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

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  • Hi All, thanks for some excellent performances and great comments/insights to these wonderful Etudes.  This past week I have focused on three Etudes, #2, 3 & 4.  These are old friends that I studied years ago and it was fun to get reacquainted.  Much has been said about Etude #2 & 3 so I will only add a couple of comments. 

    For the famous Etude #3, I would say that the key to playing this for me, is to bring out the melody line with the “a” finger.  To do this, I use a technique that I learned from Maestro Abel Carlevaro.  When Carlevaro wants to bring out the melody line with the “a” finger, he initiates the string attach with a slight movement of the right arm.  This same technique can be used to bring out the melody in Etude #4. 

    Another area in Etude #3 in which Carlevaro’s technique was useful to me was when making contractions with the 4th finger of the left hand in measures 7, 12, 13 & 20. I found these contractions can be easiest done by keeping the 4th finger of the left hand somewhat passive and move the left arm slightly forward away from the fret board.  Again, this is a classic Carlevaro technique in which he uses the arm to initiate contractions and shifts rather than the fingers alone.  For those interested in learning more about Abel Carlevaro's technique, I would refer you to his School of Guitar book.

    Like 4
    • Martin I just checked out Sabrina's lesson on Etude 16 and her technique used to bring out the melody line with the "a" finger using a slight movement of the right arm is very similar to what Carlevaro taught and what I was referring to in playing Etude #3 and #4.  

       

      Also very pleased and excited that you have scheduled the Uruguayan Maestro, Alfredo Escande for a Livestream on September 17th.  Alfredo was a long time assistant to Maestro Abel Carlevaro and it will be wonderful to hear him provide an introduction to Carlevaro's School of Guitar.  Thanks.

      Like
    • Ronnull
    • Ron.3
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    This week I've been practicing etudes 3, 7 and 16 all of which I've played before (many years ago!)

    Easy: knowing what they should sound like ...

    Difficult: unlearning old fingerings which don't facilitate the kind of musicality which these beautiful studies deserve!

    Like 3
    • Ron Unlearning is sometimes much harder than learning, I've found out. Looking forward to hearing you play!

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    • Ron right Ron, unlearn old fingering are quite difficult :(

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Ron Oh yes, getting rid of old fingerings can be tricky! We need to be very aware of what you are doing, otherwise we fall back into old patterns!

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      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Ron a bit like learning all again! If the fingers are better it will improve your performance, good challenge, always learning

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  • Study 2 (Final Version?)

    I've been playing this study each day for one week now. As per Tengyue Zhang's suggestion, I played it slowly for an entire week, during which time I focused on the little details. Not until today did I speed it up a bit, and here is the result.

     

    Mod.-Edit: Moved to "Week 1" Updates Thread

    Like 1
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I think you nailed this one, sounds perfect.  While Tengyue's lesson is great, I think his tempo is a bit fast and like the more moderate tempo you took here as it is more expressive.  You're blazing through these etudes, how many do you hope to do before the challenge is up?

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Brett Gilbert at that rate, Eric Phillips will need to compose a couple more in the style of Carcassi to keep him occupied over the course of three weeks! I think right now, you (Eric) are  averaging at around 1.6 Videos per day! 🤯🌟

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Like Martin said, I plan to do all twenty-five and then write about twenty more myself. Just kidding!!! 😅

      I have no plan other than the next piece. I’m still working on number 9 and now I’d like to try number 21. Maybe it will be really hard and that will be the last one I do.

      Like 1
    • Martin I keep saying this, but some day I need to buckle down and get ready for the start of school. It’s just SO HARD to put down the guitar, though! Can Tonebase pay me to do these challenges? 😄

      Like 2
    • Eric Phillips Bravissimo!!👋

      Like 2
    • Giuseppe Gasparini Thank you, Giuseppe!

      Like 1
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips so good!!! But this can’t be the last version… come on… it was very good and I loved the wavy feeling to the arpeggios. 

      Like 2
    • Emma Well, I’m not saying it’s great, but I’m feeling like moving on. I said that, however, before Martin did his video about thumb placement on this etude, a technique that feels like it puts me back to square one. So, if I decide to work on that technique, I may continue with this etude. I’m not sure right now though.

      Like 1
    • martinTeam
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    • martin.3
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    I did a commented run-through on Etude no.3, a beautiful gem within this cycle! I talk especially about connecting and guiding fingers for some challenging passages, I hope you guys enjoy that!

    Khiem Nguyen Brett Gilbert wasan maybe there's some valuable information for you since you're playing this piece!

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    • Martin This is pure gold, Martin! It’s amazing to see the workings of your mind on this. Can’t wait to give it a try later today!

      Like 1
    • Martin Martin, I can't say enough my thankfulness to you for a master class recorded video to us. It helps me tremendously. I have immediately diligently applied your left hand fingering. Please take a look below. Thank you. :)

      Like 1
    • Martin I loved Martin's fingerings so much that I just had to give them a try. The fingering he gave for measure 15 is particularly mind-blowing 🤯. The only one I chose not to do is the barre chord in measure 7, where I find the standard fingering a bit easier.

      Like 1
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin thank you so so much!!! This will be one for my second week!!! So helpful 

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Emma Eric Phillips Khiem Nguyen Happy that you liked my little overview of this beautiful piece!

      Eric Phillips that sounds absolutely beautiful! You had no problem whatsoever with that change in bar 7, so there's no need to use this special phantom-guide-finger-3000 for that one, haha 🚀👨‍⚕️ Sometimes the sound of the ring finger gets a little bit thin. I have a livestream in the making called "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Talking Tone Production", that might help you (watch out for the best thumbnail we ever had on tonebase!).

      Like 1
    • Martin Thank you, Martin, for the feedback. I love your label phantom-guide-finger-3000😄I will definitely watch your livestream on tone production, not only because I want to have better tone, but also because The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is one of the greatest movies ever made. 🤠

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    • martinTeam
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    • martin.3
    • 2 yrs ago
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    Diving into Etude #16 a bit, such a beautifully singing piece!

    • Things you found easy: Sight reading it and coming up with alternative positions!
    • Things you found difficult: Making the melody sing as much as possible! I tried different approaches as Brett Gilbert mentioned the beautiful tutorial we have by Sabrina
    • Questions: How was your experience with this piece for all of you who have played it so far? Gunnar Ron Derek
    Like 4
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Brilliant!  Thanks so much for answering my earlier questions and for this video which is so helpful.  I was using m (i-p) at the beginning but will try a (m-i) and experiment with your suggestions for producing a singing tone. 

      Still trying to work through watching all of your previous live streams before I joined as I learn some much in every one.   Thanks also for the video today on #3, I think I'll work on that after I post video for 16.

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      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Excllent Martin. Such a beautiful piece. Yes I've been using i, m and swapping to p, i  or p, m when there is a gap between the accompaniment strings being played (e.g bar 6). Love the fingering you've used in bar 11 - I'll use that! I practiced it this morning - mostly just the first section to try to get that singing melody - I even trying filing my a nail slightly differently and occasionally I got just the tone I wanted, but I had difficulty sustaining it consistently. I agree that it's somewhere between free and rest stroke but I haven't been able to get the 'cirlces' working in the way Sabrina explains. So far I've been observing the rests but I haven't played any of the accompaniment staccato

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