WEEK 1: Exploring Carcassi's Etudes

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the composition challenge! This is the place to post updates for the first week.


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 it!
  • (Optional:) questions

↓ Reply below with your updates and questions! ↓

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  • Study 14.

    When I found out about this challenge, I simply did not want to wait to get started, so I've been working on Study 14 for three days now. I chose this study because I really want to improve my right hand damping, especially of open-string bass notes. By my count, there are 21 times that open bass strings need to be muted in this piece (see the score below). I find this basic technique to be quite challenging. When I focus on damping the basses, I tend to mess up all the other notes. It always feels like I am trying to pat my head, rub my belly, and recite poetry all at the same time.

    I have posted two videos here:

    Video 1: This is an initial run-through of the piece, after I had made some choices about fingering. It's very slow, and with only a few exceptions I am not damping the bass notes.

    Video 2: (Sorry the lighting is so poor) This is after three days of practice. I practiced it in three sections, one section per day. In the video, I am trying to dampen all the appropriate bass notes, but I did miss a few. The tempo is a bit higher. I also changed a few fingerings for this one. Regrettably, I decided to play the bass runs (like in measure 10, for example) with all thumb. I know this is not the most efficient, but it's easier on my hand and brain right now. I decided that I wanted to focus more on damping than on these bass runs. If I continue to progress, I will probably want to go back to playing those runs with alternating fingers.

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    • Eric Phillips great start Eric, what an improvement over 3 days of practice... you're on fire! I think you're already up for an award about «most submissions before the challenge starts» 😂... thanks for being you, you made my day!

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    • Blaise Laflamme 

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      • Brett Gilbert
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      Eric Phillips Awesome!  Love seeing the progress from day 1 to 3.  It sounds perfect to me, but you're going to continue to refine before moving to another?   I started practicing last week as well, and am starting with no. 1 which is a big challenge for me but there are no less than 2 lessons and 1 amazing livestream from Martin (which I just found yesterday) devoted to study no. 1 on tonebase. 

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    • Brett Gilbert Thanks, Brett! I will continue to work on number 14, but I'll probably work on some others at the same time. I'd like to get number 14 faster and with more musicality added. My big goal is the get to a point where I am damping basses without thinking too much about it so it does not completely distract me from everything else going on at the moment.

      No more logical place to start than number 1! In my opinion, it is not the easiest in the collection by a long shot, especially if played at the marked tempo. I look forward to hearing from you, although like most people, you will probably wait until the challenge actually begins before posting! 😄

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    • Eric Phillips wow Eric, after only three days, you got it close to perfect, ready for performance. That's really impressive! Keep on the good work :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen Thank you, Khiem!

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    • Eric Phillips Bravo!!!👋

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Grazie, Giuseppe!

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    • Eric Phillips Well done Eric! I like it a lot. And the damping is very smooth.

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    • Emma Thank you, Emma!

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  • Nice work, Eric. Big improvement from day one to three, as one would expect. I don't see (or hear!) anything 'regrettable' in your choosing to use the r.h. thumb for the bass string passages. Actually, I'm pretty sure this is what Carcassi intended, even if modern approaches are a little different. It's certainly what I would do. (Not much of an endorsement, I admit ...) I'm curious to know what your bracketed annotations (P4/5/6) indicate. Is this for 'preparation' of the thumb? Can I ask also about the last three measures, which you seem to play in 'double time'. Musically, this sounds quite convincing, but it is not how I understand the score.

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    • David Krupka Hi David. Thanks for listening. Regarding the use of thumb alone for the bass runs, I don't have enough knowledge of Carcassi's intention to respond intelligently. It simply seems to me that to be able to play this at higher speeds, alternation would be helpful. My bracketed annotations are telling me to damp the indicated strings with the thumb at those places in the music. I've seen this annotation used by others, and it made sense to me, so I borrowed it. Regarding the last three measures - you are absolutely correct! I am (unintentionally) playing it too fast. Just now, I tried playing it correctly, and it honestly did not sound as good to me, but maybe that's just because I've been practicing it the wrong way. I'm curious to listen to the recordings of the piece from others now.

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  • Hi Eric. I've just had a look at Carcassi's 'Methode Complete, Op.59' and he does state explicitly that the three bass strings are to be plucked with the thumb. (Page 10 of the Schott edition, under the heading 'Main droite'.) This is also apparent in the musical examples, where the thumb is indicated with a '+' sign. Thanks for explaining your annotation - it makes good sense, although I must say that I don't pay much attention to this sort of detail myself. I tend to mute strings only when my ear is 'offended' by a harmonic clash. I guess my approach isn't very systematic, but I'm lazy ... Also, I generally play with pretty dead strings (I change them perhaps twice a year) so they mute themselves soon enough! About the ending, what seems curious is that the way you played it sounds about right for a cadence. But that would suggest that the eighth notes needed to be moving a lot faster, even though your choice of tempo doesn't seem unreasonable. I wonder what Carcassi had in mind. Is it possible he (or perhaps the editor) mis-notated his intention?

