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.
- Make sure you've read the guidelines before replying (<- click)
- Watch the kickoff livestream for help with the first section!
- Get the Scores 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 it!
- (Optional:) questions
↓ Reply below with your updates and questions! ↓
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.
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.
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?
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).
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 :)
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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!
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.
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.
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
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?
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