Week 4: "Samba Strings Showcase"

Welcome to the Main Thread for the last week of "Villa-Lobos Voyage" practice challenge! 

  1. Select a mesmerizing piece from Villa-Lobos or a composer connected to his Brazilian heritage. Whether it's a soulful Villa-Lobos composition, a rhythmic Brazilian-inspired work, or a piece by another artist inspired by the Brazilian musical tradition, the choice is yours! 🎼

  2. Commit to regular practice and share your progress with the community. Strive to practice daily and upload at least two videos per week to showcase your musical voyage. This not only keeps you motivated but also allows you to share your artistic journey with our tonebase family. 🎥

  3. Share your favorite performance or recording that captures the spirit of the "Villa-Lobos-Voyage Challenge." Your submission will inspire others and create a vibrant collection of potential pieces for fellow members to explore. 🎧

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • Villa Lobos Choros #1 has always made me feel like tapping my toes.  I incorporated a number of ornaments suggested by Ari Arango in his Tonebase video.  I can't yet toss them off as effortlessly as he does, but it's a goal, along with cleaning up some intricate finger work and memorization.

    Like 5
    • Ron Thanks Ron!  

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    • Marilyn Blodget Beautiful, Marilyn.  As always, your beautiful tone comes through so well with this piece.  I also must agree with Barney, not sure I like the extra ornaments, but appreciate you exploring them.  I think sometimes we are too steadfast in trying to play everything exactly as written and some improvisation and creativity used appropriately can reinvent and reinvigorate some pieces.  

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    • Dale Needles Thanks Dale!  I had a lot of fun figuring out Ari’s ornaments.  His explanations were all in Spanish which I don’t speak, but I enjoyed the process.  It was quite freeing.

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    • Marilyn Blodget your Choros #1 sounds great Marilyn, beautiful performance. As for ornamentations you can take a listen at master Pierri's version, he's doing great at variating each repetitions.

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    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise!  I just listened to Pierri’s performance.  I really enjoyed it.  I think Villa Lobos would have as well. Lots of interesting rubato and dynamics as well.

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      • don
      • don.2
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Marilyn Blodget TBeatiful tone as usual. Great start to it!

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  • martin Hi is there a way for members to create/start a discussion board/thread and how does one go about it if it's possible?

    Also I was wondering if tonebase can organise some Q andA sessions on Left Hand technique and other topics.

    I joined a few months ago. Although I've watched and learned from previous livestreams. It'd be great to have some new interactive livestreams, QnA on fundamentals like technique.

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  • HVL Prelude 2 (Aug 25)

    I feel like I have hit an absolute brick wall with this piece. This is likely my last submission of it for this challenge.

    Like 6
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Seems pretty polished to me Eric, it's come a long way since your first posting and I really enjoyed listening to it! Bravo!

      Like 1
    • Ron Thank you, Ron. I often write my post immediately after recording, when I am typically not feeling good about my playing. Thank you for the more objective and encouraging feedback.

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      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Great performance Eric! 

      The main thing I hear that may be improved are the sweaks from bass strings chord changes in the arpeggio section.  It may help by lifting off the strings  (by using the arm)for these chord changes.  It would be a good idea to get some expertise on this from Dale. Please help Dale??Dale Needles

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    • Barney Eric Phillips Excellent performance and great progress, Eric.  The A Section is superb, and you play it very relaxed and musical.  Since Barney invoked my name, I will humbly offer a couple of suggestions for the B Section.  First of all, you play it very well and your right-hand arpeggio is very impressive.  Barney pointed that one area of improvement would be to try to reduce the left-hand squeaks.  I know this are very difficult to do and squeaks are generally accepted as part of playing the guitar.  However, I do believe, as Carlevaro taught, that these squeaks can be reduced greatly and even eliminated entirely with the appropriate left hand/arm technique.  Barney is correct that using the left arm to lift off the strings is a major part of reducing string noise.  Carlevaro taught that the left arm is the primary muscle used in playing a barre (not the thumb and fingers), The strength of the left arm enables a player to hold the barre in place with much less tension and then just prior to a shifting position, the left arm moves ever so slightly forward, lifting the fingers off the strings and then the shift takes place.  Alfredo Escande did an excellent demonstration and explanation of this technique in his second Tonebase live stream.  I would also suggest practicing this technique with block chords and very slowly until the arm and fingers are trained.  I hope this helps, but please note you already are playing this difficult prelude superbly.  