     

    https://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/9/92/IMSLP34490-PMLP77530-boije-1129.pdf

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    • David Krupka Well, I guess I was channeling my inner Carcassi! (or at least my thumb was 🙂)

      I am normally quite lazy myself regarding damping, to the point of ignoring it. I have recently been working on the technique, however, so I thought I'd use this study as an opportunity.

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  • Study 2

    I watched the new video lesson on this etude by Tengyue Zhang, and I loved it so much that I just had to give it a go. I've played it before many moons ago, but the lesson made me want to really work on it and make it fresh and new.

    In the lesson, Tengyue suggested playing it very slowly for an entire week, so that is just what I will be doing. The tempo in the video is VERY slow (if you don't listen to the whole thing, that's fine 🙂). I also decided to use the right hand pattern p-i-m-a-m-a-m-a in order to work on my m-a independence.

    What was easy: It's so beautiful and expressive that it is a joy to practice.

    What was difficult: Getting consistency of tone between the m and a fingers. It was also challenging to keep the tempo so slow (I did not want to use a metronome).

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    • Eric Phillips nice soulful interpretation Eric! You have your right hand fingering choice really well planned! I think TY's advice to stick to slow tempo for a week is a good strategy. Speeding up next week will be easier while maintaining the good control.

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    • Khiem Nguyen Thanks, Khiem, that’s the plan. At the slow speed, I’m trying to pay close attention to the details.

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    • Eric Phillips great job Eric, it is very hard to keep the slow tempo without a metronome. And it also need patience. 

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      Gokce Turkmendag Yes, keeping a slow tempo needs discipline, it feels a lot like meditation! Glad to have you back in the Forums!!

      Eric Phillips wonderful, very clear and as Khiem Nguyen mentioned very soulful! Have you tried to place the thumb one of the lower strings for added stability while playing a-m-a-m-a?

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    • Gokce Turkmendag Thank you, Gokce. Good to hear from you again!

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    • Martin I will give it a try and let you know! I worry that it will give me one more thing to think about while playing, but maybe with practice muscle memory will take over.

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    • Eric Phillips I am preparing this one too! I was hesitating to record it because it was too slow but now that I see you,  I may do ;). I am like you using this to exercise my a m but it sounds less warm than when I do with i m, I am trying changing the attack but nevertheless. The lesson of tonebase of T Z is great. You play this study very beautifully and you are adding a lot of musicality and interpretation (that I could not feel in the study 14). It is beautiful, congratulations!!!

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    • Emma Thank you again, Emma. I look forward to hearing you play it!

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    • Martin Hi Martin. When I try placing the thumb on a lower string, I find that it makes the piece almost unplayable for me. It seems to change the angle of attack for my fingers and makes it very difficult to execute the arpeggio. It feels very much like when Mircea was trying to help me to do arpeggios with preparation during the virtuosity challenge. It's so unlike the way my hand normally plays. I think to do this, I would need to retrain my right hand to work in an entirely different way.

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      Eric Phillips Totally forgot to adress that, so sorry, I will post a video which talks about that topic! 🥳

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    • Eric Phillips very subtle, Eric! really liked it. Perhaps I'll do this one next 😬 I'd like to train those m-a-m-a strokes as well 🙌  

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  • love your work and progress Eric, really inspiring, thankyou, I am a bit reluctant to join the challenge, as not sure how to record and make the sound acceptable. i will continue to practice the pieces though and hope i can improve, cheers Deb Covell Newcastle Australia.

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    • Deb Covell Thanks for listening, Deb. I used to make all my videos just with my phone, which worked fine. Now I use my laptop, but with a USB microphone that I picked up for about $30 (U.S. dollars), since the microphone in my laptop is so poor. Some people only make audio recordings with a phone, which is fine. Some people use much more sophisticated recording equipment, which is wonderful, but I'd rather not invest that kind of money (or time) right now. I say just start by using whatever is easiest for you. And of course, if you prefer simply to post about your progress without a recording, that's great too. What matters most is you practicing the pieces and finding joy in the music. 😃🎼🎶

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      Deb Covell  Hey Deb! You can always join the challenge no matter if you decide to share via text, audio or video! 🚀 But as Eric Phillips said, recording yourself with a smartphone is more than enough for that challenge, you can then upload the video as an unlisted video on YouTube or directly share the file here (if it‘s smaller then 50mb) 📽 Let us know if you need help with the upload process!

