WEEK 2: Conquering Carcassi's Etudes
Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the Carcassi Etudes op.60 challenge!
- Make sure you've read the guidelines before replying (<- click)
- Watch the kickoff livestream to get an overview over the etudes!
- Get the Scores 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 it!
- (Optional:) questions
↓ Reply below with your assignments and questions! ↓
I think we're on the 2nd week so I'll post here? I was heads down all day working on #16 to prepare this video. It's a real challenging piece for me, now I need a few days to rest my hands It's so impressive to see everyone's videos I'll have to catch up with what I missed today...
- Things you found easy: No. 16 was easy only in comparison to No 1. which I started with but was way above my level...
- Things you found difficult: This was still a very challenging piece for me with all of the shifts and trying to bring out a nice tone on the melody. Martin's video on this and recent performance from Eric was a real inspiration to focus and finally do a video.
- (Optional): a video of you performing it! I'm still not ready to commit to expensive equipment but I'm trying a new mic: Marantz Pro MPM1000. Definitely better than the computer mic.
- (Optional:) questions. I wonder which one would be considered the "easiest". If it's 16 that might be only one I can do for this challenge, but curious if there is a recommendation for an easy one that I could tackle next.
Study 21 A section only (measures 1-16).
I wanted to focus on this section today. I had three goals, in order of priority:
- Execute the mordents cleanly and consistently. This is far more difficult than I expected. Each one is different, depending on the fingers used and the frets they are found on. (The string they are found on would also be a factor, but I intentionally have them all on the second string.) I first isolated them and practiced each one separately. In the video, I did not nail each one perfectly, so this is obviously a work in progress for me.
- Navigate the shifts well. Because I am trying to keep the melody on the second string as much as possible, there are a lot of shifts. I actually did not find this too difficult, but maybe one of you watching the video will see something that needs improvement for me.
- Play it up to tempo. I've heard some recordings of it that are a bit faster, but I think I like it at the tempo I played in the video posted here. Let me know if you think otherwise.
Generally, I just find these sixteen measures to be incredibly beautiful, and so I want to play them as beautifully as I can!
I have begun working on #12. Since the arpeggio pattern is repetitive and straight forward I expect little difficulty playing it once the left hand part is learned. My usual process for an arpeggio piece like this is to learn the chords as block chords - get the fingerings and the movement from one chord to the next. Once that's done it's just a matter of using the right hand pattern, working in the dynamics, and I think for this piece some rubato. I've got most of the chord shapes; they just need to come more quickly. More later.
Study 21 B section only (measures 17-52).
This section still uses the rhythmic motif and the mordents of the A section that I posted above, but it has a very different character to it.
Like in the A section, I tried to focus on executing the mordents well. I also wanted to give this section some better phrasing and dynamics than I did in the initial run through, since it seemed so long and rambling in that video. It is by no means a finished product here, but I hope there is more of a shape and musical direction to this long section now.
By the way, you may notice that I am in a different location. I am in the classroom where I teach. The lighting in the room is all fluorescent, which looked horrible, so I turned the lights off. Sorry it's so fuzzy. The sound is okay.
Had a look at number 19 this morning - I love it - don't think I have heard it before. I play it slower than the marked tempo but I like this speed. Only had about 30 to 40 minutes on it but I did a quick video - just on the phone but added a bit of reverb in Da Vinci Resolve (which may have been a mistake)
Things I found easy - most of it easy(ish)
Things I found hard - getting the melody to sing and I fluffed the changes up to the seventh position in the video - but I only had time for one take. This is another I will work on and post a hopefully better version next week.
Hi everyone, here is my Etude no. 2 after two days of practicing. Please give me feedback for improvements. Right now my weakness is I did not learn to rest the right hand thumb on a un-played bass string after playing a note. My right hand thumb is floating :) I will try to experiment with resting the thumb to see how it feels.
I have tried to focus on having the dynamic as written by the score.
Study 21 Final(?) Update.
Here's the whole thing put together. I actually changed my mind and went back to a more conventional fingering for the piece. I'm fickle, I guess!
I still played several of the mordents poorly, and I was not able to execute my planned dynamics and rubato as well as I would have liked, but I'm probably going to move on to another study now.
