Week 1: Monsters come in all shapes and sizes!

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of "Monsters of Nylon" practice challenge! 

  1. Select a "Monster of Nylon" or a piece that you have been trying to solve for a longer period of time. 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 "Monsters of Nylon" 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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    • Jack Stewart
    • Retired
    • Jack_Stewart
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    ‘Welcome to the last week of monsters of nylon challenge’?
    Since we’re starting at the last week shouldn’t the watch party be first?

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      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart fixed it!!

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    • Jack Stewart this is a new concept, we start with the watch party and then go backward by un-learning pieces! 😅

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

      Blaise Laflamme I am way ahead of everyone in unlearning pieces!

      Like 2
    • Jack Stewart you want to challenge me on that! 😆

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

      Jack Stewart Blaise Laflamme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52EQG3SsGZo

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

      Jack Stewart Blaise Laflamme btw, an interesting fact about this recording: the backing guitar fills apparently come courtesy of Chet Atkins, who was the record's producer. If true, it's one of the few 'solos' from Chet that I could actually manage to play!

      Like 1
    • David Krupka indeed very interesting... you now have to find an arrangement of this piece for solo guitar! 😅

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  • martin Great topic for this month.  I am planning to participate but may be a bit busy/preoccupied getting ready for a two-month trip to the UK and Ireland beginning on October 3rd.  Nevertheless, my plan is to work on the first movement of Carlevaro's seminal piece, the sonata, Cronomias.  I always wanted to learn this piece so this is a great challenge to motivate me to at least work on the first movement.  I am attaching an incredible live performance of Cronomias by Eduardo Fernandez.  

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    • Dale Needles what a piece Dale! I'll follow your progress on this very interesting Sonata.

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      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 8 mths ago
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      Dale Needles Wow! This is an amazing piece. I am really looking forward to seeing your progress on this. Unfortunately my ‘attendance’ for this challenge is spotty at best.

      Btw I couldn’t help but notice that Eduardo had some major strings squeaks around 8:45 or so.🫢😉

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    • Jack Stewart Blaise Laflamme Thanks, I plan to post the A section of the first movement this weekend. BTW, Jack, how is Spain?

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    • Dale Needles looking forward to hear it!

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    • Wainull
    • Wai_Ng
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi everyone! After taking a break from the guitar for a month, I'm ready to jump back into the challenge this month. Oh, hold on! What? "Monster pieces" this month!? Alright then, I'll catch you all in the next challenge!~ 😄

    Like 1
    • Wainull
    • Wai_Ng
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Fantasia que Contrahaze la Harpa en la Manera de Ludovico - Alonsa Mudarra

    Since it's so quiet here, please let me share the piece I'm currently working on. It is a piece I really love to listen to, although it is not a "Monster piece" by any means, but it did pose a challenge for me at my current playing level (to me, it's a beast at least😅).

    I've been practicing this piece for over 2 weeks, yet I still can't play it smoothly. The second half, in particular, is quite fast and requires constant changing pivoting points between the 1st and 4th fingers (which reminds me of Carlevaro's exercises) – a truly challenging task.

    I plan to continue practicing it for 1 or 2 more weeks, hoping to achieve a better version next time. 

    Like 7
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Wai You're off to fine start with this, Wai! I think it's entirely appropriate to consider this fantasia a 'monster' in the sense intended here: it is by no means an easy piece!! In particular, the sixteenth-note runs leading up to the final cadence are 'scary' enough for just about anyone. And as you point out, there are a lot of awkward fingerings in the second half generally. (All those Carlevaro exercises you've been posting are really paying off!) One thing I notice is that the tuning of your guitar is a bit off here - I suspect the capo is the culprit. I've observed in various concerts I've attended that guitarists tend to tune up before putting a capo on, rather than after, assuming that the instrument will continue to be in tune. But the capo seems to have a slight distorting effect on the strings, so it is necessary to fine tune once the capo is in position - especially, I find, when using 'renaissance' tuning. I would check to make sure the important intervals (i.e. important in the key you are playing in) are 'correct'. (Trust your ear rather than your tuner!) I love that you're using p-i alternation for the scale passages here, but it's worth recalling that there is considerable uncertainty about right hand technique among the vihuelists. It is known that two manners of plucking were widely recognized in 16th c. Spain, called 'dos dedos' ('two digits') and 'dedillo' (a single finger (the index) moved back and forth across the strings). The former was considered more refined; the latter was reserved for fast passages requiring a virtuosic flair. (Mudarra indicates in his publication where 'dedilo'' is to be employed; it is not used at all in this particular fantasia.) The question remains as to just what was meant by 'dos dedos'. Some modern interpreters have taken it to mean two fingers (i.e. index and middle); others believe it implies thumb and index, as in lute technique. Evangelina Mascardi employs a rather creative approach in her own performance of this piece, as can be seen clearly in this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljiSViKkZa0

      Like 1
    • Wai great start Wai, you already have most of it under your fingers. As David says, it's by no mean an easy piece and it fits this challenge all the way, if it's not a monster it's at least a must!!

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

      Wai this is really nice! Great start!

      Like 1
      • Romy
      • romy
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      I didn‘t know the piece, it sounds very nice. Have fun and success with practicing!

      Like 1
    • Wai that is a really good start of this challenging piece, Wai. Great sound. Nice tempo. Mind the tuning, as David already mentioned, and keep the pulse in the fast passages at the end. What a great piece this is. Thank you for submitting.

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    • Wai  This is definitively a ''monster piece'' at least for me 😂

      Well done and thanks for sharing

      Like 1
      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      David Krupka Thanks so much, David. I found that using p-i was really comfortable and makes sense when playing this piece (although I didn't strictly follow the 'p for downbeat & i for upbeat' pattern). Evangelina Mascardi's version was mind-blowing. In my opinion, she is truly one of the best early plucked instrument players.

      Like 1
      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme don Romy Andre Bernier Thank you, guys. At first, I thought it wasn't that difficult, but after two weeks of practice, I found that it's more difficult than it looks.

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      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje Thanks, Joosje. "Keeping the pulse in the fast passages at the end" is the most difficult part of this piece🤣. I think I need to memorize it and do more slow practice over the next two weeks.

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

      Wai I agree, Evangelina is really a great musician. Her recent recording of the complete Bach 'lute' music is among the best interpretations of this repertoire I've heard. I did notice that you are not using p-i alternation in an entirely conventional manner, but hesitated to say anything about it. Since you bring it up, I would urge you to try to develop the habit of always using 'p' for the downbeats. (I guess when starting out with this technique, string-crossing can seem problematic, but eventually it should feel very 'natural'.) The 'fast passages' near the end are definitely a stumbling block in this piece. (Well, perhaps not for Evangelina!) My approach here would be to work out the right hand fingering on its own and make sure I could get it at tempo before adding in the left hand. Personally, I would use strict p-i alternation for the scale segments, as Evangelina does. (Your own fingering at the moment looks sub-optimal to me.) I would also omit the left-hand trill that you add, at least until the passage flows well on its own without it. (Although trills do sometimes occur in renaissance music, they are much more a baroque-era device, and should (imo) be used sparingly for the earlier period. But there are no 'rules' about this, and you should certainly do what makes sense to you.) I look forward to hearing how your interpretation develops!

      Like 1
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