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    • Eric Phillips thanks Eric will give it a go recordingAm currently practicing Etude 1 & 2 thanks for your support 

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    • Deb Covell That’s great! I look forward to hearing from you! 😀

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  • Hi everyone, so here is my first video about Etude no. 7. I first learned it last year and I started to rehearse it a few days ago.

     

    Things I find easy: sight reading

    Things I found difficult: almost everything else. Also memory slip, because it is a longer piece among the etudes. And secondly, my left hand fingering's decision slightly changes when a section repeated, it can confuse me. I looked rather relax in the video but actually inside, I was nervous and stressed out of worrying to play a wrong note. :D

     

    I got one note wrong in this video. It is in measure 24th when that section is repeated close to the end of the piece. The highlighted E-note I played D due to nervousness. I will polish the piece again and hope to not hit a wrong note in the future retakes. Thank you for watching :)

    Like 7
    • Khiem Nguyen Wow! This is incredible, Khiem! I did not notice the incorrect note at all. All I noticed was beautiful music and a player who looks strong and confident. Good work!

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    • Eric Phillips that is really nice of you Eric. Thank you for encouraging me! :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen nice and clear sound, good job!

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    • Gokce Turkmendag thank you Gokce! :)

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      Khiem Nguyen WOW! So powerful!!! What a strong entrance into the challenge, I loved it! I think some passages in this etude can benefit a lot from planting p-i-a for some of the patterns and you should take a look at toe position change of your hand for the last apoyando note in a given section! I would only do a drastic shift like that if I would want to cut the resonances of the lover strings with the back of my thumb, in that case though I'd probably do that with my left hand!
      Here's a video for you, hopefully that gives you some more ideas!

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    • Khiem Nguyen Wow what a speed!!! I especially like how the melody of the thumb is enhanced and warm. Congratulations on your interpretation!!!

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    • Martin Hi Martin, I am so thankful to you for making a feedback video for my performance. :) I watched it over and over again and I got really a lot of good tips. I will try to apply the planting of p-i-a in measure 2 to cut the resonance of the open high E string. And I will try to eliminate the occasional buzz. :) The  apoyando at the end of measure 8, I was using it to cut the vibration of the open string A(5th string) with the back of my thumb. You are right, at lower speed I find it okay, but at the performance speed, it is a bit risky to miss it with the big right hand shift. I really like the idea of cutting the bass string resonance with the left hand, and use finger 3 to fret the A in 1st string, so that finger 1 and 2 can mute the bass strings. I will definitely try it out and hope to submit another video after practicing those ideas soon :)

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    • Emma thank you a lot Emma! :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen Bravo!!! I have prepared that too! you master it much better!

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    • Emma thank you a lot Emma! I have also watched your etude no. 7; it is indeed a good job. Please see my comments under your video :)

      Like
    • Khiem Nguyen Nice one, Khiem! Really secure playing 💪 nice clear tone, and really liked how you were standing out the melodies throughout the piece!

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    • Daniel Beltrán thank you a lot Daniel! Let us keep on the good work :)

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  • Great to see a Carcassi challenge underway! I worked through a few of these when I got the scores a couple of years ago. This challenge is prompting me to jump back in and, like @eric, I’m planning to dig out No. 14 😊

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    • Mark That’s great, Mark! Like me, you seem to be one who looks at a big cake and says, “I’ll take the middle piece.” 😃

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      • Mark
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      Eric Phillips ha, yes & I’m thinking No.14 would make a good daily warm up piece. I started Carcassi a couple of years ago and did 1, 2, 3, 4 & 7 before being drawn back to my main pieces, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it (with Tonebase motivation!)

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      Mark Awesome, those etudes offer a vast variety of possible topics to work on, glad to see you join the Challenge, we look forward to your updates! 🥳🙌🚀

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  • Hi everyone, so here is my second take of Etude 7 after about 1 hour of practicing with dotted rythm at 105bpm. I heard about this method but never really tried it out until a few hours ago, I gave it a try and practice using dotted rythm. I can see it seems to work on me quite well. At least it is a way for me to achieve control at higher speed without feeling tense in my hands. :)

    Like 8
    • Khiem Nguyen It got even better! Your technique is flawless, and it has great musicality too. I’ll have to try your practice tip. It obviously works well for you!

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    • Eric Phillips thank you Eric! I was amazed by the effectiveness of the dotted rythm method. I regret I did not give that method a try earlier. I highly recommend it :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen how wonderful good👋

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    • Khiem Nguyen Bravo Khiem. Your playing is very secure. Lovely to listen to.

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini and Derek thank you so much ^_^

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      Khiem Nguyen Awesome! Not one piece with continuous 16th notes goes by without me absolutely mangling it through all different rhythms! It always feels like a new piece for your right hand and will make it so much for flexible! Great job!

