Week 2: Technique Tango!

Welcome to the Main Thread for the second week of "Etude Extravaganza" practice challenge! 

  1. Choose an etude from a composer that captures your interest. It could be a soothing Sor etude, a technical Giuliani masterpiece, a Carcassi finger exercise, a harmonically rich Brouwer composition, or a rhythmically challenging Villa-Lobos piece. You're encouraged to experiment with pieces from composers you're not accustomed to or push your boundaries with a technically demanding work. 🎼
  2. Commit to regular practice and share your journey with the community. Aim to practice daily and upload at least two videos per week to showcase your progress. This will not only aid in keeping you dedicated and motivated but also enables you to share your musical journey with our tonebase family. 🎥
  3. Share your favorite etude or recording that epitomizes the concept of "Etude Extravaganza." Your submission will serve as inspiration for others and construct a vibrant repertoire of potential pieces for fellow members to explore. 🎧

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • Sor - Andante Op 31 No 19 (June 13 update)

    Here is an update from yesterday, a touch faster. I am finding this piece to be a lot more difficult than I expected. Even though it's not long, it's so repetitive that I find myself fatigued as it goes on. (I can't imagine how much more tiring a piece like Recuerdos would be to practice).

    I am trying a new right hand fingering for the end of measure 7 into measure 8 (see the photo below). I'm not sure I like it, but I can't think of anything better. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear from you.

    Like 3
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Yeah, Recuerdos. It's funny how good I seem to be at the first half of that piece, because like you said, you get that far and then get tired of going any further! Maybe an incentive to play it faster so you can be done with it quicker! 😄

      I like the fingering you've worked out for this. I tried it and it makes total sense to me. 

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips I was looking at this study a few days ago myself and noticed the very problem you are describing. My own solution would be to simply continue with the p-i alternation. In other words, I would strum through the initial and final chord fragments. Obviously, this requires a very fast movement of the thumb, but this is quite feasible with a little practice. This variety of p-i alternation is sometimes encountered in the lute repertoire - for example, in the rather challenging 'Piva' from the little suite by Dalza that you posted the first movement of not long ago. The technique is also commonly employed in 'Travis' style picking, although there it's the bass strings that are brushed with the thumb. Having said that, you seem to be managing well with your own solution, so there's need to do something different. It would be very interesting to know what Sor had in mind here!

      Like 1
    • David Krupka Thank you, David! I actually gave it a shot, and I think it works better for me. I find that I have to keep my wrist very relaxed to pull it off (just like the Pinball Wizard, I need "such a supple wrist" 🙂). 

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

      Eric Phillips can't offer any suggestion but some compliments on the wonderful playing..🙂

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

    Okay, back at it with attempt #2 on this Study in D by Sor. I had to take several days off for an out-of-town memorial service for my father-in-law, so I've been a bit out of the loop. 

    If you watched the first video, you remember that I just played the first couple lines and the last couple lines. In this version I play the entire piece. 

    I already have my eye on some rough spots that need to be worked out, and since recording this I've been going through each line repeatedly with a fine-toothed comb. 

    Like 2
      • Ronnull
      • Ron.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson Great progress Steve - this is one of my favourite Sor studies. Well played!

      Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson This is shaping up nicely, Steve. In particular, I very much like your phrasing. By the way, to answer the question which you asked earlier, I personally would play this with free stroke throughout. (In the past I would have used some rest stroke in the melody (as you seem to be doing) but these days I prefer to highlight important notes with 'weight' alone.)

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson That’s coming along nicely Steve.  To shape the melody a little more you might want to paint rainbows with your phrases and lighten the bass and inner voices.  To me, this piece represents passive longing.  You could consider telling a story that communicates your feeling for this piece. 

      Like 1
    • Steve Pederson beautiful. Nice phrasing and you have mastered in well in short time.

      Like 1
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ron Thanks so much Ron!

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

      David Krupka Thanks David, yes, I've started to give more attention to the free stroke idea. It's amazing what happens when I start paying attention to those little details! 

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

      Marilyn Blodget Thank you for the suggestion Marilyn! I took your advice and it sounds like a completely different piece. Beautiful! Can't wait to record it again and show you. 

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

      joosje Thanks Joosje! 

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    • Wonderful!  I look forward to hearing you!

      Steve Pederson 

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

      Steve Pederson very legato! Really enjoy it!

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    • Steve Pederson well played...bravo

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

    Interesting one - I have the Brian Jeffery edition and he suggests p-i alternation for all the 32nd notes. I've tried it both ways and I think your first fingering works better for me, but I haven't attempted it context of the whole piece! That being said I love both of your recordings!

     

    Have you by any chance played Op 29 No 18 (in some editions it's No 6) ? I'm struggling with the left hand fingering for measures 6 & 7

    Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ron Sor, according to Coste (who had been his student) had an unusual capacity for stretching the fingers of his left hand. So my guess is that Sor himself would have fingered the measures you mention in the 'natural' manner, by which I mean in the lowest position(s) possible. So I think the chromatically descending bass line is meant to be played on the fifth string throughout. (And likewise, the melody on the first string.) Every chord is playable in isolation, and in fact none is unreasonably difficult on its own. (The ones built on the 'C#' and the 'C' are rather 'stretchy' though.) The real problem is connecting them smoothly. Another fingering is, however, available, although I doubt Sor himself would have used it: the whole passage (starting at the second beat of measure 6) can be played in the seventh position, with the melody moving from the 'B' on the first string to the 'A' at the tenth fret of the second string. (The 'E' on the third string can be fingered with the third finger throughout, while the second finger handles the descending bass.) Measure 7 also works perfectly well in the seventh position, with the melody remaining on the second string. While I don't particularly like the musical effect of this fingering, it has the merit of being unproblematic, technically speaking. Incidentally Coste indicated that he employed different solution when playing difficult pieces by Sor: he used a smaller guitar!

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

      David Krupka Thanks David that's really useful. I have certainly had problems with the streches in 'natural' position so I've tried the seventh position which is easier for me but, as you say, musically it's not as satisfying. Perhaps I need to get a smaller guitar! I will try the exact fingerings you suggest later and see how they work for me. Thank you

      Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ron I should add that what Coste had in mind was a so-called 'Terz' guitar, tuned a minor third higher. (These were common in the 19th century but were used almost exclusively in chamber music.) The scale length of these small instruments was about 550 cm - much shorter than a full-sized guitar.

      Like
    • Ron I think David Krupka solutions sound good. I have never played that, and the end of measure 7 just looks impossible.

      Like
  • F. Sor , Opus 31 No.19

    Imagine for this one written and played by a Brass Quartet.

    The 32nd note figures double tongue , dah-gah-dah-gah.

    P-I-P-I of RH fingers imitate this.

    This figure doesn’t have to be attacked too harsh or very loud.

    Perhaps Trumpet for high notes and French Horn for lower notes using this figure. 
    Phrase sometimes crosses the bar line. Keep accompaniment part supportive with softer attack and bass slightly less.

    The Sor studies offer much for your orchestration imagination.

    Have fun. 🌞

    Like 1
    • Michael Carlson Nice! I know absolutely nothing about orchestration - I'm a true guitar nerd. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Like
  • Sor - Op 31 No 19 (June 14 update)

    Lots of mistakes here, but at least I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with it. I tried David Krupka 's solution for the tricky measure I wrote about above. Still not there, but I feel like I am getting closer.

    Like 2
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