Week 2: Sharing the Journey 🌟

🌟 WELCOME TO THE "A FRESH START" COMMUNITY CHALLENGE! 🌟

Embark on a musical journey with our latest challenge, "A Fresh Start". It’s time to dust off that sheet music you’ve been eyeing and dive into a brand-new piece!

🗓️ CHALLENGE TIMELINE

  • Challenge Start: Kick-Off on April 15th!
  • Duration: April 15th to May 13th
  • Watch Party: Join us on May 13th at 11 AM PST to watch selected submissions!

🎼 WEEK 2 ACTIVITIES

  • Progress Sharing: You should have your new piece selected by now. This week, let's start sharing our progress. Post a video or describe what you've been working on. It's fascinating to see how everyone approaches the learning process!
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  • Hello all, I have always wanted to play something by Rodrigo but found most of his work beyond my reach. While I was alphabetizing my music I found this piece that I collected many years ago and thought I would use it for this challenge. "Tiento Antiguo" (ancient touch or feel). I found it quite beautiful and has Rodrigo's flair for evoking the Spanish landscape. My only hope is to do it justice.  To study this piece I will break it up into several sections. The arpeggio sections, separated by two interludes.  Two Cadenza's  separating B  and C section's and ending with a beautiful arpeggio Cadenza lento ending. 

     

    The cadenza is by far the most challenging part due to its speed. So I will work on that with speed studies and right hand alone exercises. The ending has some difficult timing along with some tricky slurring, so I will create separate exercises for these. The arpeggio seems straight forward.  I'm about 2 weeks into this piece, hopefully I can get something complete recorded by May 13th. 

     

    To play this I divided the rhythm in half, 16ths become 8th's and 32'nds become 16th's to make it sane for me. 

     

    Here is the opening 16 bars of the arpeggio. 
     

    • Michael Shirk Great work so far, Michael! I messed around with this for a day or two a few years back, but then it went into my big pile of "someday" pieces. The fast bits were just beyond me, and the arpeggios were very challenging as well, since the right hand patterns were so complex and changed so much. You are managing it quite well so far, so I think it's within your reach.

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    • Michael Shirk That's lovely, Michael. That's a gorgeous piece and it's coming along so well. Very nice tone too. I don't know specifically about this piece but most of the time when I hear a cadenza it doesn't appear to be in strict time so personally I wouldn't worry too much about achieving a particular speed. It will sound great regardless. Congrats on this so far. 

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    • Michael Shirk Very nice and even.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Michael Shirk That is beautiful, Michael. I don't remember hearing this piece by Rodrigo before. It has a very haunting feel. I think Steve's suggestion to approach the cadenza in a more 'personal way' makes sense. I understand cadenzas to be an opportunity for the performer to showcase their technical ability but I think the focus could be an interpretive showcase as well.

      I am very interested to hear more.

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  • Sor – Le Calme Op 50 C section

    For the last few days, I have mainly been practicing the A and B sections, trying to make them more fluid. But tonight, I finally started working on the C section, which I find much more difficult. I’m hoping that it doesn’t keep me from being able to complete this piece.

    After listening to my video below a few times, I think I would like to practice this section in three progressive ways:

    1. First, I want to practice the melody alone, shaping it the way I want it to sound.
    2. Then I will practice the melody with the bass notes only.
    3. Lastly, I will add the accompaniment in the middle.
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    • Eric Phillips Nice Eric, Sor always starts easy and manages to confound later in the piece. This is a fairly complex piece, you clearly have a good start. BTW, I like the sound you are producing. How are you recording this? On your phone?  

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    • Michael Shirk Thanks, Michael. I record with a Samson Go microphone that I plug into the USB port of my laptop. I use the video camera that came with the laptop. I do add a little reverb using Audacity (free software that I downloaded).

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    • Eric Phillips Nice, Eric. That left hand part looks tough but it's coming along. The interesting thing to me about Sor is that everything sounds right and he generally sticks to the "rules" but it's not predictable. I think something is leading to one chord but then it lands somewhere else that fits perfectly. Those subtle surprises are so nice. 

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    • Steve Price Thanks, Steve. I agree with you completely about Sor's surprises. He has surprising destinations, but he always gets there in a way that "follows the rules." The D section (which I haven't gotten to yet) has the most surprises, and I think that makes it the most dramatic part of this piece.

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    • Eric Phillips well done so far. Looks easier in your hands than it actually is. Its musical quality comes out already in this concept. Good to keep this tempo so you can make it sound smooth and singing. Looking forward to more.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Eric Phillips This is sounding very good already, Eric. I am looking forward to hearing the entire piece. Great job. 

      Btw whatever issues you are having with your index finger are imperceptible. Your ability to adjust is really impressive.

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    • Eric Phillips Lyrical qualities are coming along nicely.

      Like 1
  • A first take of Allegretto from Stravinsky's Les Cinq Doigts. I think this is the most cheerful of the bunch, which makes sense since I read the main motive was based on a Russian folk dance. 

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    • Steve Price Good job, Steve. It does have a folk dance feel to it, like you said. If I heard this without knowing who wrote it, I don't think I would have ever guessed Stravinsky (not that I am very knowledgeable about his music).

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    • Steve Price I wasn't crazy about the transcription I had of the Andantino and when I looked at the piano score I realized it was easier to play it as written especially since both staves are treble clef. This sounds brighter to me and I think it's easier to hear the interaction between the voices. 

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    • Steve Price So pretty!

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    • Steve Price Very nice. Good bass line.

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    • Steve Price well done. Makes sense, It sounds brighter and lines are clearer this way. Very nice. The allegretto is nice too. Thank you for posting these.

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Steve Price This sounds really good, Steve. I was never aware of guitar transcriptions of these pieces. I'll have to look into them. Thanks for posting these.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Steve Price This really sounds good. You have, indeed captured the feel of this piece. It seems to work really well on guitar.

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    • Jack Stewart Thanks, Jack. If you end up working on these, having the original piano score is really helpful and 5 of the 8 can be played note for note although 3 work better if transposed. Jeffry Steele's transcription is pretty good but I found myself having to change a lot since he seems to have softened some of the disonances. Karl Wolff's transcription is pretty good, but he changes a fair amount too. Neither has a good solution for the Vivo since one requires retuning the fifth and sixth string and using a partial capo and the other requires string mutes on three strings and tuning the E string up to G which I'm not sure my guitar could handle. This has really been a fun project though and since he imposed some strict limitations on himself you can really get some insight into his process. 

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Steve Price Thanks for the info. Based om your comments, I would probably opt for working out my own transcriptions - at least as a starting point.

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  • Working on the Ponce Sonata Classica. Going through my edition and finding error is less than encouraging. But watching videos and exploring fingerings in the first section. Practicing connections of odd left hand shapes this week. 

    Like 1
    • Anthony DiMambro Welcome Anthony, which movement you'll be working from this beautiful sonata during the challenge?

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