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    • Martin it reassures me about the effectiveness of playing with different rythm for the arpeggios pieces when you say you do it too, Martin. And yes, it feels like a new piece for your right hand when you play with different rythm :) And thank you Martin :)

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      • Brett Gilbert
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      Khiem Nguyen This was impressive, and thanks for pointing out the dotted rhythm technique.  That's a great tip.

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    • Brett Gilbert thank you a lot Brett! :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen excellent performance! Very relaxed and controlled.

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    • david robinson thank you a lot David! :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen nice improvement! I hear the effectiveness of the dotted rythm practise, the piece sounds more precise 😎

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    • Daniel Beltrán thank you Daniel. The dotted rythm seems to be very effective in improving precision. I will use this practicing method more from now on ^_^

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  • I'm working on 1-2-3 are not easy at all😣😂

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini I think the categories should be difficult, more difficult, and impossible. 

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Right Giuseppe. There seems to be no Carcassi etude that is easy :D 

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      Giuseppe Gasparini Uuuuh, especially the first one is a killer, so much stumbling blocks for the right hand! 🔪

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  • Study 14.

    Here's another take at this piece, a bit faster and with (I hope) a bit more musicality. I'm not sure, but I think this may be my last submission of this piece!

    I apologize for the beeping sound at 1:08. I received a notification on my laptop at that moment!

    Like 2
    • Eric Phillips Bravissimo!!!👋👋

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Sei molto gentile, Giuseppe.

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      • Mark
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      Eric Phillips good work 👍

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    • Mark Thanks, Mark!

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    • Eric Phillips faster and fluent, really nice Eric! Bass lines sounds full and rich! Singing beautiful melody line! :) 

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      Eric Fantastic!!! I avoided this etude so far as I am not the biggest fan of those long melodic scales, but you make them flow so wonderfully, it was a joy to listen to! Your right hand action gives a lot of clarity to the piece. Currently,  I have the feeling that your left hand is more centered between the index and the middle finger, when you start to play with 3-4 it does look a little bit unstable (it does happen to me as well though when I still need need to read a score), maybe last run through in slow-motion with a focus on left hand stability might get rid of that! 🦔

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    • Khiem Nguyen Thank you, Khiem!

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    • Martin Great, I will try that too!

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    • Eric Phillips lovely!!!

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  • Study 2 update.

    I'm still playing it very slowly, but now I'm trying to add what Tengyue Zhang called micro dynamic shapes in his video lesson. Basically, I'm trying to give each arpeggio a hairpin dynamic. Let me know if it works!

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  • I have started on no 2, 3, 7 and 16. I played 3 many years ago, but I see that I have problems with the barres. For 16 I am using an arrangement in higher position, which gives the piece a dark and introvert character. However I think it adds quite a few technical difficulties. However I am glad to escape the barre in first position.

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    • Gunnar Those are four of the best ones. I like to play number 16 with the melody on the second string as much as possible. It just sings better than the first string. It could be done one way the first time and the other way on the repeat.

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      Gunnar Great, looking forward to further updates from you! It's a great selection!

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  • Yes, exactly, I have thought about what you suggested about the repeat

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  • Martin, love the Carcassi Challenge.  These are a wonderful set of Etudes and working on them again is like reuniting with old friends.  I plan to work on three Etudes per week and am working off the Llobet edition with edits and fingering by Abel Carlevaro.  

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      Dale Needles Awesome, glad to have you on board, feel free to share some Carlevaro insights with us!!! 🥳Awesome that this Challenge helped you rediscover those etudes!

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    • Dale Needles great Dale! Hope to hear some video updates by you and to see those Carlevaro fingerings and techniques 🙌

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  • Study 9.

    I've worked on a scale etude (14) and an arpeggio etude (2), so now I'm going to try a slur etude. I really like number 9, and I've never played it before, so that's what I'm choosing. The video is just an initial reading of the piece. I will continue to work on it and post my progress. I apologize for the mistaken G natural in measure 26.

    What was easy: It has a very clear form and phrasing and it is very guitaristic, generally fitting well under the fingers.

    What was difficult:

    • Measure 2 - The slur from G# to F# in the second beat requires a quick position shift (at least the way I'm playing it).
    • Measure 19 - The pull-off from the twelfth fret to the open string could be hard to execute cleanly. I might just play it without a pull-off.
    • Measure 23 - The transition from measure 22 to 23 will need work.
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    • Eric Phillips very nice Eric. You have a great tone

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    • Eric Phillips Congratulations, knowing how to read so well makes everything easier, there is a lot to learn from you, bravo !!!👍

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    • Derek Thanks, Derek.

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Thanks, Giuseppe!

