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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    • Barney
    • Barney
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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!!

    Like 7
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Barney Beautiful performance and the audio quality is superb.   I'm curious to know what recording equipment (mics, etc.) you are using.

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

      Barney beautiful performance and the quality of the sound… congratulations 

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      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Enjoy the extra time while you can.  It obviously has been very productive for your guitar playing!!

      Like 1
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Thanks Brett! 

      I'm currently using a pair of Line Audio M4 Mics in ORTF stereo position, along with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.  Reaper is the DAW, and Davinci Resolve for Video Editing/Syncing.   This equipment was suggested by Martin as a cost effective solution.

      Camera is a Canon EOS 80D.

      Like 1
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Thanks Emma!!

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    • Barney Very nice job Barney!  Great sound as well.

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    • Barney beautiful. Great sound and very musical playing

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      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Kennedy Thanks Paul!!

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      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
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      joosje Thanks Joosje!!

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      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Barney Bravo Barney!!! You make a rather simple piece sound so dramatic with your timbral and dynamic changes, fantastic job on this one! I'd recommend to work a little bit on the synchronization of a and p, I am 100% sure that it is no problem for you to play them totgehther, but it becomes such a habit to arpeggiate those two instead of playing them together that sometimes we don't even recognize that anymore!

      About the Audio Quality: Fantastic as usual, but you seem to have some artifacts that sound like your buffer size is to low! It's essentially a safe space that you allow your interface to save before letting it through for signal processing. Now if you have more plugins loaded, it could be that there are no samples left for playback as they still need to be rendered by plugins. The size is dependent of your cpu power, the higher you go, the more latency you have, but since we don't do live playback and rendering, there's no need for a short latency!

      You can access your buffer size settings usually via the "audio configuration" button in the audio device settings. The right window will look different as I am using currently a RME Fireface while you will be probably prompted to Focusrite Settings!

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      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje Thanks joosje!

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    • Barney
    • Barney
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Thanks Khiem!

    Like 1
    • Peg Barrett
    • I am a guitar instructor and a member of the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble.
    • Peg
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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.

    Like 2
    • Peg Sounds great, Peg. Do you already have the next one picked out?

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      • Peg Barrett
      • I am a guitar instructor and a member of the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble.
      • Peg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Not yet. Over the years I have done 13 of them from the Easy and Intermediate groups and still use some of them for warm ups. I will probably pick one from the Intermediate group that is new. I have worked on 1 - 11, 14, 16,  & 19. I’m open to suggestions.

      Like 1
    • Peg Well, I'm finding 9 particularly fun to play. Martin didn't put that in the difficulty chart, but I'd say it's intermediate. I'm planning to work on 21 soon. I had never played it or even heard it before, but after playing a few measures, I fell in love. If you want one that sounds great at speed, number 23 fits the bill. That my two cents!  

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

      Peg I am trying 2 of each topics, chords, arpeggios, scales and slurs 

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      • Peg Barrett
      • I am a guitar instructor and a member of the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble.
      • Peg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I have decided to try #12, but not because it's the next one, While Martin has this listed as an arpeggio study, which certainly it is, I am using it because it requires a lot of shifting in both directions. There are also lots of accidentals leading to some unexpected harmonies, which I find interesting. I do appreciate your suggestions. I regularly use #9 as a great slur warmup. Since I use 3-4 hammer-ons in most places instead of 1-2 it keeps those in good shape for when there is no alternative. I've read through 21 and it's definitely on my to-do list. Good luck with them.

      Like 1
    • Peg Barrett I actually really like #12 too. On paper (or computer screen), it just looks like a simple arpeggio moving up and down. But when you hear it, it has some really beautiful harmonies and less than predictable progressions. Hmm ... maybe I'll try that one after 21!

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

      Peg Barrett Awesome, sounds great! Keep us updated! I have never actively played #11, it does look quite challening in terms of shifting as well, you are absolutely right!

      Eric Phillips aaaah, still haven't updated the the Etude Guide, so sorry 🙈 Just too many patients in my clinic 👨‍⚕️

      Like 1
    • Martin I was not trying to point out your omission! You do have a lot of patients in this challenge, and I am in awe of how you are able to do it all, and do it so well! 😊

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  • 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? 👴

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    • Eric Phillips Very nicely done Eric.  I’m going to give this one a shot as well.

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    • Paul Kennedy Glad to hear it. It's super fun to play!

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    • Eric Phillips wow, great playing. Your tone is warm and the rhythm very secure. I would, personally expect more rubato in the different sections, but that’s a question of taste. This is good.!

      Like 1
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