WEEK TWO: The Musical Voyage!
Welcome to the Main Thread for the second week of the Sergio Assad Community Challenge!
- Make sure you've read the guidelines before replying (← click)
- Watch the Kick-Off-Livestream on July 16th to get an overview!
- Download the scores for Assad's Etudes here (← click)
If you want to describe your process (optional), feel free to use the following template.
- Things you found easy:
- Things you found difficult:
- (Optional): a video of you performing the etude!
- (Optional:) questions
↓ Reply below with your assignments and questions! ↓
I decided to practice Sketch V some more and record it again. I'm not sure this is too much better though.
One thing that is a little better is my sound. Instead of using my iPhone 7 for this, I used my laptop with a USB plugin microphone. It's a small step up! I'm sure those gifted in the art of recording guitar are rolling their eyes right now!
Sketch VI Day 1 Measures 1-49.
What was easy: Well the ostinato so far is just two open strings, so I guess that's kind of easy. That said, I played it too loudly.
What was difficult: Right now it does not sound musical at all. It has more the feel of a technical exercise. The m-a alternation is not completely comfortable. I find myself wanting to get the i finger in on the ostinato, and I have to resist it.
Sketch VI Day 2.
What was easy - Drinking my morning coffee!
What was difficult - I just have no feel for this music or what it should be sounding like. I've listened to Assad play it, and he's obviously better at executing it than I am, but when I go to play it, it's like I'm not even playing the same music. It just feels like I'm going through the motions of playing the notes on the page, and not really creating anything. To be honest, I kind of want to move on, but I know the music just gets harder after this!
I apologize for the late participation but I'll try to do better for the remaining . Here's my progress for sketch #1, I've played it a few times so it's almost sight reading with some lines almost memorized, but Sergio is good at just make it similar to what you could already know but... not at the same time. Not as easy as you would think out of the box, and sorry for the missed notes!
Hi everyone, I have practiced sketch III - section A.
Things I found easy: sight reading
Things I found difficult: how to make the open string notes to sound warm and full, and have the same volumn as pressed note, this needs extra attention. Without attention, my open string notes can sound metallic and louder than pressed notes :)
I will continue with section B and A'
here's my progress on sketch #2 and like sketch #1 I've played it a few times and it's also almost sight reading with some lines memorized. As opposed to Daniel Beltrán who did a great job with the tempo and strong character, my initial connection with the piece is more introspective. Again not an easy piece even if simple on the surface, even harder to make it legato!
Sketch VII Day 1. Well, I went around the brick wall of Sketch VI only to find a higher wall called Sketch VII! I only played measures 1-39 (the first three variations). Trust me, if you listen to it, you'll thank me for stopping early.
What was easy: Does not apply here
What was difficult: Can I just say everything? Here are some particular issues:
- These chords are killer on the left hand! In particular the F#m11 found for the first time in measure 7. I simply cannot play that with the fingering Assad gave. I checked the video of his performance, and he does indeed play it that way. I have to re-finger it without a barre, but it's still ridiculously hard.
- The changing of meter just is not smooth for me. I have to admit that I don't really like abrupt meter changes like these. They don't feel natural to me, even when I'm just listening to them. Again, it feels more like an exercise than like music. (And I haven't even gotten to the polyrhythms yet!)
I'll keep plugging away, I guess.
So week 2. I had some time to watch the rest of the progress videos today and decided I will stick to sketches 1 through 5 for the period of the challenge. I think 6 though 10 will be part of my study plan for the next year (at least!)
Each on one of the skecthes is so rich in learnings and I think it's well worth while staying with each of them over time - I keep discovering new things as I revsit and get to know them better.
I read through 3, 4 and some of 5 today (no videos at this stage I'm afraid)
No. 3 seems reasonalbly straightforward, although I need to make sure I observe the rests. The improvisation is fun!
I really like no. 4 but I need to solve a few fingering problems.
Lots of work in progress!
Hey guys, here is my first take on Sketch VI, a commented Read-Through after approx. 10-20min of practicing it, I hope you can draw at least some value from that!
- Things you found easy: The rhythm guided me through the piece! Funny enough, the mixed shapes worked better for me as they were (mostly) diatonic, something that my hand is just used to play in repertoire! the 4ths and, minor 7ths worked fine as well, as I only needed to look at one of the notes, the second one easily fell into place!
- Things you found difficult: It is super annoying to already know the rhythm of the piece but not the associated notes with that rhythm, usually it's the other way around! It makes this Sketch so frustrating to learn, because in every bar there might be something you miss because we tend to play it a little bit too fast in the beginning since we already know the rhythm. I realized in the first bars already, that this Sketch would need a careful eye for the details, possibly will change some fingerings!
I will do a deep dive into the second half of the Sketches on Saturday (←click), I hope to see some of you there!