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      • Brett Gilbert
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      Eric Phillips Just catching up with things as I've been busy.  Enjoyed this very much and #2 as well.  Technical questions: The audio on this seems better than on #2, what kind of mic did you use to record this?  I'm trying to up my recording quality.  Also, I'm curious what string set do you use?  At this pace you'll get through most of them!  I started on #1 last week and have realized it is a big stretch for my ability but I've decided to forge ahead even if it's the only etude I complete for this challenge.

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    • Eric Phillips bravo Eric!!! and it is the initial run through!!!

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    • Brett Gilbert Thanks for listening, Brett. I used the same mic on everything here, so maybe it’s just a different placement. It’s nothing fancy - it’s a USB mic that I got at Walmart for about $30-40. I think the brand is Samson. I just plug it into my laptop and clip it onto the top. As for strings, I just use the standard D’Addario strings available everywhere for $9.99 (but sometimes on sale). I experimented a little with different strings and even mixing and matching, but I decided about a year ago that I’m fine with these, they are reliable, and they are cheap. I know some players really get into finding the “perfect” strings, but I’d rather put my time and energy into playing. They really sound just fine to me.

      As for you focusing on one piece, that’s really the way to do it. Any one of these pieces could easily be practiced for well over three weeks, especially the first one.

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    • Brett Gilbert Here's a pic of the strings and mic I use. The strings are D'Addario EJ45. The mic is a Samson Go.

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    • Emma Thanks, Emma. I'm having a blast with this one. It is so much fun to play!

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    • Eric Phillips hey Eric, i heard  your update before this one. You’re doing great and make such fast progress all the time .  It’s a joy following you in these challenges….

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    • joosje Thanks, Joosje. This is a really fun one to play!

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  • This is my first ever forum and Community Challenge so I hope I get it right. In the past I have studied many of these etudes, usually with a teacher's guidance, so I decided to use this challenge to learn some new ones. I'm starting with #11. For me, the notes, rhythms, and chord shapes came easily. More difficult was deciding whether to play the notes somewhat detached or legato. In the end, I am playing them detached for 2 reasons. First, I think it's easier for me to create the feeling of "Agitato" with the notes detached. Second, since most of my playing needs to be legato (I play in a guitar ensemble)  this is an opportunity to refresh the techniques involved in detaching them. I'm still working on fingerings in a few places, but have played the piece every day since Monday.

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    • Peg Hi Peg. Whenever I read though this study, I also employ a non-legato touch. I don't know that I've ever considered why - it just seems 'natural' for the piece. I think you're right that it lends an 'agitato' character. Btw, I don't think there's anything to get 'wrong' in these challenges. If you participate, in whatever manner, you've done it 'right'! (Says the guys who has yet to post a single video ...)

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    • Peg That sounds great, Peg. I think that will fit this piece perfectly. I’ve never played that one, but it’s nice. It reminds me of Sor.

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      Peg This is a great update, thank you for sharing your thought process with No.11! Your approach seems perfectly fitting to me!

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  • I've been playing #1 since last week but it's a big stretch for my abilities at this stage so I'm putting it aside for now (will come back later) and trying #16 to work on my "tone", so my update is for starting #16...

    • Things you found easy: Slower tempo gives time to shift but...
    • Things you found difficult: There still is a lot of shifting up the fretboard which is great practice for learning upper positions but slow going for now.
    • (Optional): a video of you performing it!  Maybe next week if I can practice enough....
    • (Optional:) questions.  In the excellent tonebase video from Sabrina (sad backstory, but so nice her lessons are preserved here), she uses this interesting (advanced?) technique to make a beautiful tone.  I can't replicate it so would one generally use rest stroke to bring out the melody?  To get softer tone better to play closer to fretboard and/or hit string at an angle?  Maybe I just need to change my strings and I'll sound like Eric. :)
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    • Brett Gilbert I’ll let Martin respond to your question about rest stroke. But you’re right, for me it’s all about the strings! If only I could get a set of the strings Martin uses I’d be all set. 😁

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      Brett Gilbert Eric Phillips Puh, strings are a fascinating topic and I want to invite some manufacturers to a Livestream to gain a little deeper insight! My favorite mix consists of a Augustine Regal 1st string (the one in the violet packaging), then 2nd and 3rd Savarez Alliance, and for the basses D‘Addario Composites. But since the music store of my choice retired it‘s a little complicated to get hold of a mix like that for a decent price, which is why I am currently trying different sets (and I am never quite as happy as I have been before). 

      I‘ve been applying this kind of apoyando as well, but currently I try to keep my hand a little bit more steady. I am not quite sure why it does sound the way it does, I think it might have something to do with the angle we are plucking the string. I do a similar approach when I have full chords in open position (where a-m-i are not on adjacent strings). This diagonal attack is rounder, and fuller, but it comes at a price - an increased instability of the right hand. In slow pieces (Like the intro of La Catedral that Sabrina is showing in the video or in this particular etude), we might be willing to pay that price!

