Week 1: A Guitar has Six Strings, Right? 🎸

Welcome to the Main Thread for the first week of the transcription challenge! This is the place to discuss the Week 1 livestream.


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 Progress Update and Questions! ↓

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  • Schubert Adieu (trans Tarrega) Update Jan 7

    I haven't posted in a few days, but I have continued practicing Tarrega's transcription of this Schubert song. I have made a few fingering changes to make the melody more legato.

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    • Eric Phillips wow! so musical. Listening is a real joy, the phrasing, rubato, vibrato. It’s all there.  Wonderful performance, Eric!

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    • joosje Thank you for such kind words, Joosje!

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    • @Eric Phillips  Ok. Fine, Eric. You've convinced me that is a beautiful work (against my will mind you) That was great. Really beautifully played.

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    • Eric Phillips That was beautiful. So soulful. You are an inspiration Eric .....

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    • Jack Stewart Thank you, Jack! I think you're a closet romantic.

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    • margaret macarthur Thanks so much, Margaret!

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    • Eric Phillips NNNNNoooooooo

      I'm not going to grow up!

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    • Eric Phillips Well done, it sound good. It seem you doesn't use any rest stroke, pheraps it could be usufull in some passages, doesn't it? 

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    • ivan paolo Thanks, Ivan. Good idea. I really have never been a rest stroke guy at all until I worked on it a bit in the Virtuosity Challenge last Spring (I think?). It stills feels very unnatural for me to use it, but maybe it would help bring the melody out in a few places. I'll give it a try.

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    • Eric Phillips I don't know which is better Eric, the music or your playing - both beautiful

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    • Derek Thank you, Derek, very kind.

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  •  Chopin Valse Op. 69.2 Complete ... sort of.

    This is a complete recording of the Chopin Waltz (well, I didn't play the repeat of the B section - you're welcome😊) It went fairly well, though it does begin to fall apart a bit in the last half 😳. I hope to have a more refined recording next week. I am also beginning work on some other transcriptions which will have their own thread when I get them.

    Sorry for the double post. I haven't figured this out yet - me being an old dog and this is a new trick.

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    • Jack Stewart Really great, Jack! Is it just me, or does some of this sound Bach-like with the counterpoint? The descending chromatic bits seem like they'd be particularly challenging, but you're nailing them. What a great piece of music!

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    • Eric Phillips Thanks Eric. I have heard that Bach was a big influence on Chopin so there is probably a strong connection there. But then what composer wasn't influenced by Bach. Yes, the chromatic descending lines required a lot of time and effort (and still do). And I have a difficult time making the C section sound right. It's not as challenging and therefore more exposed. I have found a lot of Chopin I like. There is a lot I don't care for as well but the pieces I do like I like a lot. I think I am going to try and learn his Op. 28 #15  Prelude (Tarrega trans). It has a wonderfully dramatic B section. I have a couple of Mazurkas to revive and at least one more waltz (op. 64.2) that I want to tackle at some point. 

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    • Jack Stewart That all sounds great. I really love Op 28 No 15! I like the versions of it by Lorenzo Micheli and Patrik Kleemola on YT. 

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    • Jack Stewart that’s great Jack. well played, nice speed, rhythm and energy. Looking forward to more Chopin from you.

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    • Jack Stewart Great work, this is a challenging piece. Keep going. I love the Roland Dyens arrangement of this piece, it is in my list of music to learn. 

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    • Eric Phillips I completely agree on your preferred versions and they are each very different

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    • ivan paolo Thanks Ivan. The Dyens sounds wonderful but It requires some unusual scordatura which I have shied away from. I have more than enough trouble with trying to work in standard tuning. Maybe at some future time.

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    • joosje Thanks Joosje. I started exploring Chopin a couple fo years ago and am completely surprised how much I like his compositions. I had tended to avoid romantic composers but I am coming around.

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    • Jack Stewart Great work Jack!

      Is the transcription yours?

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    • Roni Glaser Thanks Roni. No, this is from a collection of Chopin transcription by Richard Yates (Chopin: 21 Selected Pieces). It is a good selection of pieces and seem to be well done.

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    • Jack Stewart Great work Jack - very energetic performance - I like it

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    • Derek Thanks Derek

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    • Jack Stewart Interesting, I think the Bach sound is probably from the bass, which appears to have quite a presence in the transcription. If I remember rightly, the left hand of the original piano has a lower bass note on the downbeat and then two chords on beats 2 and 3. Because of the smaller range fewer "keys" (that is, strings and fingers) on the guitar, I expect the two chords have been combined with the bass, although I haven't seen the score. I suppose if you want it more Chopin-sounding, you could play the bass note on the first beat as a normal bass, and then be lighter on the second two beats. I think that might give more presence to the main melody too. What do you think?

