will play for the rest of my live, haha!

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  • Hi Martin,  I am excited about this topic.  I regularly practice Lágrima,  and Etude in E Minor.  For this challenge I will  focus on 2 pieces  Prelude No 5 in E major and Adelita.   I have worked on Adelita before however always  a few stumbling blocks  , so I  will start to work on Adelita this week and into next week ...

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      margaret macarthur Great! We have a great Tutorial for Adelita by our friend Eduardo Inestal! A beautiful, moody piece with a wonderful uplifting B-Part for sure!

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    • Martin Thanks Martin.  I have watched the Tutorial by Eduardo Inestal and found it very helpful especially suggestions for playing legato.

      I found easy:  The first section , measures 1 to 8, and with practice I am improving bring out the melodic line each note clearly.

      I found hard:  The second section, measure 11 and 12, and i am working on this. I have found Eduardo's tutorial especially helpful for the second section and have enjoyed his suggestion for second half of measure 14, moving to eight fret.

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      margaret macarthur Awesome!

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  • Hello Martin,

    I'm quite excited, as this is my first tone base challenge. I just started classical guitar a couple of months ago (I used to practice rock guitar when I was younger). Thus, I think the only piece I might try to play - at least in part - is Lagrima. I just started yesterday, using the lessons by Thomas Viloteau. I'm very much looking forward to it!

     

    • Etude you worked on: Lagrima
    • One thing you found easy: Simple melody and rythm without surprises
    • One thing you found difficult: Keeping the melody very legato and more present than the rest
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  • Hey all. 🙂

    Here's my utterly RAW recording of me practising Marieta. It sounds a bit boxy.

    EASY

    Just doing RAW recording take was simple enough. Also, the piece in its entirety - it's not too difficult.

    HARD

    • The slides of minor and major section: getting it just right
    • Not attacking the string with RH too hard (I comment on that in the recording).
    • The 16th notes slurs and the one 32nd note slur. Challenging to articulate them properly.
    • And more...
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    • Philip the A section sounds beautiful, very good tone and clean slurs and ornaments. The B needs more practice but the sound again is  Philip very good. I am looking forward to hearing the final product. It is going to be great! Congratulations!!!

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    • Philip great start and good sound... you're using the OM1? 

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    • Emma Thanks Emma! Appreciate it a lot 🙂

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    • Blaise Laflamme Merci Blaise 🙂Yes I used my 2 OM1's through my Scarlet interface.

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    • Philip Very good work so far! I particularly like your articulation and vibrato.

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      Philip Wonderful and a great recording! I loved how you included your comments as well, that's very educational! The B-Section sounds as you have quite a bit of tension in your left hand (which happens to me as well when I start a piece!), always try to find those tiny bits of relaxation! 🙌 Thank your for that update, I look forward to many more! 💪

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    • Philip That's wonderful Philip. great sound and balance. The B section is tricky , causes stress in the left hand mainly. Looking forward to the updates

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    • Philip hey Philip, you have don a great job on practicing. This piece is really challenging to play !

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  • I started with Isabel, Valse.

    Not very difficult to sight-read and structurally very straight forward.  Simple Binary form piece and common harmonic progression.

    As I often find with these types of pieces the difficulty lies in the details.  Getting the feel of the Viennese waltz is more difficult than it seems.

    video coming soon!

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    • David Chidsey This is one reason why I love playing these standards of our repertoire, like Tarrega, Sor, etc. Even the simplest of pieces can continue to be worked on and perfected for the rest of our lives.

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      David Chidsey Yes, in these pieces there's always so much to discover over the years! And if you think you know everything, you listen to a Masterclass by René Izquierdo and he talks for 1h about details you've never recognized! Music is a path with an unreachable destination! 🏎

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  • Hello, I'm going to do Capricho Arabe and Rescuerdos del Alhambra.   I really want to improve my paying level for these songs and will be using techniques I've learnt recently on tone base.

    Regards

    Dennis

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      Dennis Greensmith Great, keep us updated about your progress!

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  • Here's my first update, I recorded myself after 1min (!) of practice, after 10min and after 1h!

