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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    • 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
    • Martin Thanks for making this great tutorial as well, Martin. Here's the way I've always played this one. I don't like playing the accompaniment with i and m, but rather p and i, especially when there is a string gap between the two notes (ex. measure 6).

      This is a such a great piece of music! I'd compare it with Tarrega's Lagrima, as it is relatively easy to play, but can continue to be worked on and improved for the rest of our lives. It's also short, easy to memorize, and heartbreakingly beautiful. 💔

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

      Martin thank you!!! I am preparing this one too. The advice to put the a finger a bit forward is much easier than the circular movement. the sound is brilliant and the hand is more table. 

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      • Gunnar
      • Gunnar
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Thanks for a very instructive lessen on no. 16. As I mentioned to Eric earlier, I am using an arrangement of this piece with the melody starting on the second string in both sections. There are are a few stretches that I need to work on. I find it difficult to play the accompaniment with I and m, as opposed to I and p, probably because of lack of independence of my a and m fingers. I need to work on that.

      Like 1
    • Gunnar I'm in the same boat as you regarding using pi rather than im for the accompaniment.

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    • Martin just love this piece. Thanks for your interpretation. Clever fingering . I stil hesitate about the (Carcassi-intended) thumb in the accompanying voice. I try it both ways and can’t decide. Sabrina’s showing how to move the hand for the a-stroke on the melody is just mesmerizing . I can’t stop playing this study…

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Eric Phillips what a beautiful interpretation! I've never thought of playing everything on the second string, but it gives a more mellow and romantic sound quality, I will try that like Gunnar . 
      Concerning p-i: To be honest joosje i've run through this piece so quickly that I didn't think about playing the melody with instead of a, that would've solved my issue with the compressed right hand! Then again, I like the added stability with  on the 4th string, additionally it prepares the thumb for when I do use it once the bass needs the 4th string! Furthermore, I couldn't really figure out what Sabrina was doing, but in theory she increased the length of hair nail ramp and added more skin to the tone without having too big of an impact on the adjacent string, so my method tries to imitate that to some certain degree!

      Emma wonderful, glad this technique helps you! 🥳

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Ron Awesome, I am particular proud of that fingering, you can accent a certain phrase while playing it softer, which is super cool! 🚀🥳👨‍⚕️

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Brett Gilbert Awesome! When you play ami it is usually easier to balance the voices since all the movements go in the same direction! I do change to pi though when the distance increases or when I need to play on the 4th string! But I am glad that my videos and livestreams help you! Btw., how is the challenge in piano land going so far? 🚀

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    • martinTeam
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    • martin.3
    • 2 yrs ago
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    Etude No. 2 and the question why we would place the thumb on the lower strings! I also dive a little bit into the difference of thumb placement between rest stroke and free stroke and do a quick read through of this Etude no.2! Hope you enjoy that, let me know if that helps some of you  👨‍⚕️🥳🚀

    Eric Phillips Emma Gunnar Giuseppe Gasparini

    Like 3
      • Mark
      • Mark.2
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin interesting - thanks 👍

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    • Martin Hey Martin,

      Thank you so much for making this video tutorial. I would really like to be able to do what you suggest (i.e. place the thumb when playing an arpeggio). The video below shows my struggle with it. Any thoughts you have would be great. 🙂

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

      Martin thank you! I will practice it like that. I was doing the preparation if the RH already. The thumb apoyando will be a challenge but there we are!

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Eric Phillips You are very welcome, thank you for your detailed explanation! Eric, that looks so good, the tempo is absolutely not when we try to fight certain trained reflexes.

      The inclination is so common when you are not used to that, the way the hand tries to overcompensate that is by having more tension in the palm which results in problems with movements that were never problematic, like the arpeggio on top! I made another video about that, maybe that helps you! But be advised, changing motion patterns is a path, not a switch!

      Emma I am actually not doing a right hand apoyando! I play a regular free stroke and then place the thumb in a very relaxed way onto a string that helps me either prepare the next note or damp the last one played! I am suuuuuper bad with thumb apoyando, I almost exclusively play that for melodic lines with accompaniment!

      Like 1
    • Martin Thank you, Martin, on so many levels. First, for taking the time to make that video for me. Second, for your understanding and patience. It's honestly a little embarrassing that I can't seem to do something that looks so simple and basic, but you put me at ease! Lastly, for giving me a path toward being able to accomplish it if I choose. I've said it before, but I will say it again - you're an amazing teacher! 🙏

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

      Eric Phillips very beautiful! starting in the second string! 

      Like 1
    • Emma I agree. It has a more singing quality to it.

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  • Hi Martin and my friends, I have practiced Etude no. 3 again using the left hand fingering in Martin's feedback above. It is a really nice left hand fingering. I find it is easier to achieve legato, although I of course need to put more practice on this piece to achieve it. Here it is. Thank you Martin and everyone for listening! :) I will polish it again in next weeks.

    I have a tiny idea. Measure no. 17 to 18. In measure 17, I think we can place 2 on B, 3 on C#, 4 on F#, instead of 1,2,3. Then slide 2 to B in measure 18. I did not use that idea in my below video though. To keep measure 17 consistent with measure 3, we can still use 1,2,3 on measure 17. It will be easier for our memory to just stick to one version :)

    Like 3
    • Khiem Nguyen Wow! Martin just posted his video a few hours ago, and you are already playing the new fingerings very well. I love the legato sound!

      Like 2
    • Eric Phillips thank you Eric. I think I need to keep on my diligence :)

      Like 2
    • Khiem Nguyen well done! Thanks for submitting 

      Like 2
    • joosje thank you, I appreciate it! ^^

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Khiem Nguyen Wow, I really like that fingering in measure 17 to 18, I will use that! 🤯🙌🥳

      And wow! As Eric Phillips said, you adopted my fingers lightning fast as well ⚡I am glad that they help you achieving more legato! 

      Like 1
    • Martin Hi Martin, thank you a lot! I am also very glad that I could adopt your new fingering quite fast compared to myself adopting any kind of new fingering previously. My fingering on measure 17 and 18 will work pretty well. The only problem for me is to try not to confuse the fingering of ms. 17 and ms 1. While ms. 1 use 1,2,3 straight forward, then ms. 17 use 2,3,4, and that con confuse me :)

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Khiem Nguyen Yes, that is always an issue when we have similar musical passages with different fingerings! 🤓

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      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Khiem Nguyen bravo!!! Very beautiful 

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