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    • Jack Stewart so good, very rhythmic . So good 

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    • Roni Glaser Thanks for the heads up on this,

       Roni. I admit I have a lot of refinement to smooth the piece out. I will try to focus more on the balance of voices. I checked the original piano score and it is mostly basic om-pah-pah waltz accompaniment in the left hand. Roland Dyens maintains this but he raises the 2 lower strings to F# and B which I don't want to deal with yet. His transcription and performance of this piece is excellent however.

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    • Jack Stewart Great start, I can't wait to hear your progression on this piece. I never tried Chopin on the guitar, sounds quite difficult.

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    • Hélène Beaulieu Thanks Helene. I 'discovered' Chopin about 3years ago. I especially like his character pieces (Mazurkas, Waltzes, Preludes etc). I do find them difficult but I do find them rewarding.Thanks for listening. Hopefully I will record a more f=refined version soon. 

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    • Jack Stewart Yes, it's a complicated matter transcribing Chopin! Or any keyboard music for that matter. I've always found that it's important, and very difficult, not overload the guitar with too much of what the musical idea is, even if it is kind of playable. I find the same goes for guitar composition in general. And in Chopin the main melody is already full enough! 

      It looks like in the transcription you've played, the transcriber has opted for a bass melody to create the harmony, I imagine the notes from original the "pah-pah" bit have been shared between the bass in beats two and three, with the first beat as the original (with probably a good few octave transpositions)? A very interesting solution, I can imagine the transcriber must have had fun making sure the bass melody worked, while preserving the harmony. I guess this is tending towards an arrangement rather than a transcription, and so I reckon you could say you have some artistic licence not to play it exactly in the Chopin style, and justify you Bachianism 😊

      Well done again on your playing!

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  • Eric Phillips  That was beautiful. So soulful. You are an inspiration Eric.... 

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  • Schumann Traumerei (Op 15 No 7)

    Here is a transcription I found in a couple of places. Apparently it is a very well-known melody, but I confess I do not know it at all. Schumann's Opus 15 is titled Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) and this movement is called Traumerei (Dreaming). It is written for piano, of course.

    I am working off of two transcriptions I found of the piece. One is by Tarrega (surprise!) and is in the collection of pieces that Martin posted for us. For some reason, it has the title "Reverie" on it, but it is clearly this piece. I also found a transcription of it by Frederick Noad in one of his anthologies. What I am playing is a mix of the two transcriptions, with some of my own adaptations as well.

    On a side note, one thing I really like about playing transcriptions is the sense of freedom it gives me to change what I see on the page. I claim no special giftedness at transcription, but I find playing around with music to be really enjoyable.

    This one is pretty challenging for me, so it may take me the rest of the challenge and beyond. We''ll see!

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    • Eric Phillips You're really beginning to push my buttons Erich!😊

      Beautiful beginning. You're initial walk thrus are equivalent to my weeks of intensive practice. I don't know how you do it.

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    • Jack Stewart Oh, I'm sorry, Jack! Is this considered Romantic music, too? I thought it may have been Baroque. Or maybe it's atonal. It reminds me a bit of John Cage. Not sure. 😄

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    • Eric Phillips beautiful music. I enjoyed listening.. Looking forward to the progress. I must admit I admire you’re energy: all these great pieces in such short time!

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    • joosje Thank you, Joosje. Energy is not my problem. Focus is!

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    • Eric Phillips I see what you mean Eric, but you are going fast and far on this adventurous  discovery tour. it’s amazing….

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      • don
      • don.2
      • 4 mths ago
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      Eric Phillips I love this piece! Never heard of it before.  It doesn't sound like it was transcribed for guitar. 

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    • don Thanks, Don. They say that is the sign of a good transcription.

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    • Eric Phillips A great piece to work on Eric - I'm with Jack on his comment though. Very impressed

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    • Eric Phillips Hi Eric,  I've always loved this piece ever since I listened to the piano recording by Vladimir Horowitz (take a listen to it if you have time).  There is also a nice transcription by Angel Romero fyi.  The challenge is keeping the melody as legato as possible, and handling some delicate dynamics.  You are doing a nice job so far.  Thank you for reminding us about this great piece.  I'm going to put on the Horowitz recording right now, haha.

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    • Barney Thanks, Barney. Here's the recording I found of Horowitz. It is really outstanding! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7ncjhSqtk

      I can only find Romero's transcription available for purchase (not free), so I think I'm going to go with what I have.

