Week 1: Composing Etudes: Kickoff!

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the composition challenge!

New prompt (!)

Follow these steps for this week:

  1. Post one aspect of your playing you would like to improve (your etude prompt)
  2. Choose one etude prompt that somebody else posted
  3. Begin writing a sketch focusing on the prompt you've chosen
  • In preparation for week 2, post any sketches you would like to receive feedback on in the week 2 livestream here (<- click)
  • (Optional) Along with your submission for week 2's live stream, provide questions or problems you've encountered while writing that you would like me to address specifically

Don't worry, this will all make sense once you watch the kickoff livestream!


↓ Reply below with your updates and questions! ↓

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

    Chord voicing etude : Los Tres Amigos

    In response to prompt from Ron to create an etude where the melody moves between 3 note chords, I realized a few things while creating this:

    - It's actually quite challenging (for me anyway) to play 3 note chords and bring out the voice properly, so Ron had a great idea!

    - I created this slowly one chord at a time, and realized I don't have the technique yet (without a lot of practice) to actually play it.  Ron, I don't know your level but hopefully you might find this playable? 

    - I wasn't sure how to indicate which voice to bring out in each chord so in the score I uploaded the voices have different colors and the "main" voice is in black in tablature (unfortunately the 2nd voice in green doesn't appear well when printed).  Without the tab it's kind of hard to read actually so not sure how this could be written with just notation.

    - I put an indication of H, M, or L above the notes as an aid to indicate which voice has the "melody".

    - As I don't really have time to learn/play this properly I made a video of GuitarPro playing it where I tried to change dynamics so the melody (voice 1) is louder.  This is not ideal because of course it sounds very mechanical but gives an idea of what I was going for.

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

      Eric Phillips Thanks for confirming this is as hard as it seems.  If my "etude" is beyond even your abilities, then clearly this is a very advanced technique.  Not sure how common it would be in repertoire?  It's both fun and frustrating creating things in notation software.

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Don't judge that based on me. I have precious little formal instruction, and I have many technical shortcomings, especially in the right hand. Some of the greatest and most loved studies in the repertoire (ex. Villa-Lobos' Twelve Etudes) are far beyond my level.

      Like 1
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert So I've worked my way through the etude - yes it is hard! I've worked out detailed left hand fingerings for the first page which I think work, but it's very much "pre metric" at the moment. I hope to finish the fingerings tomorrow then start putting it together. The challenge for me is definitey when the middle voice takes over - but that's exactly what I need to practice most! At the moment it's more like dos amigos and a troublesome middle child!

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

      Ron  I'm so glad you're finding it useful, thank's for the update!  It's definitely a challenging technique and I wonder if there are any pieces in the guitar repertoire that require bringing out inner voices in chords like this.   

      When I first took on your prompt I was thinking about it from a pianist perspective because there are many piano pieces (e.g. bach fugues) where you have to bring out inner voices in a chord, but for some reason it's a lot more difficult for me to do on guitar.

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

      Brett Gilbert Yes I've been re listening to some of my favourite repertoire lately and trying to identiify what really brings pieces alive for me. Although I've not studied harmony I'm beginning to understand a little about harmonic analysis and how this can lead to a richer interpretaion of many pieces. I've also noticed the skill that some players have in bringing out melodic lines in multiple voices - hence the prompt! Where there are arpeggios I find it much easier but trying to sustain a melody, part of which is buried in chords is where I have a lot of difficulty.

      Like 1
  • Arpeggio Study

    Here's a short study of arpeggios, with a little scale work at the end. It was inspired by three very diverse pieces, all of which I love:

    1. Villa-Lobos Etude No 1

    2. Gulli Bjornsson Landslag I

    3. Bach Double in B minor BWV 1002

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

      Eric Phillips Very nice and thank you for marking the fingerings, which seem especially important for etudes.

      Also thanks for the heads up on the Gulli Bjornsson pieces from a challenge last year.  The harmonic one (10) is indeed a great match for what I was looking for as well.  There is so much material now on tonebase it can be a bit overwhelming. 

      Over the weekend I did work on your harmonic etude (measures 15-19 still tough), and started going through the first 10 Brouwer etudes as those seem perfect for my current level.

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert You can't go wrong with the Brouwer etudes. I still remember playing them in college, when I lived at home. My mom would comment about how weird they were and she couldn't believe I actually liked them!

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

      Eric Phillips Great little study Eric, and thanks for reminding me about Landslag 1 which I must go back to!

      Like 1
    • Ron Yeah, all of those are really great pieces. I missed that challenge, unfortunately, but I've been looking into them on my own recently.

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

      Eric Phillips Yes these pieces really captured my imagination. Just before lockdown last year my wife and I spent a week in Iceland so I could really relate to the landscape that they describe.

      Like 1
    • Ron That's great! I vote for a Tonebase field trip to Iceland.

      Like
  • DON'T FORGET: for TOMORROW's livestream, post the sketches you would like feedback on in Week 2's thread HERE (<- click)

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