WEEK 2: Conquering Carcassi's Etudes

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the Carcassi Etudes op.60 challenge! 


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! ↓

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    • Brett Gilbertnull
    • Piano and classical guitar
    • Brett_Gilbert
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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.
    Like 4
    • Brett Gilbert This is great, Brett! Good separation between melody and accompaniment, You are also showing control of your tone without changing position. It seems to me that those skills are pretty rare for someone only playing for one year.

      In my opinion, number 2 is easier than number 16. Don't let the sixteenth notes scare you - just take it very slowly. In fact, you would probably benefit by first playing it as block chords with no arpeggio, just to get the chord changes and shifts down. Then work on the arpeggio very slowly, either with open strings or the first Am chord, making it even in rhythm and tone quality. Then put the whole thing together. I was playing the arpeggio p-i-m-a-m-a-m-a, but experiment with whatever is easiest for you. Another good choice would be p-i-m-a-m-i-m-i.

      Number 6 is also relatively easy, and there's a good tutorial video on it by Peter Graneis. Number 19 would also be a good choice. If you haven't played slurs very much, the slur pieces might be a bit hard without some preparatory work.

      That's my two cents. Great work on this beautiful piece! I consider it one of my favorites in the repertoire.

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      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Thanks Eric, I loved your video of #2 and the tonebase lesson.  I'll give that a try next after a few days rest.  Looking forward to seeing everyone's videos this week and the exciting livestream on Friday - see you there!

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert So Awesome, bravo to that! I am happy with almost everything, only for the last chord I'd recommend another fingering as you are interrupting the line when you jump with the fourth finger!

      My solution would be (if you want to play the penultimate chord in this position) to slide with the 4th finger to the f on the second string (6th fret) and play f-a on the the 3rd and 4th string! This is somewhat of a stretch, but since you can keep the 4th finger it should be managable!

      Eric Phillips Thank you for putting together that list! Brett Gilbert you might also want to look at No.15, it' basically the same arpeggio in different positions, similar to No.2 where everything that Eric said is absolutely right! If you want to dip your toes in slurring, then I'd recommend to start with No.4 and No.10, both are quite simple as they don't require any special fingering! No. 8 might be a bit harder as the position in which you are slurring will change all the time!

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      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Yes, I noticed the final chord position you recommended in your tutorial but my hands couldn't consistently hit that yet as it was a bit of a stretch. I will keep at working on that final chord though, and a-m-i in the beginning worked very well.  Thank you so much. 

      btw, since I haven't changed my strings in over 6 months I am going to give your favorite combo a try.  Not sure if shipping to Germany makes it too expensive to be worthwhile, but stringsbymail is a favorite here in US,  You can put together your own custom sets and they have the individual strings you recommended.

      Like
    • Brett Gilbert bravo! Really nice tone and good phrasing 

      Like
      • wasan
      • wasan
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert Beautifully played and lovely melody🙂

      Like
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      wasan and joosje - thank you for the encouragement! wasan - I enjoyed your recent video of #3

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      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Brett Gilbert this is beautiful! Congratulations!!! One study that I found easy and beautiful is number is number 3

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      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Emma Thank you, I always appreciate feedback from the more experienced guitarists here like you.  Yes, I'm looking at 3 and 2 now as they both seem more approachable. 

      Like
  • Study 21 A section only (measures 1-16).

    I wanted to focus on this section today. I had three goals, in order of priority:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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! 😊

    Like 2
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Sorry I can't offer suggestions as it sounds perfect to me.  Your tempo seems just right though.  I listened to a few yt videos where most play with a faster tempo which didn't seem as well suited to the character of the piece.

      Like 1
    • Brett Gilbert Thanks, Brett. When it's faster, it's  sounds a bit like a march to me, which is fine I guess, but I like it to be more tender almost. That said, when I listen back to my playing, it's a bit heavy on a few of the chords.

      Like
    • Eric Phillips a great bravo. It’s beautiful. 👋👋👋 I used to play it  slightly faster. But your ornaments are so clean and elegant ! Ill revise this study. Thank you for the inspiration .

      Like 1
    • joosje Thanks, Joosje. The ornaments are harder than I thought. I don't play much Baroque music, so I rarely play pieces that showcase ornaments. It's showing me how much work they can really be. When there are only one or two ornaments in a piece and they're not played perfectly, it doesn't ruin the whole piece. This one is another story, though.

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      • wasan
      • wasan
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

        Eric Phillips your ornamentation are so gorgeous, your tempo is perfect, I feel like a minuet, Bravo!

      Like 1
    • wasan Thank you, Wasan!

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      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips hey I agree these mordents!!!! But you are conquering them!!!!

      Like
    • Peg Barrett
    • I am a guitar instructor and a member of the Pensacola Guitar Ensemble.
    • Peg
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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.

    Like 1
    • Peg Barrett That's great, Peg. I played through it yesterday, I think that's next for me after number 21.

      Like
    • Eric Phillips Peg Barrett great piece. Never played it before. So I tried it  it’s really beautiful. I love the harmonies. Preparation, preparation. I feel when going with the flow  (melody, harmonies and dynamics )I tend to forget….

      Like 1
  • 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.

    Like 3
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips well done!!!! I am copying from you the fingerings in bar 23!!! I had problems with the rhythm there but you nailed it!

      Like 1
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips although you did not play the chord 23 bar and mordant there. Could you please pass me your fingering? A photo of the score with the fingers? 

      Like 1
      • Brett Gilbertnull
      • Piano and classical guitar
      • Brett_Gilbert
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Impressive as always.  So dedicated that you're making videos at work now! 😉 Do you ever play for your students?  

      Like 1
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