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    • Eric Phillips Did you notice the people in the audience crying as they witnessed Horowitz playing this piece?  Horowitz was such an Amazing artist and lengendery pianist, it was not usual for him to have that affect on his listeners...(including me).

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  • I admit I’m a bit off schedule. Many things happening around me keeping me from active practice. Yet, I’m working on the incredibly beautiful  Capricho Catalan, inspired by Manny’s live lesson. It takes time to get ready for recording. So, not yet.

    in the meantime, as an intermezzo I practiced for a little while this charming little piece from the film ´La Vita e Bella’: ‘ Buongiorno Principessa’. It takes more than one practice session, but I would like you to know this one., so I’m giving  it a go as it is…. 
     

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    • joosje So lovely, Joosje! I remember seeing that film when it came out (I was living in Italy at the time), but I don’t remember the music at all. That is my kind of piece - a beautiful, slow melody, with rich harmonies. It works so well on the guitar, and you played it beautifully! Thank you for sharing, and I am looking forward to hearing Capricho Catalan.

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    • Eric Phillips thank you Erik.

      i forgot to mention: this arrangement is part 3 of a little suite by Eugenio Catina, based on the film score by Nicola Piovani.

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    • joosje Beautiful Joosje

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    • joosje very nice joosje, you have a great sound also !

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    • joosje so beautiful Joosje ….

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    • joosje Very nice Joosje. I'd like other the rest of the suite.

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    • joosje Wow, you have such a beautiful tone. Very nice choice of piece.

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  • My uncle asked me to make an arrangement of a song by the Bengali singer Pratul Mukhopadhyay a little while ago, and here's me stumbling through an attempt at playing it.

    The original I used was a cappella, so I exercised excruciating artistic licence.

    Unfortunately I only used the mic from the computer,  didn't think the sound quality would be so bad! Sorry! I'll use a better mic next time.

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    • Roni Glaser 

      I don't know Bengali music but from your transcription this piece is similar to Irish dances, nice work. Bravo

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    • Roni Glaser Nice work Roni

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    • ivan paolo Thanks for listening Ivan! 

      Very interesting that Irish connection, I never imagined it!

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    • Derek Thanks a lot for listening Derek!

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    • Roni Glaser Really nice, Roni! Without looking at Ivan's comment first, I must say that I was thinking the same thing. It reminded me a bit of Gerald Garcia's arrangement of My Gentle Harp.

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    • Roni Glaser it is beautiful!!! 

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    • Eric Phillips Right, I had listen to Scott Tenant playing "My Gentle Harp", I can see what you mean! Here's the original, on the off chance you're interested:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5zkgaOuQ8A&t=93s

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    • Emma Thank you so much Emma! And thanks for taking the time to listen!

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    • Roni Glaser it’s very beautiful, Roni. Looking forward to a recording with better sound, ok. But what you are doing with this melody is just wonderful.

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    • Roni Glaser Really nice work Roni. 

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    • Roni Glaser That's a beautiful melody. Really nice arrangement, it must have been a lot of work!

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    • Thank you Hélène Beaulieu Jack Stewart and joosje ! I'll try and get round to doing a better recording with better sound soon!

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    • Roni Glaser this is beautifull Rony! you play is clear and so full of feelings. Sorry for not hearing you before! I try to hear as much as I can, but I can never follow the rythmus of all of you! thanks for sharing this!

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    • Nora Torres-Nagel That's really nice Nora😊, thank you so much for listening!

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  • Here's an attempt at a short piece by Piazzolla - Vuelvo al Sur arranged by Gary Ryan. Another piece that I have revisited for the challenge. I might attempt another one in the next two weeks!

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    • Derek Beautiful, Derek! Such distinctive rhythm and harmonies.

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    • Derek Loved the Piazzolla piece. It is sounding good and almost there. Just a little smoother on some of the transitions but I really like how you bring out that beautiful melody and maintain the rhythm. 

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    • Derek Very nice Derek. I have never heard this piece. Thanks

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    • Derek What a beautiful piece. Good job!

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  • Sorry, I have to withdraw from this challenge. I am preparing for the community concert where I play something that it is not a transcription and have not enough time for this one. What a pity…. But I will add Cadiz to my diary soon enough ;) I will follow you and watch the party too!!! 

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    • or maybe a go for an easy one if I can! 

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 4 mths ago
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      Emma Don't leave uuuuus!!! 

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    • Martin Emma Cadiz! I’d love to hear you play it. It’s such a wonderful piece !

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