Week 1: Wanderer over a Sea of Fog! 🌥

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of "The Romantic Era" challenge! 

When is a piece of music romantic for you?


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  • Coste - Op 38 No 8 (May 5 update)

    I have been able to sneak in some practice time on this piece. I think I'm playing it at the tempo I'd like now, but there are still many trouble spots. I really don't enjoy playing fast music like this. I always feel like I'm trying to keep up with a speeding train, and I get very anxious. Is that something everyone feels, or is it just my personality?

    Like 4
    • Wai Thanks, Wai. I look forward to hearing you play again.

      Like 1
      • Moyses Lopes
      • Classical Guitarist and Electroacoustic Interpreter
      • Moses
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Great job! This question - playing faster than we like to play - is a good point to think about us as guitar players and musicians. If the speed is causing anxiety, IMHO is clear that is excessive. But, I think if we play in a comfortable beat our brain gets the confidence to accelerate a bit, and so on. For me, speed is work for the brain, more than for muscles, and demands time.

      Is impressive that some people play fast naturally, like Assad Brothers, for example. And for others, the music sounds great with a lower beat. I guess that we are always pursuing a good execution, that brings pleasure for us and for listeners, and we all have our comfort speed, where sound is great and interpretation flow. Thanks for sharing and for provoking the reflection, Eric!

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Well done, Eric. I wasn't aware of any anxiety in your performance.

      As to your question, I feel anxious anytime I play. If it is about a specific passage I have to really take it apart and try to play it in many different ways - very slowly, different rhythm (if in 4:4 play in triplets etc), Backwards and forwards, etc. I don't know if these ideas would work on a piece like this one. 

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    • Eric Phillips Thank you Eric for your description on "keeping up with a speeding train".  Yes, exactly!

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips I always have a different mindset when I work on something or when I play something. When I work for speed, or anything else, there are multiple strategies to consider and a plan of action that makes me not feeling bad or anxious about the result itself, and when I play I ensure myself to perform in a frame where I master to a certain level the musical text, the interpretation and the related technic used for it. That helps to build confidence and reliability within our abilities.

      Like 1
  • The good news is that the surgery on my left hand went well;  the bad news is, slow recovery (at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).  I selected my favorite Ghiribizzi from Paganini's 43 Ghiribizzi.  The piece is pretty straight forward; not too difficult so reading through it I found to be easy.  What I found difficult were the ornamental turns, and the Chopin like "extra sprinkling of notes" and still keeping to the time. 

    Like 8
    • Paul Kennedy Thanks Paul for this beautiful music. I have never heard of these 43 pieces. Are they written for the guitar? What does Ghiribizzi mean? I just downloaded a score of them and would like to try them later.

      BTW, I will thank you here for all your kind comments above.

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    • Eric Phillips Thanks Eric,  I guess they are little “off the cuff” pieces; literally “Whim”.  You will recognize many of them from melodies from other artist (Mozart for example).  Have fun with them.  BTW, where can I get a copy of “Estrelita”; the version you played last month.  I have been looking for one but with no luck.

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    • Paul Kennedy that was great Paul and I'm happy the surgery went well! I'm also looking to play something from Paganini in this challenge, hope time permits!

      Like 1
    • Paul Kennedy that’s really beautiful , Paul. Lyrical, warm sound. Great playing, thank you for sharing. And good news about your hand.

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    • Blaise Laflamme The “Romanza” perhaps?  He does have some very nice *and some more difficult pieces

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    • Paul Kennedy no, the first sonate from his 37 sonates for guitar, that were unknown to me... something to start the challenge 😅

      Like 1
      • Moyses Lopes
      • Classical Guitarist and Electroacoustic Interpreter
      • Moses
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Kennedy Good to hear from you that the surgery was a success! Maybe a bit of patience in the recovery and everything will be fine. Thank you for posting this "Ghiribizzi" (whatever it is...), you played so well.

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    • Blaise Laflamme I have those….nice pieces

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    • Moyses Lopes Thank you Moyses, they are 43 “whimsical” pieces (Maybe someone from Italy can provide a better definition) by Nicolo Paganini.

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      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Kennedy That was very nice, Paul. Much more lyrical than I would have expected from Paganini (though I am not that familiar with much of his music,)

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      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Kennedy Beautifully played. I heard that Paganini was also a good guitarist himself, was this Ghiribizzi composed originally for guitars? It sounds so guitaristic.

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    • Wai Thank you Wai; yes, the whole set of 43 Ghiribizzi was originally written for guitar.

      Like 1
    • Paul Kennedy Great to hear your surgery has gone well and that you are taking the time you need for a full recovery.  Really enjoyed this performance - expressive with nice technique/control. I have not heard these pieces but I heard a bit of Sor's influence here (at least to my ears).  All the best,  Rick

      Like 1
    • Rick Lord Thank you Rick,  This one is my favorite of the whole set

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      • Lars Kjøller-Hansennull
      • Amateur with too little time and bingeplayer with sore arms and fingers
      • Lars_KjollerHansen
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Kennedy This is a beautiful piece I never heard before. An excellent start and one does not hear your hurt hand. BTW I have had tendency to spring finger in left 3 finger, but it went away I think my start on mandolin and the S large I phone provoked it also guitar pieces where you have to bend your finger much and maybe presses to hard may be culprits. Good recovery.

      Like 1
    • Paul Kennedy Beautiful! thats so fine!

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    • Lars Kjøller-Hansen Thank you Lars,  That is the same finger and hand as me.  They say with rest, it may go away on its own because it is caused by a swollen tendon due to (as you pointed out) overworking the finger.

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    • Stefanie Mosburger-Dalz Thank you Stephanie

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  • Thank you Eric for inspiring us to (re) discover the  Coste studies. Your performers are inspiring. I played som of them long ago, found topmost of them very difficult. It’s stil not easy.  Coste was never my favorite, but only now, I am learning to appreciate the musical quality and enjoy the challenge of  them. 
    here my interpretation of the beautiful 3rd study. I use my 7th string in these pieces. For this one not necessary, but in some of the others it comes in handy 

    As an bonus I add the one you skipped, nr 2. It’s quite a fun piece actually, should e faster maybe….

    Like 6
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