Week 2: "Brazilian Rhythms Rendezvous"

Welcome to the Main Thread for the second week of "Villa-Lobos Voyage" practice challenge! 

  1. Select a mesmerizing piece from Villa-Lobos or a composer connected to his Brazilian heritage. Whether it's a soulful Villa-Lobos composition, a rhythmic Brazilian-inspired work, or a piece by another artist inspired by the Brazilian musical tradition, the choice is yours! 🎼

  2. Commit to regular practice and share your progress with the community. Strive to practice daily and upload at least two videos per week to showcase your musical voyage. This not only keeps you motivated but also allows you to share your artistic journey with our tonebase family. 🎥

  3. Share your favorite performance or recording that captures the spirit of the "Villa-Lobos-Voyage Challenge." Your submission will inspire others and create a vibrant collection of potential pieces for fellow members to explore. 🎧

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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    • Steve Pederson
    • The Journey is My Destination!
    • Steve_Pederson
    • 10 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    HVL - Choros No. 1

    In this recording I go over each of the three sections (A, B and C) just once. The form of the song is A-B-A-C-C-A. I just play A-B-C and my video is 5 minutes long! If I took all the repeats it would be at least 15 minutes! 😮 I don't want to put you through that. 

    This is just an update on my progress. It's slow in the going, but I believe I have all of the fingerings - both right and left hand - finally figured out. 

    There is one chord voicing in the B section that involves a pinky stretch up to the 7th fret that I just cannot physically do without damaging my hand, so I made an adjustment and took one of the notes out of the chord to make it manageable for me. 

    And, how about that camera angle? 😉

    Like 6
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson That is really impressive, Steve. You have the entire piece under your fingers! Looking forward to seeing you progress on this.

      Nice 'Heroic' camera angle.

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson good work on this Steve, that stretch in B section is indeed not easy to play smooth, but your solution is one that many use 👍Nice camera angle, the drawback is for the right hand as we don't see the fingers on the strings, I prefer it as a secondary angle.

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson great job and that is a seriously difficult piece! I cannot imagine how guitarists manage to memorize it and play it but it looks like you work out most of it. Did Villa Lobos used those Torres guitar too? May explain the 7 fret stretch. Those guitar were much smaller than ours now. 

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

      Jack Stewart Thanks Jack! 

      Like
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise! The comment about the camera angle was kind of a joke. I recorded in my bedroom, and that was the only angle I could get. I thought it was very cinematic, though, like an old Alfred Hitchcock trick. Maybe I should've done it in black and white! 😄

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

      don Thanks Don! That's an interesting point about size of the guitar Villa Lobos might have played. I actually considered playing this with a capo to make it a bit easier.

      As for memorization, this piece has a LOT of repeats, so that helps. I think the other thing that helps is that I've been listening to and have loved this piece for a LONG time, so I think on one level I have just internalized it. I have a good deal of it memorized, but I am looking at sheet music for this recording. 

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      • don
      • don.2
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson Ya, listening definitely helps. On a somewhat related topic,  I remember there was this tonebase live stream on youtube with Seymour Bernstein. I may be wrong but I think he said he will always ask his student to play simple tune like Fur Elise from memory and by ear to help them with ear training. This will in future help them to play pieces from memory easier. 

       

      Once you can play the melody on this piece on the guitar, I think the rest should be easy to remember. Just out of curiosity which measure is that with the 7 fret stretch? 

      Like
    • Steve Pederson great. Good strategy, to play the three movements in a row without all those repetitions. The contrast between them is clear, your voicing and rhythmical basis sound really solid and controlled. Looking forward to your next steps on this path. As don mentioned it’s difficult piece and your progress is impressive 

      Like
    • Steve Pederson haha... I'm too serious then... I still think the angle is interesting as a second one, but in the actual context it's more than usable! You recorded in this room because you were out of a quiet place or you wanted to try a different sound? Still using the MV88+?

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

      Blaise Laflamme Yes, still using the MV88+, which comes with a little tripod that works great in my office/studio but not so much in my bedroom. I recorded in there because simply I needed some quiet space. 