      We can talk about a little about tone production in the next interactive Live Stream as stability will be a topic in Carcassis No.7 as well!

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  • Hello everyone, 

    I am wasan, it is very nice to see you all this challenge, I have been practicing No.3 and the things I found is easy is right hand arpeggio is simple and not complicated mostly is triplet, the things I found is hard could be play with legato and more dynamic,I play with metronome tempo 54 and I use my cellphone to take the video sound quality might not good anyway I will practicing for no. 2,7 and 21 to challenge myself in the future or if I have more time, Thanks! 

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    • wasan Hello, Wasan, I’m glad you joined the challenge! That piece sounds great and is coming along nicely. It sounds very legato to me, and I did hear dynamics. More will come with practice, I am certain. Great work!

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      Eric Phillips Thank you !🙂

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    • wasan Bravo!!!👋

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    • wasan good work. You make it sound really smooth and musical.

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    • wasan well done! beautiful...

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      Giuseppe Gasparini thank you 🙂

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      Emma Thanks ☺️

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      joosje Thanks 😊

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    • wasan nicely phrased! Bravo! :)

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      wasan what a beautiful tone you have! I have some recommendations for the first part to increase your legato, it as a lot to do with common and guide fingers!

       

      Bar 1, second line: I change to 2 and 3 for „a“ and „c#“ which prepares me for the chord in the next bar, because I can leave my 3rd finger already in place! The 3rd finger will be even more important for the shift into the B major 7 chord!

      For that, I slide with the third finger until the d# on the second string and leave it there, placing the 4th finger on the 5th fret for e and the 2nd finger on the f# on the 4th string. But the most important part is to leave the 3rd finger on the 2nd string as it will help you shift into position and stabilize your left hand for that chord. It is a little bit awkward at first, but the 3rd finger as guide finger which will not be employed at first will greatly benefit that shift! Let me know if that helps 🚀

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    • wasan Really wonderful tone! 👏

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      Martin that's really smooth fingering well, I try it first It's a bit awkward but will help for shift that like you mentioned so I really appreciated your advise, thanks

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      Daniel Beltrán Thank you!

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  • I've recently looked at  3 and 7 (which I've played many years ago) and also no 1 so I'm looking at some new ones this week and have a go at 3,7 and 1 next week. Will choose some more to concentrate on in the last week.  So this week's are 8, 10 and 16.  (I think they are as I'm using the Schott GA 2 version which has 7 as 9).

     

    Things I found easy: Nothing too technically difficult, all are fairly easy to read.

     

    Things I found hard: 7; keeping the slur consistent, and in bar 10 I was originally moving down to 1st position and changing strins which I found hard but realised I could stay on the same strings by moving up then moving up again in the following bar and eventually using the open strings in bar 12 to move to 1st position.

    10; again keeping the slurs consistent.  16; I originally played the melody line with 'a' an used m and i for the accompaniment but then struggled with maintaining this when the lower part got on to the lower strings so now using mainly m for the melody and p and i for the accompaniment.

    Hope to post videos by the weekend.

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    • Derek Sounds good. Looking forward to hearing you play, Derek!

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    • Derek I wait with pleasure😊

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      Derek wonderful! That‘s interesting, I will take a look at your fingering in Etude no.7, maybe you want to present that in the upcoming interactive class? 🙋🏻‍♂️

      I will definitely take a look at 16 as well, it is so gorgeous! I think it‘s not too important to keep a consistent fingering as long as the effect you want to achieve is consistent. I also think about doing the first accompaniment with m-i as those fingers just sound better on the higher strings than the thumb! Once the lower strings come, I would change to the thumb as it reduces drastically the amount of scratchy noises and prevents a fully exposed open position!

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  • Read through 14 yesterday and practising again today  - cycling round to bar 20 and back for now.

    Fairly straightforward but finding it a bit of a tongue-twister …it’s easy to fall off! Slow practice for now to get it into my muscle memory!

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    • Mark Yes, it’s like a train that keeps chugging along.

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      Mark Oh yeah, that one is a tough one to read and especially to memorize, but for this particular Etude  Eric Phillips is indeed the specialist!

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    • Martin I am certainly no specialist! Martin could probably play it better than me with his eyes closed, hands tied behind his back, and playing a cheap toy guitar! 😁

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  • Number 9 update.

    I've been practicing this for a couple days now and I made a recording of where it's at.

    What was easy: It is really fun to play, and I found it very easy to memorize for some reason.

    What was difficult: The transition from measure 22 to 23 is still causing me difficulty. I would also like to develop a plan for adding more musicality to it.

