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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  • HVL Prelude 2 B section full speed (Aug 14)

    Since my last post, many of you have told me that you think I do not need to make the B section any faster (I had it going around 87 bpm). Well, I decided to ignore you all (I say that with the deepest respect and humility). 🙂

    It just seems to me that the section needs to go at a pretty good clip to be effective. So, in my impatience, I decided just to go for it at full speed. I found that, if I let my right hand just go into a kind of "auto-pilot, spring loaded mode" (I really don't know how to describe it), that I could play it up to speed. I also had to worry about the squeaks only on the really big shifts - the little shifts I just let squeak away. Anyway, here is a video with the result.

    I know this still needs work for me to get it under better control. That said, I think it sounds much better than playing it slowly.

    Let me know what you think. Am I deluding myself and this really sounds awful? Or have I found a path toward a good musical result?

    Like 7
    • Eric Phillips Wow! very good step forward Eric!! There's a spot, hard to explain, between the fastest you can do in slow mode (where you kind of think about each fingers as separate actions) and in fast mode (where you kind of think about a block of multiple fingers as one action) and you just did that!! This flows far better IMHO, while slower you did also very good, at this speed you can reach another level of musical ideas. Good work 💪💪

      Like 1
    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks, Blaise, I truly value your thoughts, as you are someone with great technique and musicality. I thought I might be on to something, but without a teacher to give me feedback, I wasn't sure.

      I like your phrase "think about a block of multiple fingers as one action". That describes it well! I still don't feel like I am controlling it very well, so that's what I hope to work on next.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips thanks for your kind comments Eric, and yes your are on the right path. Your slow work was and is important to ensure the right mechanics are «recorded» to the «action block». We have a speed limit at what we can think and action in a row (while we can stack them it's not useful in that case) and grouping multiple actions into a bigger one ensure a better flow at higher speed. That's great you have experienced this after reaching your limit at slow speed because this B section is mostly all about this concept IMHO. Now you have to split your B section into slow practice to ensure control of every finger as separate actions and fast practice to ensure control of the «action block». Your determination has paid off!! 💪

      Like 1
    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks so much, Blaise! That is very helpful. Now, can you just practice it for me? 😀

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips haha... that'd be so great if we could transfer to other like bank transfers!! 🤣

      Like
    • Eric Phillips that’s it, you found the way. Great result

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

      Eric Phillips I appreciate that you went for it Eric. I think you have to at least try. I'm not sure that the tempo is really the ultimate factor, whether it's slow or fast. I think the main thing is to play at a tempo that you can bring out what's important to you. If it's fast, then play it fast! 

      I think you really brought out that base line well. I know you will get it there, but I thought that the arpeggios were almost inaudible at some points. I think the focus should be on the bass notes, but I think those arpeggios can be brought out more without eclipsing the base. 

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Great job, Eric!. This is sounding great. I might suggest bringing the rolling arpeggios up a bit when the bass is not sounding. The bass is so forceful but then I feel the accompaniment drops off a little too much. I don't think it would require much more volume to fill in. This tempo is spot on and the bass is very powerful. Great job!

      Like 2
    • Steve Pederson Jack Stewart I could not agree more with you both that the volume of the upper notes needs to be raised. That's what I have been working on this morning. It seems to me to be a matter of controlling the movement a bit more. In this video, it's still a very reflexive and automated motion of the fingers.

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

      Eric Phillips This sounds great man. Actually this part wouldn't sound out of place in those 1980s or 70s rock music where they will insert a interlude in the middle of a piece where it becomes slower or played in acoustic. Anyway i digress, it is sounding really good.

      Like 1
  • Here is HVL Prelude #4. I have not played this Prelude for many years, so it was fun to relearn it. This Prelude is not too difficult, the challenge being playing the B section arpeggios smoothly and with as little string noise as possible. You will also notice the use of the tambor technique in the last section.  This is something that Carlevaro used when playing this Prelude.  

    Like 6
    • Dale Needles fantastic. beautiful playing, Dale. It’s refreshingly different from what I’m used to. (This is  one of my old time favourite HVL pieces. ) I think I take the lento a bit slower - ok, It’s only now that I became aware that in the original (?) Eschig score the reprise of the A part (in harmonics) is marked moderato and than in the original form again lento as in the opening….. I always played them the same tempo. 
      there are some phrasing indications in the score. Do you know the origin of those? The marcato signs (>>), string indications, etc. 
      Bravo for your animato part it’s s so fluid and clean. Enjoyed this so much.
       

      Like 1
    • joosje Thanks so much, Jossje.  I think you are not alone in playing the harmonic section at the same tempo as the following repeat A section.  I slip into that habit as well but do try to play the harmonic section a little faster.  Both the Eschig edition and the first published 1941 score has the tempo as Moderato for the harmonic section and Lento for the following section.  As for the dynamic markings, they appear on both the original published score and the later Eschig edition, so they are probably Villa-Lobos'.  You can find the original published score in the Carlevaro online library.  As for the use of the tambor in the last section, that is purely Carlevaro, but I am not sure when he added that to his fingering since it is not on his fingering of the original publication but is on his later fingering of the Eschig edition.

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

      Dale Needles Excellent, Dale. A very clean and expressive interpretation. Great job.!

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

      Dale Needles really nice Dale! It is such an interesting piece too as in there is so many things going on and you manage to bring them all out. Well played! 

      Like 1
    • Dale Needles beautiful interpretation of this Prelude Dale, I like the calm way you play it unlike many versions with a little too much «testosterone» to my taste.

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

    The last stronghold! 

    I've been able to memorize this whole piece, except for the first half of the B section...until now. 

    This section presents numerous challenges - including off-beat rhythms that keep changing patterns, as well as really brutal chord voicing changes happening constantly. 

    In this example I am playing very slowly, because that's the only way I can get through the whole thing without mistakes, but I finally did it from memory! 

    Like 5
      • Ernesto
      • Ernesto.1
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson You nailed it! Nobody will notice that missing note on the chord!

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson Sounding good and smooth. Now for some up tempo. 

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

      Steve Pederson That was excellent, Steve. Bravo!

      Like
    • Steve Pederson sounding good Steve. Looking forward to the coming weeks, hearing you speed up and assemble the piece.

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

      Steve Pederson this is really sounding good and in such a short period of time too. Looking forward to hearing it when you piece of all them together. 

      Like
    • Steve Pederson this is sounding great Steve 👋and looking at your hand I'm sure you can do the extension you got rid of... 🤔

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

    HVL Etude #5 1st half Very Rough Draft

    I am finally beginning to get a grip on this, though it may not seem so on this posting. I am nor consistent yet, but I can play the first half with fairly decent control and voice separation. It is difficult to hold together but I can play any particular section reasonably well. 

    It took me a long time to separate out the voices.

    The fingering was a real challenge. Watched Blanco TB lesson this however, I have a lot of fingerings that are different than his. Generally his sustain the note value better than my but, at this point, I can't manage them.

    There are many sections that are a real challenge to play in context, especially when it goes into the upper registers and walks down.

    So now I start the 2nd half while still trying to refine the 1st. There is still more than 2 weeks to go. So, maybe?

    Like 6
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