    • One thing you found easy: Following the musical line and find out-of-the-box fingerings for certain passages like the hinge-bar in Line 3, Bar 2 or overall legato solutions in line 2, bar 2. Great fun (but I need to correct some notes, haha).
    • One thing you found difficult: Chord Balance and working out the musical contrasts in this gem. I get carried away with performing, but then I get in serious trouble dynamic-especially with the piano-like Sequence in the 3rd line
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    • Martin that was very educational to see how you work out a piece and how you manage to progress through it. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • Martin That was great to watch! Here are two things I loved about that:

      1.  I confess that it was nice to hear you making mistakes the first two times you played it. It was far fewer than I would make, but it is good to see that even a virtuoso like you is human!

      2.  I am blown away (and more than a bit jealous) by how beautifully you played it after just one hour of practice.

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    • Martin that’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

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      Martin this is great! Your 1 min is better than my 1 day hahaha

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      Blaise Laflamme Eric Phillips joosje don

      Thank you! That was a lot of fun, with the smaller pieces this is an exciting challenge to see how far you can push a piece after a total of 1h11min of practice, haha! 🤓
      And yes, making mistakes is an essential part of the process! Usually, I try to play a passage a couple of times and if I keep making mistakes I try to find a new fingering or another approach! 

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    • Martin Bravo!!!👋👋

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    • Martin thank you Martin! Beautifully played!!!! That fingering where you put the finger 2 in bar 14 is a great idea and the alternative to the harmonics works perfectly!!! I will use them thank you!!!!

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      Emma Thank you! I liked the added sonority in the end, I probably wouldn't have thought about that if I didn't restrict my practice time to 1h for that piece, haha!

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    • Martin Martin that was so good to watch. I'm really jealous to see how much progress you make in such a short space of time. It would take me more than a week to achieve even half of what you achieved in an hour! Bravo

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      Martin very interesting to see your progress at each take. Amazing playing! I will try that prelude but I am pretty sure it will take me way more than an hour to be able to play it.  Maybe several days! Hahaha 

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    • Martin just seen this Martin - amazing! Maybe  I should do a video after 1 hour, 10 hours and 60 hours to see if I could progress in the same way

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  • Hi everyone,

     

    I'm working on Capricho Arabe. I played this a number of years ago, and want to get it back into my repertoire. I always so enjoyed playing it. There are a lot of other pieces too, some I have played and some I have enjoyed hearing others play very much. 

    Hard: Since I've played this, but it's been quite a while, I really need to go through and make sure that I'm following the music and not making it up from a faulty memory. I also want to play a better version.

    Easy: Motivation. I really love this piece.

     

    So far: It's going well. Glad we have 3 weeks to develop!

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      Palmer Awesome! I will dip my toes into Capricho as well, such a beautiful piece! I am excited for your updates 🙌

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  • Hello everyone!  Really looking forward to this.  I read through several of the pieces recommended; Lagrima, Adelita, Preludes 1 and 5.  I decided to work on Prelude number 5.  I know it will be difficult for me to make this sound good as having a nice legato is always difficult for me.  Always looking for a few tips as I have never had a formal lesson on the guitar.  

    What did I find easy?  I think the opening chord...

    What did I find difficult?  Everything after the opening chord.

    Seriously however, the part that is currently giving me trouble are the chords in measures 3 - 5; especially the crescendo/decrescendo.  And again, the A tempo in the last line.  I have decided to just have fun with it.

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      Paul Kennedy Awesome! I have worked through this piece quite a lot as I am teaching this piece to my students as well!

      We have a terrific tutorial on the 5th Prelude by the winner of the International Tárrega Competition in Benicassim (one of the biggest international guitar competitions) and dear friend who happened to study with the same professor Joaquin Clerch as Mircea and me:

      That being said, the bars you've mentioned are quite hard, especially in terms of balance and intonation! For the highest notes (the 3rd chord in bar 4) I am keeping my 2nd finger on the second string to guide me into the position, that way it's easier for the 4th finger to find the c# on the 14th fret!

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    • Martin Martin thanks Martin, I will try that and take a look at the tutorial as well

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  • Here is a quick snapshot of my progress with Maria. I have been practicing since Saturday, so I guess that is four days. It's still a bit slower than I'd like, and has a few problem areas. I'm happy to have it pretty well memorized, though. It is just so fun to play!

     

    I am also posting what I find to be the most difficult measure, specifically measure 41 which has a portamento from E to A on the first string. I play it several times slowly in the video. I'd be very interested to hear what Martin or any of you think could improve my playing of it. Right now, I'm only accurately hitting the correct notes about 50% of the time.