      Like 3
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dale Needles Eric Phillips Thanks Dale for explaining this technique so much better than I can.  Much appreciated!

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    • Dale Needles Thank you, Dale. You mentioned that livestream to me a few weeks ago, and I went searching through it to find the pertinent part, but couldn't find it. Do you happen to know when it occurs in the livestream?

      I find that if I play the section slowly, I have little problem with squeaks as I have time to lift the correct fingers and place them back on accurately. At high speed, however, I just don't seem to have enough time. If I try lifting the fingers, when I put them back down at speed, the placement is frequently off by a very small amount, but enough to derail the whole thing. Do you think focusing more on the motion of the arm would help with that?

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    • Eric Phillips Bravo Eric!  You’ve really come a long way on this!  When I run into a brick wall, I change direction for awhile, rest the challenge, and then return to my old friend at a later time.  You now know this piece.  I think it’s interesting that we usually love what we know.  And that love fires us up for a new attempt at the challenge.  The A section is beautiful, as is the B section minus the squeaks.  I second or third what others have said about lessening them.  Just two more ideas—old strings, and soaking your fingertips in hot water (a Christopher Parkening solution).

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips Eric, if you can play without squeaks in a slow tempo, I am convinced you can do it when you speed up.  In my opinion, it is only a matter of developing the muscle memory which takes place over time.  If I remember correctly Alfredo speaks about left hand shifts in both live streams and specifically talks about barres in the second.  If I got the time, I will try to revisit them to see if I can find more specifics for you.  In any case, you made great progress on this beautiful prelude during the challenge, and I am impressed with your dedication to it.  It may just be one of those pieces that continues to mature over time like a fine wine.  

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    • Eric Phillips you've done an amazing job with this Prelude Eric, that flows very well! You now have the full cycle of HVL preludes in your pocket 💪

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Really impressive. Eric. You play this Prelude beautifully. I think you will settle into it over time which will allow you to be even more relaxed in the B section. At least that has been my experience with my cross string trills.

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I think it is already very nice. Not sure where I read it but sometimes your body has improved but your brain hasn't register that improvement yet. So it is good once in a while to give it a couple of days rest in between and sometimes you might just surprise yourself with the improvements. 

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    • Eric Phillips your progress is inspiring, Eric. I know what it  feels like, yes,  it’s one of those pieces. Good to call it a day and leave it to rest. You will come back to it at some time and feel more relaxed and secure. Anyway, sounds beautiful , great result of your efforts….

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips This really sounds amazing Eric! Congratulations on the incredible progress you've made. If this is what "hitting a brick wall" looks and sounds like, I will gladly crash into it! Bravo! 

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips This is awesome, played cleanly, and with feeling. I havent posted due to holidays and othere stuff, it may have to be added to unfinished business for now and concentrate on whatever I can bring to the party into the future.

      Like 1
  • Since our theme is Villa-Lobos and Latin American music, I thought I would post the sad news of the passing today of the great Venezuelan Luthier, Ramon Blanco.  He was 90 years old and is known for his masterful classical guitars, cuatros and early instrument replicas.  He was also a well-known mountaineer, who was the oldest person in 1993 at the age of 60 to climb to the summit of Mt Everest and by 2003, he had climbed all of the 7 world's summits by the age of 70.  I was fortunate to have known Ramon and had at one time, one of his beautiful guitars. I also even got to do a hike with him on Avila National Park in Caracas in 1984.  The attached photo was taken in the mid-1980s and includes three great Maestros of Latin American, Antonio Lauro on the left, Abel Carlevaro on the right and Ramon Blanco in the middle.  RIP Maestro Blanco!

    • Dale Needles Thank you for posting this, Dale! It sounds like a life well-lived.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips Thanks, Ramon was an amazing individual and he made excellent guitars!

      Like 1
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