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    • Eric Phillips really good fluency, nice slurs Eric. This piece has a fun and joyful melody and harmonic! :)

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    • Khiem Nguyen Thanks, Khiem. The A section and first half of the B section seem playful and almost humorous to me. The second half of the B section gets more serious, however, before the A section returns. I’m trying to think of the best way to bring all this out in the way I play it.

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    • Eric Phillips Very good, as always👋👋

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini Thank you, Giuseppe!

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    • Eric Phillips wow, beautiful as always, Eric. I think you could take more freedom as this is such a lyrical piece, it can have some more rubato. You have already such great control over the technical challenges that you could afford to give it a go….

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    • joosje I agree. I wanted to get it under my fingers first.

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      Giuseppe Gasparini Guiseppe! When will we see and hear you? 🥳 

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      Eric Phillips super cool, Eric! It‘s a very humoristico piece, I think once you apply a little more staccato approach it‘ll clear things up more in terms of dynamic developement! Sometimes those effect can carry you a long way, especially in miniatures like that! Btw., it looks like you‘re additionally making this an Etude for a-i scales and a-repetitions? 👨🏻‍🏫😈

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    • Martin I’ll be honest, I am barely giving any thought at all to my right hand. I know I repeat the a finger a lot, like a bad habit. As for the a-i scales, that often just feels more natural to me, especially for those little ascending scales at the cadences for some reason.

      I will try adding some staccato, but this is something I have never really done in a thought-out way, so I’ll see what happens.

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      Eric Phillips There is a perfectly fine reason for the preferring a-i over i-m: Most people's index and ring finger are much closer together in length than index and middle finger. That makes it easier to have a balanced right hand position because the same angular rotation of the knuckles will touch the same point on the plane of strings (whof, that sounded weird). a-i will generally reach its limit when you want to speed up because of the way the tendon for a-finger is connected.

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    • Martin I think your new nickname should be the Hand Doctor! Did you go to medical school? Seriously, thank you for your insights. 🙏

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      Eric Phillips Actually, I once was invited by an ENT specialist to teach some med students some basic guitar techniques because those need a lot of sensitivity in their fingers and for that I needed to freshen up my anatomy knowledge of the hand, because they'd probably know better than me, haha! 👨‍⚕️

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    • Martin That’s it, you are now officially the Hand Doctor to me!

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      Eric Phillips I can live with that! 👨‍⚕️😂

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    • Martin Hi Martin, I am always working on it, this is a difficult period to record, I am a tennis player and I do Tournaments, so little time and very hot, however in the week I think I will record the N ° 3 and I am watching your lesson, Thanks🙂

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    • Eric Phillips Very nice interpretation! 

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    • david robinson Thank you, David!

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  • Hello everyone, 

    I was hesitant to try No 6 because it seems less interesting than the other Etude but after I started practicing I found it very enjoyable. I enjoy trying to make this (what seems like) didactic piece to sound musical, trying different ways to shape the phrasing of the moving lines. 
    Thing I found easy: Easy sight reading
    Things I found hard: (1) Balancing the volume on the top and lower parts (2) keep the tempo steady and not rushing and (3) like I said above, trying to make it singing and musical

    So this is a recording after 2 days of practice :)
    Quarter note ~108

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    • Stella That was wonderful, Stella! I thought you made it sound very musical. I particularly liked the contrasts you gave to the A and B sections, and the contrasts you gave to the smaller parts that repeat in the last section. That was also a very challenging tempo, quite brisk. Thank you so much for submitting this!

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    • Stella bravo!!!! Week done!!!! 

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    • Stella very well played good👋👋

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    • Stella very  good musicality Stella! :)

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    • Stella very musical. I’d like to hear base melody in the b part more clearly, but overall, great job. 

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      Thank you for the comments and suggestions everyone!

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      Stella This has been stellar! ✨💫 (Sorry for the pun, hehe)

      This has been very well done, it‘s not an easy one to perform in tempo and not tying a knot in your left hand! Some connections can be improved through certain techniques of preparation and maybe a different fingering, I took the liberty and marked passages in the score where I recognized some minor issues!

      It‘s mostly a question of preparing the finger early enough so that there is no audible gap in a certain line (for example right between the 2nd and 3rd bar, I‘d probably try to prepare left hand fingers 4 and 2 before you lift the 3rd finger. The same technique is a lot harder in the second line as you need to do a vertical stretch between fingers 2 and 3 )!

      This might not be possible in line 6, I‘d probably play the f on the 1st string as a staccato! 

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  • Hi everyone, here is my first take on Etude no. 3 after 1 day of practicing.

    Things I found easy: right hand sequence
    Things I found difficult: the shift between measure 22 and measure 23

    I attach the shift between the end of measure 22 and the beginning of measure 23

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    • Khiem Nguyen Sounding good, Khiem! This is such a beautiful piece of music. The shift you highlighted above is difficult. I usually play it with a bit of a ritard in measure 22, and then a pause before I come in with measure 23. I think it works musically to do that, and it gives me time to make the shift accurately. Maybe I’m just letting my fingers dictate the music, though.