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson This is coming along well, Steve. About that stretch, it's certainly a stumbling block in this piece! I frankly doubt a shorter scale length would help much. The absolute difference in stretch distance between a Torres and a modern standard instrument would likely be only a few millimetres. (It would probably be easy on a ukulele though!) My impression is that your hand is large enough to manage the stretch if you approach it a little differently. (Mircea has a video somewhere on ToneBase in which he discusses how to facilitate difficult stretches.) Here are a couple of 'tricks' you might find useful: (i) play the initial chord (I guess it could be called a D13 in first inversion) with a full barre - even though the barre is not actually needed. This will make it easier to fully expand your hand; (ii) don't worry if your pinky is in non-canonic position at the 7th fret - if necessary, use the side of the finger, as is common in non-classical genres. (If your hand is large enough, either (i) or (ii) alone may be all that's needed.) I find this works for me, and I certainly don't have long fingers. Btw, having said all that, I think your solution is a good one, and very useful as a practical performance option!

      Like 2
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson Really great progress Steve. Well done. I was also trying to figure out that stretch last night - I found that the only way I can get any where near it is using a barre.

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

      David Krupka Thank you David! I appreciate the suggestions. Great ideas. I've never heard the expression "non-canonic" refer to guitar playing before, but it totally makes sense! 😄

      Like
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ron Thanks Ron! I appreciate it. David Krupka also suggested the barre idea, and I think it's worth a shot. I will see if that's something that I can eventually work into my playing of this song as I get more and more comfortable with it. 

      Like
      • Ernesto
      • Ernesto.1
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson Good work! That is a lot if you started from scratch.

       

      You are struggling with the same stretch I am fighting with. I will try to remove one of the notes as you did! But if it helps, I changed the fingering as follows (they are on your ~2:17 and ~3:23):

      This way your left will be on the frets and most important at the right angle to place finger 2 on the f# and 4 on the b (first string), instead of jumping abruptly from the first position to the tough stretch.

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

      Ernesto Thanks Ernesto! The part I'm having difficulty with is actually the measure just after this - where the chord is made up of F# - C - D - B. Hitting that high B with all those other notes is just not happening for me right now. I am leaving out the D note, and that seems to work.  

      Like
      • Ernesto
      • Ernesto.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson I should have explained better... I changed the fingering of the bar prior to the problem as it makes the pinky to be on fret 7 (and just shift from string 4 to 1) and finger 2 just has to move one fret behind. For me it is preparation, and avoid the shift where it is the hardest. Also, my thumb goes all the way down to the bottom of the arm of the fretboard.

       

      Anyway, as I said, the removing of one note of the chord works great!

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

      Ernesto Ah, now I understand what you're referring to. Yes, that's a great idea! Getting the left hand into position would definitely make that chord easier to reach more quickly. Thanks for the suggestion! 

      Like 1
  • HVL Prelude 2 B section (Aug 11)

    Here is another update on the B section. Since my last post two days ago, I was only able to increase the tempo by 10bpm, so this is up to 87bpm. It feels like I am at the limit of what I am able to control reasonably well, but we’ll see.

    Like 7
    • Eric Phillips Sounding good. Much cleaner and smoother. Not sure it needs to go much faster. I like the tempo. 

      Like 1
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips This is really sounding good Eric - I agree with Dale that I don't think it needs to be too much faster, but I know you'll keep pushing it!

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

      Eric Phillips This is really great Eric! It sounds really clean and precise. I'm sure you will feel even more comfortable in time and find ways to increase the speed. I think I've heard it said that it's good to perform a piece just a bit slower than the top speed you can actually manage. I think that's good advice. That way you will look cool as a cucumber (which is an odd expression, because cucumbers have never struck me as "cool" 🤔) when you perform it. 

      Like
      • don
      • don.2
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips this is sounding great! not sure if it needs to be any faster as this is already sounding very good. 

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips This is showing great improvement, Eric. I agree with the others that more speed is not necessarily required. I imagine if you now focus more on shaping the phrasing it will come together. Really impressive work!

      Like
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