I had never played this before, and it looked a little boring when I just saw it on paper. But after playing through it, I think the harmonic progression is really quite interesting and beautiful.
What was easy: It's pretty straightforward arpeggios. Phrasing and dynamics come rather naturally when you play it.
What was difficult:
- I had to determine the right hand pattern I would use. I tried about four different patterns, but settled on p-a-i-p. It does repeat the thumb when you repeat the pattern, but I found that easier than other patterns that do not.
- There is some bass string damping needed, which is still challenging for me (but less so now than two weeks ago ).
- I'd like to increase the speed a bit, making it almost sound like waves of arpeggios, getting faster and slower.
Study 12 slow and expressive.
When I was working on Study 2 and 14, I found it helpful to play them slowly and expressively so I could be attentive to details and have a very clear sense of phrasing and shaping. I figured this approach would be helpful for Study 12 as well, which I would eventually like to be able to play quite a bit faster.
I'm going to really challenge myself with this one (while I continue to work on #12 above). Martin put this into the difficult and long categories!
The video is just an initial read through the piece. I did make some quick decisions about fingerings beforehand, but I'll probably change them a bit as I dive deeper.
What was easy: Easting breakfast this morning.
What was difficult: Too many things to write here. Clearly the section that needs the most work right now is the end (C section? Coda? It's measures 28 to the end.) But there's a lot of work to do everywhere! I really don't know what particular technical skill this study focuses on, if any. It is quite beautiful, though.
Hello everybody, this second week I have been practicing number 3, 16, and 21
this is my recording of no 3
The difficult part was the recording itself!!! I get very nervous. Also the the four quavers after the triplets don’t come out as imaginé them
It was easy for me to imagine the interpretation and musicality
Hi everybody, here is my second take of Etude no. 2. There are a lot of room to improve. Please don't hesitate to give me feedback. Unfortunately the audio of the video is clipped, so there are distortion. There are things like shifting, dynamic, and speed that come into my mind as my self-critique. I need to continue working on this piece for a long time before it will be more ready, I guess.
I might not be able to touch a guitar in week 3 due to my private schedule, so that's why I am posting today when I can. Thank you :)
Study 24 A and B sections.
By my breakdown, this study has three sections of material. Today, I practiced the first two (which get repeated a few times). The first section is very lyrical and Romantic in style. The second section is labeled "animato" and so I am trying to play it a bit faster and more intensely. Let me know your thoughts.
I’m still working on #12. The shifts are getting smoother and should improve as I get more familiar with the chords in the second section. I live on the northern Gulf Coast and my practice has been interrupted a bit with hurricane preparation. Overall, I’m glad I chose this piece. Next will be #21 I think.
Hello, this is my second posting of the week. I was planning to record number 16 this weekend but after 5 attemps or... more? I postpone it. I keep failing in the same couple of places, so I will practice it a bit more and challenge myself to send a recording next week
What is difficult, many things, keeping a consistent sweet melody with a consistent "a" finger, the displacements (one of the without a guide finger in bar 7)
What is easy, it is beautiful so I want to practice it more and more. It is easy to memorise
Next week I plan to record this one and the wonderful number 21 with the mordents....
Study 24 C section.
Yesterday, I worked on the A and B sections (which repeat a few times), and today I worked on the C section (coda?) which is measures 28 until the end.
What was easy: Tying my shoes, especially since they have no laces.
What was difficult: This section has quite a few shifts that can be tricky. I made use of some open string fingerings to ease the shifts, but I'm not sure if that is the best musical choice. Let me know if you think that they interrupt the melodic line.
Hello everyone, this is my second post after posting study no.3 last week.
I was hesitating about recording it as I didn't master it yet but I said why not, at the end it is only about sharing progress and having fun :)
This week I recorded Study No.1 which is still challenging to me and requires a lot more practice.
I will practice both studies 1 & 3 more to polish them then I may post if they get any big improvements.
Next, I may start learning either a section of Study No. 7 as I want to try tremolo or study no.2 if that was way difficult for me :)
Sorry I posted this in "week 1" by mistake, so copied it here where it belongs. This one is a bit more challenging than it first appears. Since it is not memorized, I need to pay more attention to the transitions for different RH patterns and some position changes. Guess this was one of Carcassi's main purposes of this study.