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! ↓
Working on No. 18
I used to play this one, and am having fun getting it back under my fingers.
The challenge for me is to balance free and rest strokes for the melody.
I'm trying to bring some musicallity to the piece by varying tonal colors.
Thanks for listening
Hello everybody! these are my videos of my attempts at number 7, and no. 2 after 4 days of practice. I wanted to play them slow and safe and somehow my tempo increased after the first couple of measures in number 7. Big mistake.... recording myself is still very hard for me, so these will have to do.. I will keep practising them along the new ones but and I need to move on onto new Carcassi treasures and for that I need to post these 2. Viva the challenge!!!
Easy: nothing really, first sight reading to say one
Difficult: This study is full of little traps... Changing patterns, achieving fluidity, the sound of my a finger sometimes too metalic spoiling the melody, and then when you master it, changing the colour and giving it the musicality it has.
And this is number 2!!! Please don't fall sleep, it is very slow. Will increase speed each few days. I will keep practising along the new ones.
Easy: The first sight reading
Difficult: The main one, not cutting short the last note of the second and fourth beat of each measure. Also I have been practising for these beats the pattern m a m a which sounded worse than the pattern i m i m, I need to improve my attack with the a finger. And then translating from my head to the video that wavy sound that I imagine for this piece
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.
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
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!
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
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
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 :)
Hello everyone! Hope you're doing great. Here's a video of the Etude nr. 1 by Carcassi, filmed it last night. Been learning it since 2 days ago and still have some doubts when performing it, but well, later I'll post some improvement. It has a bit difficult technical elements for me. I apologize for the poor view on my right hand will try to film better next time
- One thing you found easy: Perhaps the left hand shifts and phrasing certain sections.
- One thig you found difficult: Mostly damping the open string with the left hand (like TY says).
I was hesitant to release this due to right hand nail problems affecting performance and tone, but here it is! Was hoping nail would grow back but ran out of time. Hopefully it will get better for next week's submission. It's another reminder to me of the importance of protecting your nails. If anyone has good suggestion for nail products ( that really work well) to help protect against tears, etc, please let me know. Thanks!!
I am still working on #11 and must admit that I had to miss one day of practice. What I have found relatively easy is getting the detached sound without making it too staccato. More difficult are the fingerings for measures 24 & 25. My hands are relatively small and the 3 - 4 reach from the 1st to the 5th or 6th strings is always tricky. I'll give it another day to add some dynamic shaping and get better at those 2 measures and then move on to another that I have not yet done.
Study 9 update.
I'm trying to add a bit more musicality and contrast to this now. Martin suggested a more staccato approach, so in the A sections (beginning and end) I am playing the bass notes staccato and trying to make it sound playful. I think that the end of the B section (measures 23-27 approximately) needs to be more dramatic and serious sounding, so I am playing a bit slower, louder, and with everything ringing out.
Let me know your thoughts.
As an aside, I really struggle with the fast pace on this one, and it isn't because my fingers are not capable of playing it, but just because my brain is not able to keep up with what I need to do next. Is that something others experience with faster pieces? Am I just getting older?
I just read through 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7. All very fun to play with different challenges. I am now focusing numbers 2 and 7 (7 so I can better participate with Martin’s upcoming live stream). What I found easy with number 7 was finding all the notes, and playing through it relatively smoothly. I found the right hand patterns relatively simple to execute. The difficulty came with trying to execute the dynamics as written. With number, 2, again, pretty simple to play through until the shifts on the second page…and all those pesky changes in dynamics.
Study 21 Initial Run Through.
I had never played or even heard this one prior to this challenge. When I played a few measures of it last week, I loved it and put it on my list of pieces I'd like to work on.
I have made some unusual fingering choices in the A section. Basically, I tried to keep as much of the melody as I can on the second string. It requires a lot of jumps, but I think the texture gives some room to be able to do that. I'd be curious what others think. Have I gone too far?
By the way, there are (at least) two wrong notes in this, in measures 49 and 50. I realized that after I made it. Sorry!
What was easy: Like all of these studies, it has a very clear structure and phrasing. The rhythm is repetitive and not complicated at all.
What was difficult:
- Some of my ornaments (mordents?) were not executed cleanly, and they seem to be the main technical focus of the piece, so I need to give those some attention.
- The shifts I am doing in the A section definitely complicate matters, but I do really like the sound of the melody on the second string. It may be difficult to bring the tempo up with this fingering, but I honestly like the sound of this one a bit on the slower side (but faster than I play here).
- The B section sounds a bit long and rambling, so I will need to find ways to keep it interesting and to clarify the musical direction.
Carcassi #2. This is really challenging for me, so I decided to just work on getting comfortable with pima mimi. I just practiced it super slowly on the first Am chord. Also I found that I had trouble making a smooth transition between the barre on 5th fret to the chord on the 7th fret--lots of noise from my finger sticking to the strings! It's a beautiful etude. I think I will spend the entire time on the first few measures.
I actually did this reply about 5 hours ago but must have forgotten to hit the red reply button and then logged off and lost everything I wrote.
Been working on 8, 10 and 16 need to improve my tone - video of 8 and 10 below, some hesitations, especially in 10. Also working on 1, 3 and 7 will post further videos on Wednesday or Thursday. Can't make the interactive session as I'm not here on Friday. Need to add a few more pieces for the final week.
Hi Martin and everyone. So I have looked at Etude no. 2 for a day. I really like the beauty of this piece. So I was curious what harmonic Carcassi used. So I have made a harmonic analysis, to gain a deeper understanding of the piece.
1. Carcassi uses a lot of I-V-I chord progression. He also uses a lot of I-IV-V-I chord progression in section B several times.
2. He uses secondary dominant, for example, A7 as dominant of Dm. A7 leads to Dm.
3. He uses passing chords also, a bit difficult to spell out the chord.
4. He uses pedal point (note A in the bass, for example) in the beginning of section A and section A'
5. He uses a lot of inversions to make the bass lines connected with each other and more interesting
6. He uses mostly diatonic chords.
A conventional harmonic progression, yet, really beautiful.
Please feel free to give me feedback if you have other observations, other view points, or you find any errors. Thank you for reading! :)
Sorry I am late to the party. But I still want to participate!
I did etude 2. One thing I find hard is understanding the harmony in the B section and not speeding up haha. One thing I found easy would be the left hand chords, which helped me focus on the right hand more. Also, probably should have committed to the repeat, so sorry about the awkward ending haha.