Week 2: Ballads and Barcarolles 🎼🛶

Welcome to the Main Thread for the second week of "Song and Dance" practice challenge! 

  1. Choose a piece that is inspired or transcribed from a song or a dance. It could be a lively south-american danza, a passionate tango, a serene romantic lied, or a poignant aria transcribed for the guitar. You're welcome to explore pieces from unfamiliar composers or challenge yourself with a complex work. 🎼

  2. Commit to daily practice and share your journey with the community. Aim to practice every day and upload at least two videos each week to illustrate your progress. This will not only help you stay committed and encouraged but will also allow you to share your musical voyage with our tonebase family. 🎥

  3. Share your favorite piece or recording that embodies the theme of "Song and Dance." Your submission will serve as an inspiration to others and create a vibrant pool of potential pieces for other members to delve into. 🎧

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • I found a CD of Johann Kasper Mertz's shorter pieces which includes some real gems. I didn't know much about him aside from his Elegie and some parts of the Bardenklänge which are well above my grade so this was a nice find. This is one of his Ländler, which from what I understand. is a precursor of the waltz. I need to clean it up a bit, but it's coming together. 

    Like 7
    • Steve Price it sounds really lovely. Thank you for bringing to our attention this sweet little gem…

      Like 1
    • Steve Price Great job, Steve. Mertz has lots of great music at this level of playing. Personally, I'd love it if we had a four-week Mertz challenge.

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Price Very cool Steve! I love the descending bass line and cool harmonies in the beginning of this piece! 

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    • don Thanks, Don. I looked up the piece you mentioned and it's really nice. I think it's in my range too so I'll have to try it out.

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    • Eric Phillips Thanks, Eric. There's certainly enough material at all levels it seems and a lot of it is readily available. The quality of the scores seems pretty good too.

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    • Jack Stewart
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    • Jack_Stewart
    • 1 yr ago
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    Mompou Canción y Danza 10A (canción)

    This piece is from a series of 15 Canción y Danzas by F Mompou, mostly for piano. Mompou based this piece and its accompanying Danza on 2 Cantigas de Santa María by Alphonso X
    (13th C.) and was originally written for piano. He then transcribed them for guitar. 

    This is a fairly rough draft. It is seemingly simple but has proved to be fairly tricky for me. It is also challenging to phrase as it is so sparse and harmonically ambiguous.

    There is a beautiful performance on YT by Sean Sibe (also the accompanying Danza).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPqWFdEKl1o

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      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
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      Jack Stewart well done! I don't think is simple at all. it looks like a really difficult arrangement with really awkward positions. It is always difficult to play a transcription especially from piano. 

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      don Thanks, Don. Some of the fingering is pretty awkward even if it moves at a modest pace.

      The transcription was actually made by Mompou himself. The corresponding Danza for this is a nice pairing. I'll see if I have time to get to it.

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      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart You've made a good start on this, Jack. I agree with Don that this doesn't look easy at all, especially for the left hand. I wonder how well Mompou knew the guitar. (The Suite Compostelana is also full of awkward fingerings.)

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    • Jack Stewart it made my day, just listening to you playing this cancion. It is a fascinating little piece and indeed far from easy. I love it. You are already playing it so well. I hope to hear you grow into it even more. I was planning to record the cancion from the suite compostelana again for this challenge, but I’m travelling and find no opportunity for really practicing and recording at the moment. I’m now in the French city of Orange, it’s beautiful here. I brought my guitar, maybe next week I’d have more time…. 

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      David Krupka Thanks, David. I am unaware that Mompou had any direct experience playing the guitar. I think he was caught up in the Segovia phenomena who had responded favorably to his Suite Compostelana.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      joosje Thanks Joosje. I am really glad to hear you enjoyed this piece.  It is a fascinating piece. It is interesting to listen to performances of the Alfonso X cantiga this was based on,  Santa Maria, Strela do dia (CSM 100).

      I am envious of your travels in France. I have never been there, though my wife and I will be making another attempt to visit Spain in October (sans guitar). Have fun - as I am sure you are.

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    • Jack Stewart I know nothing about Mompou, other than having heard the name and having a vague knowledge of his time period. I have nothing to add other than what others above had said - this is far from easy and you're off to a great start!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Eric Phillips I would imagine you would like Mompou. He seems to have been influence by  the Impressionists.  His Suite Compostelana has some beautiful parts. The video I posted of Sean Sibe's performance of this Cancion and the corresponding Danza are ethereal.

      Like 1
    • Jack Stewart Very nice, Jack.  A beautiful piece and looking forward to future posts. 

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
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      Jack Stewart I agree with don - it doesn't look easy at all. Anytime you get a bunch of block chords together like that, you're just asking for trouble! At least I am anyway! 😄 Really nice job, though!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Dale Needles Thanks Dale. 

      BTW I am doubling down on practicing this month in preparation for the GFA conference in June - I have 3 private lessons. We should connect after I get back.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Pederson Thanks Steve. OK, so maybe I shouldn't feel embarrassed that I find it so difficult. I guess it is that none of the chords are very difficult in isolation but there are some pretty awkward movements to get to them.

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    • Jack Stewart thanks for sharing this Jack, I just know a bit about Mompou and you picked out my curiosity. This is sounding great nailless!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise. I was really taken by this piece when I first heard it. It was even more interesting that it was based on a cantiga by Alfonso X. I had a strong interest Medieval music in college.

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    • Jack Stewart This is great, Jack. I love his suite but I didn't know a lot about this. 

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    • Wainull
    • Wai_Ng
    • 1 yr ago
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    Pavanas por la D - Gaspar Sanz

    Hi everyone, I would like to share another Gaspar Sanz's piece with you all. This time, I decided to create my own arrangement instead of using the original tablature (since it wasn't playable as written). It took me the first week of the challenge to come up with this arrangement and I was planning to record it in the second week. Unfortunately, I caught Covid (first time, not too severe luckily) and had to spend 3 days in bed. But I finally tested negative this morning and managed to record this before running out of energy again.

    I tried to stay true to the original as much as possible, just placing some notes an octave lower (to act as bass notes) or higher (to maintain the voice-leading), with no artificial flavoring added. The most challenging part was definitely the campanelas passages. I know it's impossible to fully recreate the sound of a baroque guitar on a modern classical guitar, but I still wanted to try playing it on mine and hoped that my version at least makes some sense and is enjoyable to listen to. I hope you find it interesting!

    By the way, Wiki said, "Pavanas" (Pavane) refers to a type of dance, so it seems like this piece fits with the theme of this month's challenge, doesn't it?😅

    Like 6
    • Wai Wai, this is so amazing! Your arrangement is great, and I particularly liked the campanella section at the end. It's more than just enjoyable to listen to, it's absolutely marvelous! You are really digging deep into Sanz' music, and I think this is your best performance yet. So impressive!

      By the way, I'm glad you're feeling better and that Covid didn't hit you too hard. 🤧

      Like 1
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 1 yr ago
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      Wai Very creative arrangement, Wai. You've definitely managed to capture the flavour of re-entrant tuning, especially in the final section. And very well played too! Btw, the 'pavane' was not just some run-of-the-mill dance, it was among the most important dance forms of the 16th and early 17th centuries. Absolutely appropriate for this challenge! Glad to hear your encounter with Covid was brief and not too severe.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Wai This is wonderful, Wai. It is also very different from what I am familiar with of Sanz' music. I especially like your Campanella section.

      Great transcription and performance. 

      Like 1
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