       Also, I think your eighth notes at the end of measure 16 are going too fast. Martin warned us about this tricky rhythm at the kickoff, if I remember correctly. Maybe you could go back and listen to what he said.

       Good work and I look forward to hearing you play it again!

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    • Khiem Nguyen Well done!!!  After 1 day this is awesome !!!

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    • Khiem Nguyen Hi, good! 👋in my opinion the modification of the fingering in measures 12 and 13, putting fingers 4-2-3 in the strings 1-2-3, finger 1 slips string 4, also measure 20 the same

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    • Eric Phillips hi Eric, thank you for your feedback. Hehe, thank you so much for pointing out the measure 16, I overlooked the change in the rythm in that measure, I played too fast, and I simply forgot what Martin said in the kick off. I will have to correct it next time :)

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    • Giuseppe Gasparini and Emma , thank you a lot! :)

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      • Khiem Nguyen beautiful Khiem. Great job. I agree with Eric’s remark on measure 16. The eight notes here are often played either  too fast or to slow. It’s tricky indeed…. But I’m impressed with the overall quality. Thanks for sharing….
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      Khiem Nguyen That's sound really good🙂

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    • wasan thank you a lot Wasan! :)

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    • joosje that's really nice of you Joosje, thank you! :) I will practice again measure 16 with a metronome in order to have the rythm correctly played. It is very tricky. For me in bar 16, the 8th notes can easily played like dotted eight note and a 16th note. That's why a metronome at practice will help me, I hope :)

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      Khiem Nguyen very beautiful, Khiem! I will make a video later and tag you (and other folks who are playing this gem), because I think we can learn a lot from this piece when it comes to left hand legato and right hand preparation (I sound like a broken record player, it‘s seems like that‘s my catch phrase, haha).

      But when it comes to this huge shift in bar 23, we can take our time before that as we have the melodic climax in bar 22 and this super dissonant double dominant 7 with an altered fifth in bar 23 which needs its own space do develop!

      And good catch by Eric Phillips and joosje about the tuplets in the triplet world! I always count „PAnama PAnama CUba CUba“ 🇨🇺

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  • Study 14 (again!) slow and expressive.

    I thought my previous posting of this etude would be my last, but Martin noticed some instability in fingers 3 and 4 of my left hand, and recommended playing it slowly to improve. As I was playing it slowly, I thought, "Why not go for very expressive as well?" I really like it this way! I honestly do not know if my left hand is any more stable, but I really enjoy playing it like this. When doing this, I instinctively started using more ring finger in my right hand, as I think my tone with that finger is better.

    Let me know what you think?

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  • Study No. 3

     

    Hello everyone, I am Sultan, a beginner classical guitarist from Saudi Arabia,

     

    I got excited when I saw Carcassi challenge coming as I feel they are very important studies teaching us some useful techniques,

     

    Previously, I have started to learn Study no. 1 and 3 so I did memorize them but didn't complete them due to technical challenges (I was practicing them with slow pace as I aimed to complete them in around 6 months. but it was a good opportunity to review them and share the progress here with you.

     

    I may also start to learn study no.2 from beginning,

     

    I started with Study No. 3 as it is relatively easier.

     

    Things I found ease is the repeated arpeggio pattern so it was not that complex.

     

    Things I found difficult:

    - The second chord of the piece was challenging when I started to learn it.

    - The balance and control of the notes requires some right hand fingers independence which need more practice.

    - when I played it I noticed that some notes were cut earlier than their full duration. So I need to take that into my consideration when I practice the study.

     

    Finally here is my first attempt playing the Carcassi No.3 Study

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER Very well done, Sultan, especially if you're new to classical guitar! Welcome to the challenge.

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    • Eric Phillips Thank you Eric ^^

       

      Actually not very new, I started to play classical guitar in 2019, but I don't practice a lot so these pieces are challenging for me.

       

      Thank

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER In a discipline like the classical guitar, two years is fairly new, and your playing is quite impressive.

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER wow, I must say you impressed me , playing like this after 2 years practice. .. good work…

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER impressive! very beautiful

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER Very impressive performance for a such relatively short period of  time playing this challenging instrument!

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      SULTAN BAMUKHIER welcome to the community and welcome to this challenge! 🥳🚀🙌 That is an impressive progress only after two years of playing guitar, glad that you are on board of this and hopefully upcoming challenges! I will post a video today about this particular etude because I think we can learn a lot from that concerning left hand legato and right hand preparation, but you are definitely on the right track to master this piece! 💪

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    • SULTAN BAMUKHIER Bravo!!! 👋

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