Week 2: Delving into Diverse Styles

Welcome to the "Around the World in 80 Strings Challenge"! This month, we'll embark on a global musical journey, exploring classical guitar compositions from various countries. The only rule: Don’t play a composer from your home country. Let’s make this a truly international experience!

🗓️ CHALLENGE TIMELINE

  • Challenge Start: Kick-Off on May 15th
  • Duration: May 15th - June 24th
  • Watch Party: June 24th

🎼 ACTIVITIES

  1. Choose Your Piece: Select a new piece of music to work on. Share your choice in the thread below and inspire your fellow musicians!
  2. Video Submission: Submit a video of your practice this week. Highlight your favorite passage from the piece that showcases the origin of this piece!

🎸 GET INVOLVED

Let’s kick things off with enthusiasm! Share your progress, encourage others, and explore new musical horizons together. Can’t wait to see what everyone chooses!

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  • Gol-e-Gandome and Leila-Leila (arr. Afshar)

    I am playing Gol-e-Gandome relatively well now, so I have also begun working on a second one of these Persian ballads arranged by Lily Afshar. Apparently this is a song about a lost love named Leila. As far as I know, it has no connection to Layla by Eric Clapton. 😊

    I am not playing the whole piece yet. There is a section at the end where the melody is played with harmonics. That still needs a lot of work before I would subject anyone to it.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 wk ago
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      Eric Phillips typo correction  ......Clapton NOT having any influence on the composition of Leila x2

      I just noticed this - I really should proof read my posts ... but there are so many cat videos to watch. 🙄

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    • Eric Phillips Thanks Eric for your recordings. As usual; your music selection and your playing is just fantastic.

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    • Derek
    • Derek
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Not exactly a new piece for me although I have just started relearning it and this time I hope to take more notice of the instructions in the score! This is just a quick recording direct to my phone. I will keep working on this. 

     

    Which country is it from though? It's called Federico - A Venezuelan Waltz by the Polish composer and guitarist Tatiana Stachak from her book 'Introduction to the Waltz' 

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 wk ago
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      @Derek  Both of these pieces are very haunting and wistful and wonderfully played, Derek. 

      I thought I recognized Jimi though I wasn't sure. He is probably thinking you should try playing those behind your head.

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    • Derek  Very nice and relaxing piece of music Derek. Very well played considering the pressure being observed By Jimmy Hendrix and Bob Dylan 😉

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
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      Jack Stewart Thanks Jack. Many years ago I went to a musical equipment exhibition in Birmingham (the one in the UK) and one of the exhibitors had drawn the picture of Jimi themselves and produced a limited edition print run. I just felt sorry for him so I bought one, even though I didn't think it was very good!

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
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      Andre Bernier Thank you Andre

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    • Derek
    • Derek
    • 2 wk ago
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    Another piece by Tatiana Stachak that I am relearning. This time a piece described as a 'Tango Waltz' called Carmen.

    Jack Stewart even more pressure this time Jack - you can see Jimi breathing down my left shoulder with Bob to the right! :-)

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    • Derek cool piece thank you for sharing!

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    • Derek Great stuff, Derek! I am hearing Tatiana Stachak's name come up several times lately. It seems like a lot of people are discovering her music these days, and rightly so.

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    • Derek very nice playing , Derek. These pieces are so charming and you bring out their sweet and pleasing rhythms and harmonies. Nice!

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
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      Spare Machine Thank you

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
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      Eric Phillips Thanks Eric. I have a copy of her book 'Invitation to the Waltz' which has some really nice pieces in.  I'm hoping to post a couple more before moving on to Spain!

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      joosje Thank you Joosje

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  • Another practice session of Edin Solis' Prelude from Pasaje Abierto, this time everything up to the bridge where things start to get really hairy. This might be my last post on this for the challenge since it will probably get moved from short to mid-range projects. During the Borbala Seres TWI where she had us working on a Tarrega piece that only lasted eight measures, I had a bit of an epiphany where I realized there has to be a balance between expression and technique for me to really enjoy playing something. I think this Prelude is doable, but I currently don't have the technical headroom to add any expression so it's more of a chore than a joy to play.

    Thankfully, there's a lot I found sticking to my theme of Costa Rican music. Here is a first take of a piece by Gustavo Porras that has one of my favorite love song titles ever, "Solo quería conocer más de tu sonrisa" ("I just wanted to know more about your smile"). 

    Like 3
    • Steve Price I love them both, Steve, but I agree that your playing on the Porras song is much better, more expressive. I find much more joy in playing simpler music really well than in playing difficult music not so well.

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    • Steve Price Two very nice performances Steve. Bravo 👏

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    • Steve Price these are two very beautiful pieces. Well played Steve. Thank you for choosing them. I follow you in your approach.. sometimes it takes much longer to get to the point where you feel control, so you can concentrate fully on expression and forget about technique. Yes, some pieces are more demanding. Really well done so far. I hope you will post some more of this…

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 wk ago
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      Steve Price Beautiful pieces, Steve. You have a great feel for this music. You'll be all set for your move to Costa Rica. (Both pieces seem to begin with very similar phrases.)

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Price Very nice  love the Porras piece

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    • Eric Phillips Yes, I sometimes catch myself thinking I've been playing for ages so I should be at a higher level. But then I realize it's not paying the bills so it doesn't matter plus I don't want to put in the effort on the technical studies that I should so I'll just enjoy my time in the shallow end of the pool, lol. 

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    • Derek Thanks, Derek. That one definitely gets me so I keep working on that one for this challenge. 

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    • joosje It's interesting that some things look or sound simple but they just don't fit under my fingers well. I could sightread the Solis piece pretty well, but it just wasn't working musically. I'm also working on a piece by Jose Mora Jimenez that has some tough stretches, odd chord shapes, and tricky right-hand fingerings, but it's coming together pretty easily. I'm learning to figure this out and to accept it as opposed to beating myself up over it when something isn't working. 

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  • Leila-Leila (arr. Afshar)

    Here is an update on this piece. This time, I have recorded the entire piece, including the part with harmonics at the end. I had to cheat in a couple places by taking out the middle voice. I cannot find a workable way of simultaneously playing an artificial harmonic on the first string, a bass note on the fifth or sixth string, and a middle voice on the third string. Watching others do it in YT videos, it looks like they are plucking the middle voice with the RH middle finger, but I just cannot seem to make that happen, even very slowly. So as a result, I just don’t play that middle voice in those spots. I hope it doesn’t detract too much from the music.

    On another (and very sad) note, I just found out today that Lily Afshar died last October. She was only 63 years old, and died of cancer. I obviously did not follow her career closely, but now that I am playing these arrangements by her, I feel a little more in touch with her musically. I have also learned a little bit more about her amazing career. Apparently, she was the first woman in the entire world to receive a doctorate in guitar performance. I'm honored to be playing something she created.

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    • Eric Phillips Beautiful Eric. Great performance 👍

      Like 1
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