Sketch VII (sort of). I explain what I'm up to here in the video.
I call it Monkfish because that's a kind of fish that tastes a little like lobster, but is much less expensive (it's known as "poor man's lobster"). Sergio Assad's music is like lobster (i.e. the best). This is a little like Assad, but not as good. The score is attached below in a PDF.
Hello everyone! Hope you're all doing good. Here I post a video update on sketch V, I really enjoyed it! But I think I played it too fast
- One thing you found easy: Mostly enjoy playing this etude and the phrasing of the melodic lines.
- One thing you found difficult: Perhaps not pressing on the right place some notes with my left hand sometimes, and in some occasions I also miss some notes with my right hand. If you have some suggestions or tricks Martin on how to improve accuracy in both hands, I would kindly appreciate if you tell them to us .
Oh, and by the way, I'm trying to play currently without the pull bouy (the cushion I had in my earlier videos) and it's going pretty well I think. My back used to hurt a lot only with the footstool but now it's almost gone.
here's my progress on sketch #4 so far... that's a beautiful one for sure... the melody and harmonies are very well written in a «not too hard» piece to play... but hard to render indeed! Sergio really shines here and demonstrate how he's a genius and a master at composing for guitar!
HI everyone, here is my third take for Sketch II. It is still a challenging sketch for me . What I am trying to achieve in this third take is to hold the notes for correct duration. I do not achieve all notes with full duration in this take, but I think most of them are, and it has improved compared to my previous takes of Sketch II. Hope you can give me feedback :) Thank you
Monkfish (Sketch VII) Day 2.
This is a video edit of variations 1-5. After the fifth variation, I hop down to the two-measure ending (measures 85-86). I cannot play variations 6 and 7 yet.
I attached the score again if you want to look at it while listening.
I must say, I'm having fun with this! It feels a bit like the composition challenge with Ashley earlier this year.
Diving a little bit into Sketch XI - Chord Shapes & Arpeggios!
- Things you found easy: Puh, hitting the record button over and over again maybe?
- Things you found difficult: There are a lot of weird things happening, the most annoying thing is that you cannot fully trust your eyes to recognize a chord shape because they are so unique. However, some of the phrases just sound soooo beautiful! There are some technical intricacies which I will discuss in tomorrow's livestream!
Hey hey! I'm glad I could provide some comic relief in my first video! Perhaps this one will be a bit better. The main challenge I am having with this piece is to not be a perfectionist. I feel like I have definitely made progress on this one, but it is certainly not "error-less" just yet. I'm playing it at a speed I can handle it and have it still sound like music!
Easy: Comprehending the melody and harmonic structure and finding the beauty in the piece.
Difficult: emphasizing the accent on the "and of 4".
I'm not very certain what I should do with the days left in this challenge. Pushing ahead to the later sketches does not seem wise as they are so far beyond my technique that I don't think it would serve me or the music that well. So, today I decided to go back to Sketch II. There are some fingerings in there that I knew I was not executing well, so I wanted to work on them some more.
Here are the specific spots I worked on (see score below):
- Measure 8. I paid close attention to the right hand, using the correct fingers and damping the low E string. With the left hand, I needed to make sure to use the pinky in anticipation of the next measure.
- Measure 15. I made sure to damp the low E string again, and to use the third finger (LH) for the E.
- Measure 40. Same as measure 8 above, but this time the ring finger (LH) needs to play the high G to keep the pinky free for the first note of the next measure. It's so simple, but trying to be attentive to that while also damping the bass I find to be very difficult. It feels like trying to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.
Sketch 3. Okay, this is a first-time read-through. I only spent a minute looking over the music visually before attempting it. No where to go but up!
If you watch my face, it looks like one of those YouTube videos where people are reacting to a song they've heard for the first time. Hilarious!
Did anyone else notice that this sounded a bit like The Simpsons theme song? My wife even asked if I was learning The Simpsons song.
What was easy: The steady bass notes and the fairly consistent rhythm of the melody.
What was difficult: I wasn't expecting that high A in m. 4. Because I didn't reposition my left hand I wasn't ready for it. I will also need to work on the rests between the bass notes in the "metallic" section.
Beautiful work on these amazing etudes thanks everyone, couldn't resist but to get involved.
I have been enjoying playing most of them and realised quickly 3 weeks is not long enough for me to get deep into all of these, I'd probably need 3 years. I've decided to start at no 1 all the same.
I found that most of it went in my fingers quite easily and I enjoyed experimenting with different vibes and textures in the 4 parts.
I found some fingerings hard: LH 1st and 2nd finger on fret 1 and 3rd on fret 3. RH on the last section the chromatic bass run caused issues. I found it difficult getting it all to sit together in a performance.
Enjoying this so much! Any feedback appreciated.