WEEK ONE: Uncharted Territory!
Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the Sergio Assad Community Challenge, starting to discover this wonderfully intriguing set of etudes!
- Make sure you've read the guidelines before replying (← click)
- Watch the Kick-Off-Livestream on July 16th to get an overview!
- Download the scores for Assad's 10 Sketches 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 the Sketch!
- (Optional:) questions
↓ Reply below with your assignments and questions! ↓
I decided to dive right in at Sketch IV. When I heard Martin say it was like Stairway to Heaven, I had to play it! Growing up, Jimmy Page was like a god to me.
Things I found easy: Eating ice cream (just kidding, I did not actually eat any)
Things I found difficult: Taking care on some of the fingerings; damping open strings when necessary; I played around with the improvisation, but I found everything I did to be terribly boring or just weird sounding, so I decided to spare you all of listening to me do it.
Hello everybody, I gave the first Sketch a try and - Spoiler alert - failed miserably in the 4th section of the 1st Sketch, but I'll continue working on that one!
- Things you found easy: Shaping and phrasing the line as the Simple Notes can't hide their harmonic direction!
- Things you found difficult: Adding the brazilian flavour the the 4th part and especially performing it! While the first 3 sections are repetitive and the way their patterns are built, the 4th really needs attention for fingering in order not to stumble! A wolf in sheep's clothing!
Here's my first stab at Sketch I.
Things I found easy: The harmonic structure of this melody is so clear that phrasing is not a mystery at all.
Things I found difficult: Two things.
1. The left hand fingering in measure 45 I find very difficult, which probably means I need to work on it. I took the easy way out for this recording and re-fingered it.
2. I did not work out any right hand fingering at all, but just went with whatever came naturally. Section 4, in particular. would benefit from more careful planning.
So now I can either work on these details or move on. Not sure what I'll do!
Hi everyone, here is my 2nd take for Etude 1, part 1,2, and 3. I have not achieved resonable fluency with part 4, so there is no part 4 yet ^^
Things I found easy: the first 8 bars of each part are easy for me because it does not require much shifting of left hand fingers
Things I found difficult: the last 8 bars of each part, because the left hand shift rapidly and jumps rapidly :)
And we're off!
What I found easy: loving this piece! It's simple and yet complex at the same time. I especially love the harmonic structure. It seems very promising.
What I found difficult:
- Remembering to start with my 2nd finger on C!
- Deciding which RH fingers to use
- At first I wasn't sure if I should keep the notes separate, so I attempted playing it without letting one note ring into the next. Then I watched Sergio play it again, and noticed that he let the notes ring out together. That was a relief. Made it easier to play, and it sounds prettier that way as well.
So here is my first take on Sketch II.
What was easy: Like Sketch I, the phrasing is so crystal clear that there is no guesswork.
What was difficult: A couple things.
- In order to sustain notes correctly (especially those sustained over the measure lines), great care of left hand fingering is needed.
- The accents are not easy for me. Assad says to do them with rest stroke. I can't do this right now without a lot of work, so I'm just doing a fuller free stroke. Still, I am very inconsistent. The accents on the second page are particularly difficult for me to execute well.
Sketch II Day 2
What was easy: Hitting the record button on my iPhone.
What was difficult: I have pretty much given up on doing the accents on page 2. I really have no idea how to pull those off, distinguishing between the pairs of notes with only the second one accented. When I listen to Assad play it, I don't hear it much either, so that makes me feel better! Page 2 is supposed to be "agitado", but I'm not sure my playing sounds too agitated (except for all the mistakes I made).
Thank you Martin. Here is "Sketch 1", my first post (ever-and in this forum) of me, playing guitar.
- Things I found easy: get inspired by this challenge-love the compositions. (And also the lessons about how to actually compose music, and improvise).
- Things I found difficult: fingering (in some places). And most of all - actually record and post something in this forum! I played guitar as a child, and restarted as an adult taking classical guitar lessons a couple of years ago.
Sketch III Take 1
What was easy: With the exception of measures 8-16, page 1 was pretty easy to play.
What was difficult: Two things.
- Measures 8-16 ask for rests in the bass voice and a metallic sound, which was a bit challenging. Wouldn't it be great if someone at Tonebase did a workshop on damping? ()
- The improvisation! This is not exactly my strength as a player. I made it more difficult by using more complex rhythms than were called for, but for some reason, I just couldn't stop myself. It would be easier if I didn't have to play the bass notes, but then there would be no harmonies to improvise over. Can someone remind me why this is a good thing?!?! (Just kidding )
I missed the kick-off livestream, but I've now caught up (thanks Martin) and I've watched some of the excellent progress videos.
