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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  • Study in Harmonics walkthrough

    Here is a walkthrough of a etude I wrote that has a simple four-measure melody played with a variety of harmonics, as requested by Brett Gilbert above. The video walks through each of the variations. The score is attached.

    BTW, I could not figure out how to notate harmonics in Musescore, so like Brett, I downloaded the 30-day trial of GuitarPro.

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

      Eric Phillips Eric, great study in harmonics and excellent tutorial. I'm amazed how quickly you've put this togther!

      Like 1
    • Ron Thanks, Ron. I think it’s right up there with Britten’s Nocturnal.

      Like
    • Eric Phillips Great work! 

      Like 1
    • Jack Stewart
    • Retired
    • Jack_Stewart
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Currently I have 2 prompts but I'll just present one for now.

    I want to develop more control of cross-string trills, (as a deeper challenge include moving bass against a trill).

    Like
    • Jack Stewart Love this idea! 

      Like
  • Study in Harmonics update

    Here is a video of my Study in Harmonics. Yesterday, I posted a little walkthrough of the piece, but here is an uninterrupted performance. The score is attached again.

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

      Eric Phillips Thanks for posting this, very useful.  Since I've switched to working on an Etude for Ron's prompt I probably won't post my own video yet on this, but I will give my feedback based my practicing yesterday.  I like that it gets progressively more difficult and was able to get the first section fairly easily.   I like the transition in measures 9-14 in prep for the more difficult part. 

      For me, I found measures 15-18 the most challenging (more challenging than 19-), so not sure if it would be better to put 15-18 section at the end or if most guitarists would find the progressive order you have better.  I found trying to play a harmonic and regular note at the same time really difficult, and that will require a lot more practice.

      This is exactly what I was looking for as it's very focused on the specific techniques that have been giving me the most trouble.  I couldn't find any etude/study (or tonebase video!) that addresses all of these techniques. 

      Like 2
    • Brett Gilbert I'm glad you find the study to be helpful. Switch the order of the sections if you want. Measures 15-18 are similar technique-wise to the harmonic section of Miguel Llobet's arrangement of El Testament D'Amelia (check it out if you haven't heard it before). When I worked on that a few years back, I learned it in stages:

      1. I played it without harmonics, just in open position, and memorized it so I wouldn't need to look at the score.

      2. I practiced the left-hand harmonics alone without the bass notes, again memorizing it.

      3. Lastly, I added the bass notes to the harmonics.

      Maybe that process would be helpful for you. Just a thought.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips Really loving that melody too!

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

      Eric Phillips Eric very good to hear the whole thing today. It's a really good little study in harmonics. Thank you for sharing it. Well done!

      Like 1
    • Ron Thanks, Ron, I appreciate you listening.

      Like
  • Hello Everyone, Here is my submission.

    Please accept my apology for not so great audio, you may have to turn your volume up or headphones on. Now I'm not sure if this composition can be considered as an etude in a conventional sense .. but as I'm struggling with Barre chords so thought of writing something with a lot of Barre chords and the recent livestream workshop by Martin was greatly helpful and the somewhat uncomfortable finger stretch towards the end of the piece are inspired from Artyom technique mastery course. Any all feedback is welcome.  

     

    I've tried my best to play it and after multiple takes this I think is somewhat worth sharing. 

     

    Thanks

    Nipun 

    Like 2
    • Nipun Deshpande Very nice, Nipun! What a huge stretch on those chords toward the end. I love the sound of the low bass notes together with the minor second interval two octaves higher. Beautiful!

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips Thanks Eric. I'm glad you liked it. Yes! the stretch towards the end of the piece is quite a work. Just for your info there are no minor second intervals that are happening those are tritones. Low Bb and open E string and then Low B and F 2nd string 6th fret. Thank you again for listening.🙏🙂

      Like 1
    • Nipun Deshpande  nice harmonies going on here and I really like this idea! 

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

      Nipun Deshpande Very good Nipun. I've also started working on a barre etude prompted by Martin's suggestion last week

      Like 1
    • Nipun Deshpande Oh, I thought I heard the open 1st string ringing together with the F on the second string. Still sounds cool, though!

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips I'm so sorry, you are right. As I was playing the F on the 2nd string and open E I thought of it as a Maj 7, my bad!! So there are minor 2nd's happening along with the tritones I mentioned. The open G - 2nd string F - open E are same and only the bass line changes.

      The ending chords are, 

      Low F - open G - 2nd string F - open E.

      Low Bb - open G - 2nd string F - open E.

      Low B - open G - 2nd string F - open E.

      Low C - open G - 2nd string F - open E. 

      and the piece ends on Low F - open G - 2nd string C - open E. 

       

      Lesson learnt - Only theory and no active listening 👎 

      Like
    • Ron Super!! waiting to hear it.

      Like
    • Ashley (Ash) Lucero Many Thanks 🙏 🎶 Anything that I can improve here? 

      Like
  • Hey everyone, thanks for getting this thread started! Remember that your sketches dont have to be super long or complicated for those of you worried about having enough time :) Just get some ideas down! 

    Here are some etude prompts to choose from along with everyone else's suggestions:

    • Slurs
    • Tremolo
    • 2 - voice counterpoint
    • Playing chordal textures legato
    • Scales
    • Any arpeggio patterns
    • Repeated chords
    • Balancing voices in a homophonic texture (basically means bringing out the melody)
    • Free-stroke string crossing
    • Syncopated rhythms
    • Cross-rhythms
    • Staccato playing
    • Dynamic contrast

    Feel free to choose one or more of these, or choose something one of your fellow subscribers has posted!

    DON'T FORGET: for next week's livestream, post the sketches you would like feedback on during next week's live stream in Week 2's thread HERE (<- click)

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

      Ashley (Ash) Lucero Great list Ashley, thank you. I'm trying to do something with barres at the moment as Martin suggested last week. If I get chance I will also look at the tremolo as it's something I've never really mastered. I can't make the the feedback session next week but I should be fine for the watch party.

      Like 1
    • 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.

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

      Brett Gilbert Brett, thank you so much for this. It sounds fascinating! I will work on it over the weekend and let you know how I get on.

      Like
    • Brett Gilbert This is excellent, Brett. I must say, that is beyond my technical ability. Playing those chord voicing is pretty hard, let alone bringing out the melody. I would need to do some exercises for a while before I could do this. I still find bringing out certain notes in a chord to be very difficult if it's not the highest note. Musically, though, I like it a lot. It would be interesting to analyze all the voice-leading.

      Like
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