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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  • Study 9.

    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.
    Like 5
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Just catching up with things as I've been busy.  Enjoyed this very much and #2 as well.  Technical questions: The audio on this seems better than on #2, what kind of mic did you use to record this?  I'm trying to up my recording quality.  Also, I'm curious what string set do you use?  At this pace you'll get through most of them!  I started on #1 last week and have realized it is a big stretch for my ability but I've decided to forge ahead even if it's the only etude I complete for this challenge.

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

      Eric Phillips bravo Eric!!! and it is the initial run through!!!

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Thanks for listening, Brett. I used the same mic on everything here, so maybe it’s just a different placement. It’s nothing fancy - it’s a USB mic that I got at Walmart for about $30-40. I think the brand is Samson. I just plug it into my laptop and clip it onto the top. As for strings, I just use the standard D’Addario strings available everywhere for $9.99 (but sometimes on sale). I experimented a little with different strings and even mixing and matching, but I decided about a year ago that I’m fine with these, they are reliable, and they are cheap. I know some players really get into finding the “perfect” strings, but I’d rather put my time and energy into playing. They really sound just fine to me.

      As for you focusing on one piece, that’s really the way to do it. Any one of these pieces could easily be practiced for well over three weeks, especially the first one.

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Here's a pic of the strings and mic I use. The strings are D'Addario EJ45. The mic is a Samson Go.

      Like 3
    • Emma Thanks, Emma. I'm having a blast with this one. It is so much fun to play!

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips hey Eric, i heard  your update before this one. You’re doing great and make such fast progress all the time .  It’s a joy following you in these challenges….

      Like 3
    • joosje Thanks, Joosje. This is a really fun one to play!

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

    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.

    Like 3
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Peg Hi Peg. Whenever I read though this study, I also employ a non-legato touch. I don't know that I've ever considered why - it just seems 'natural' for the piece. I think you're right that it lends an 'agitato' character. Btw, I don't think there's anything to get 'wrong' in these challenges. If you participate, in whatever manner, you've done it 'right'! (Says the guys who has yet to post a single video ...)

      Like
    • Peg That sounds great, Peg. I think that will fit this piece perfectly. I’ve never played that one, but it’s nice. It reminds me of Sor.

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

      Peg This is a great update, thank you for sharing your thought process with No.11! Your approach seems perfectly fitting to me!

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

    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. :)
    Like 5
    • Brett Gilbert I’ll let Martin respond to your question about rest stroke. But you’re right, for me it’s all about the strings! If only I could get a set of the strings Martin uses I’d be all set. 😁

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

      Brett Gilbert Eric Phillips Puh, strings are a fascinating topic and I want to invite some manufacturers to a Livestream to gain a little deeper insight! My favorite mix consists of a Augustine Regal 1st string (the one in the violet packaging), then 2nd and 3rd Savarez Alliance, and for the basses D‘Addario Composites. But since the music store of my choice retired it‘s a little complicated to get hold of a mix like that for a decent price, which is why I am currently trying different sets (and I am never quite as happy as I have been before). 

      I‘ve been applying this kind of apoyando as well, but currently I try to keep my hand a little bit more steady. I am not quite sure why it does sound the way it does, I think it might have something to do with the angle we are plucking the string. I do a similar approach when I have full chords in open position (where a-m-i are not on adjacent strings). This diagonal attack is rounder, and fuller, but it comes at a price - an increased instability of the right hand. In slow pieces (Like the intro of La Catedral that Sabrina is showing in the video or in this particular etude), we might be willing to pay that price!

      We can talk about a little about tone production in the next interactive Live Stream as stability will be a topic in Carcassis No.7 as well!

      Like 2
    • wasan
    • wasan
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hello everyone, 

    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! 

    Like 5
    • wasan Hello, Wasan, I’m glad you joined the challenge! That piece sounds great and is coming along nicely. It sounds very legato to me, and I did hear dynamics. More will come with practice, I am certain. Great work!

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

      Eric Phillips Thank you !🙂

      Like 1
    • wasan Bravo!!!👋

      Like 1
    • wasan good work. You make it sound really smooth and musical.

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

      wasan well done! beautiful...

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

      Giuseppe Gasparini thank you 🙂

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      • wasan
      • wasan
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Thanks ☺️

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      • wasan
      • wasan
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje Thanks 😊

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    • wasan nicely phrased! Bravo! :)

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

      wasan what a beautiful tone you have! I have some recommendations for the first part to increase your legato, it as a lot to do with common and guide fingers!

       

      Bar 1, second line: I change to 2 and 3 for „a“ and „c#“ which prepares me for the chord in the next bar, because I can leave my 3rd finger already in place! The 3rd finger will be even more important for the shift into the B major 7 chord!

      For that, I slide with the third finger until the d# on the second string and leave it there, placing the 4th finger on the 5th fret for e and the 2nd finger on the f# on the 4th string. But the most important part is to leave the 3rd finger on the 2nd string as it will help you shift into position and stabilize your left hand for that chord. It is a little bit awkward at first, but the 3rd finger as guide finger which will not be employed at first will greatly benefit that shift! Let me know if that helps 🚀

      Like 1
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