     

    Martin - I did watch the video you suggested on shifting and have already begun doing the exercise you gave. Man, that is a killer! I am hopeful that practicing the exercise will help this piece and many others.

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    • Eric Phillips P.S. I don't want to hear anybody make fun of me that I still have a Christmas tree up! It's just one of the weird things we do in my family. 😄

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      Eric Phillips Awesome performance, that's very good progress for 4 days of practice!

      I recorded some tipps and tricks for that damn measure 41 (as it's probably easier to just record a short video than to write a whole essay, haha), I hope that helps a little bit! 🙌💪  

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    • Martin I just want to say that I am blown away by the fact that you took the time to make a personalized video for me to give me a bit of coaching. Mircea did the same thing in the last challenge. I am so impressed by your generosity and dedication.

      I am at work right now, but tonight I will try all those things you spoke about and demonstrated for me in the video. I am certain that it will help a lot. I will post my progress again in a few days hopefully. Thank you so much! 👍😁

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    • Eric Phillips Bravo!!!👋

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Thank you, Giuseppe!

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    • Eric Phillips Eric - that's wonderful. I am working on that piece and I've a way to go before I can perform it like that

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    • Derek Looking forward to hearing it from you. Good luck with measure 41! I saw a fingering that avoided the portamento and was a bit easier for me to pull off, but I really like the sound of the portamento, so I'm giving it my best. I love the YouTube videos of it by Andrea Gonzalez Caballero and Irina Kulikova.

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    •  Eric Phillips Great Videos Eric. well played, such good control in short time. Thank you for sharing. Martin, your video is such a good instruction. Very helpful.

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    • joosje Thank you, Joosje. I hope you are doing well.joosje 

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    • Eric Phillips thanks! yes, I’m ok, just too tired to make recordings. Practicing a bit though. Maybe next week

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    • Eric Phillips wow that is after 4 days of practice !!!!! Beautiful achievement !!!! Looking forward to more beautiful music from you 

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    • Emma Thank you, Emma. I look forward to hearing you play as well!

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      Eric Phillips You are very welcome, excited for your next progress update!

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    • Eric Phillips Bravo!!! wonderfull playing and 4-days progress 👏 I'd like to hear you playing it once again this week!  

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    • Daniel Thanks, Daniel. I actually have already posted some progress on measure 41 below.

      Like
  • Hi Martin, I enter as a mere novice compared to the other cognicenti . I throughly enjoy other peoples music, but I am still a beginner. So this is for the ones who keep trying (50+years). I am trying to improve my Lagrima, love Tarrega. I tend to play in isolated rooms so it can be very nerve wracking to expose my attrocious playing. Today starting with the first sentence.

     

    Easy: Being over 6' and longish fingers, the stretching for the left hand was not too difficult.

    Hard: Going from measure 4 to 5 and avoiding the barre to ghet speed and pain in left thumb.

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    • Bill Dodd We are happy to have you here, Bill!

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      Bill Dodd Awesome, this is the goal of our Community Challenges, to motivate and to inspire each other! I have been playing Lágrima for about 20 years now and I still try to improve it, and I am sure that this piece will be with me for the rest of my life! 💪

      Thank you for your update! Always find spots to reset your hand so that there is no build-up of excessive tension and pain!

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    • Bill Dodd lagrima is beautiful!!! Not exactly a beginner piece, so take it easy, looking forward to listening to you!

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      • Chris
      • Chris.5
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      Bill Dodd Looking forward to hearing you and am always happy to provide feedback in any capacity.

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  • I chose Estudio en forma de Minuetto because I like the way it moves along and uses scales. Not sure there is an 'easy" comment I can make, but it looks like a challenging piece to play up to tempo. I hope to eventually play it up to the tempo that I've heard from guitarists online. It looks like a good challenge, and it looks like a piece that will help me improve my technique. Neil

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      Neil Thompson Awesome, thank you for your initial update! Don't push tempo too early in the process to maintain an overall relaxation to your execution! Excited to hear more from you! 🕺

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  • Hi everyone, here is my warm up piece- LaGrima. As I mentioned a bit above, I have learnt Lagrima and Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I am posting this La Grima as a warm up, thanks to the nice suggestion from Blaise Laflamme . I am choosing to work on Adelita and Gran Vals in this challenge. In the next few days, I will post my progress about Adelita :) Look forward to seeing your progress also; hope we can all motivate each other :) 

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