I've had a go at sketches 1 & 2 so far.
What was easy about Sketch 1 was the phrasing as it was clearly marked!
Whilst sight reading was OK, what I found tricky was sticking to the fingering given. I've now written in all the fingering and I'm working slowly through the 'trouble spots' trying to stick to what Serio has written - not all of it feels natural but it's starting to flow. I just need more time!!
I'm aiming to work through the 1st three this week. It's really inspiring to see everyone else's submissions.
Here is my first take on Sketch II.
Things I found easy: sight reading
Things I found difficult: right hand finger alternation. I have a habit to play with the thumb on the 6th, 5th, and 4th finger. If I want to alternate to use p,i instead, then I have to consciously force myself to do that.
The second difficulty for me is playing rest stroke with "a" finger. I can't play rest stroke on "a", but my habit is to use either "m" or "i" to play rest stroke. Finger "m" is my favorite in playing rest stroke, followed by "i". This is exactly the same as my current guitar teacher. He is doing like that and I am copying his right hand style, his angle of attack in the right hand :)
I don't know if it will become necessary at some later point to train myself to play rest stroke with "a" too. What is your opinion about this? :)
Sketch IV at tempo. I played this back on day 1 of the challenge, but I was just sight reading it more or less. Now I practiced it a bit more and I am playing it at a better tempo.
What was easy: Tuning the guitar
What was difficult: As with all of these sketches, care of left hand fingering is needed to make notes sustain correctly. In the right hand, damping of bass notes is needed in a few places, and I'm pretty new to this technique (though getting better). I did not do any improvising on this one - trust me, your ears would thank me!
Sketch V First Take.
What was easy: It's very pretty, with a nice Major-Minor-Major structure. I did not find the syncopation to be too difficult.
What was difficult: Again, left hand fingering is the big challenge. There are many trouble spots, but I particularly struggled with the two phrases in measures 16-24.
I apologize for not having posted any progress updates so far but I've been working on them slowly and quietly and I really enjoy them. I thought I would have been already on vacation this week and have plenty more time but it looks like not... so I hope to post some updates in the upcoming days!
On to the second variation of the first etude...
What I found easy:
- the first line
- being expressive with the piece. It lends itself very well to dynamic interpretation.
What I found difficult:
- the left-hand fingerings that were written in. I had to make some modifications to execute well.
- m. 45 as written with the fingerings. This was the most challenging. I just couldn't get my fingers to cooperate with the fingerings that were written in, so I reconfigured that part.
- I also re-configured pretty much all the fingerings in mm 41-48, as well as mm 53-54 and m 58.
- getting one good clean take. I'm a perfectionist, and I can't tell you how many recordings it took to get it the way I wanted.
Hello guys, sorry for the late reply, I haven't got too much time to practice. But here I post my video of the 2nd Sketch by Sergio Assad. Huge thanks to Tonebase for commisioning this awesome etudes! Sorry for my concentration face I will watch your videos know, guys!
- One thing you found easy: Phrasing and shaping the melodic lines! It's more noticeable on the 3/4 part!
- One thing you found difficult: Mostly memorizing and executing well both parts (3/4 and 4/4) because of the motivic differences (don't know if those are the right terms...), there is a moment where I stop to remember the passage but with practice I'll get it right
And back with an update on the 4th Part of the First Sketch! I am a little bit behind but I promise to catch up over the course of the next days
Sketch No.1 - Part 4
- Things you found easy: Harmony and Phrasing is quite obvious, and once I got it into my fingers it flew pretty simple!
- Things you found difficult: Finding places to establish stability! There is no repetitive right hand pattern whatsoever, so every bar needed special treatment Moreover, every line had its unique problems to solve!
And here I am with Sketch No.2 - Day One!
- Things you found easy: There is nothing really easy about that one, everything is little bit weird and odd!
- Things you found difficult: I want to play the agitato fast, like really fast, but I'm not there yet, which is why I make too many mistakes! I'll update you on that one tomorrow, hopefully, it'll flow better!
I've mainly been working on sketches 1 & 2 this week - I think I've finally got all the fingerings to work on sketch 1 although I did struggle with bar 93 for a while. Rest stroke with a in Sketch 2 is coming along but the whole thing is not fluent yet!
I've never ever made a video of my playing before so I thought I'd try this afternoon with part 2 of sketch 1, however I failed miserabley when trying to up load it to YouTube and the .mov file is too big to drag and drop here unfortunately!
I'll keep trying!