WEEK 1: Exploring Sor's Music!

WELCOME TO THE MAIN THREAD FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF "Ferndando Sor" PRACTICE CHALLENGE! 

  1. Select a mesmerizing piece from Fernando Sor! Whether it be a delicate Sor etude, a powerful solo work , or a little miniature, the repertoire is in your hands 🎼
  2. Dedicate yourself to consistent practice and share your musical evolution with our community. Aim for daily practice sessions and upload a minimum of two videos each week to document your progress. This will not only fuel your dedication but will also allow us to partake in your musical expedition within our tonebase family!
  3. Contribute your most cherished performance or recording that resonates with the "Sor Guitar Soiree." Your contribution will not only motivate but also help curate a diverse anthology of pieces for our members to discover and enjoy.. 🎧

↓ Happy Sharing! ↓

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  • https://youtu.be/tCABgckMS2Y?si=3qZTGmuzbnx2xfyU

    Hi tonebuddies,

                               This is Nijwm. This is my first ever submission on tonebase. I don't know how to embed a video. So I just posted a youtube link of my practice session on Sor's Etude in B minor. I hope the link works and apologies for not being able to post the video directly in the comments section. I've been working on the first few measures of the piece for the last 3-4 days. can anyone tell me how to embed a video from youtube? I can see the embed code, but how do you use it?

    As a beginner, I'm still working on the technical aspects, while trying to be aware of things like dynamics, rhythm and musicality. One of my problems is finger displacement and string noise when I lift up my fretting fingers, especially the barred 1st finger. This piece requires very careful and precise lifting and placement of fingers, I discovered. It's been eye-opening yet very helpful in making me acutely aware of precise finger placements of the left hand.

    I've devoured any available resource online on this piece, including the fantastic lesson from Martin on tonebase. I should be able to upload the full piece within the deadline, hopefully. It's 1.30 pm here in India as I'm typing this. Catch you later.

    Like 6
    • Jack Stewart Thank you Jack, this community is so beautiful, welcoming and supportive. Really encourages me to participate and engage more.

      Like
    • Eric Phillips Thank you Eric. It means a lot to me to receive such high praise from an esteemed member of the community. I've finally overcome my hesitation and nervousness to submit a video because everyone here is so nice and welcoming.

      On the beginner thing- I've never been sure of my level, especially since I'm a novice in classical music. I have very little knowledge of music theory and I'm just starting to learn to read music. I'm mostly self-trained and I haven't had a qualified teacher to  guide me. So, I often second-guess my technical proficiency and I've had to unlearn and relearn many basics, especially after joining tonebase.

      Western classical music is very niche in my part of the world and there isn't much of a peer/community network here locally. Sometimes, I feel like being part of some underground music scene (like punk rock🙂 for example). Having said that, I feel really honoured to be part of this community and participate in the common passion that we all share.

      Like 1
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary For someone without a teacher, you seem to have a solid technical foundation. Learning music theory can definitely be done on your own. Reading music can too, although playing from a score with others (guitarists or other instruments) really speeds up the process. Tonebase lessons and community participation will also move you along well as a musician.

      Like
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Very nice playing - nice even pulse and warm tone.  Glad you are sharing this on tonebase.

      Like
    • Eric Phillips thanks Eric, I'm already progressing well after joining tonebase and learning and taking inspiration from all of you here in the forum.

      Like 1
    • Rick Lord thank you Rick, the tone is probably a bit misleading because it's been recorded on just a smartphone 🙂 I don't have a mic yet. But I'm pretty satisfied it came out ok. Can't wait to upload the final submission. Before that, I gotta go practice🙂

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary This is coming along very nicely, Nijwm! As others have mentioned, the tone you manage to produce from your instrument is excellent. For me, though, what really stands out in the performance (and belies the notion that you are a mere 'beginner') is the musicality of your interpretation: in particular, the way you pull the tempo back at the end of phrases is very effective!

      Like 1
      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Well played Nijwm. I can't add anything to the above comments other than I enjoyed listening to it and welcome to the challenge! 

      Like
    • Derek thank you Derek. I should be able to post a second one of the second part this week and, hopefully make a final submission before the deadline. I still need to clean up some notes, secure my LH shifts and refine the dynamics. 

      Like
  • Fantasie Elegiaque measures 1-50 (Nov 8)

    I have added the second section of the Andante Largo, according to the breakdown I posted yesterday. I decided also to try something new in the first section. In measures 4-6, Sor says to play the notes with the left hand only. But I am not a fan of the percussive effect this produces. I figured that Sor is probably wanting it played like this so those notes don’t have the sharp attack that comes with right hand plucking. So, instead of playing only with the left hand, I tried plucking each note at the nodal point twelve frets higher, which naturally gives a sweeter tone with less attack, but it doesn’t have the percussive quality of notes played with the left hand only. Let me know what you think.

    Like 5
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips This is sounding great, Eric. This might be your best work so far. Sor approaches Beethoven with this piece (well, without the contrapuntal intricacies so preferred by Beethoven).

      I think your approach to measures 4-6 is effective. I am not convinced of the left hand plucking (perhaps Sor meant it as a koan?) in this piece, though I heard a recording of Marchione who made it sound very good - though the recording itself was of poor quality.

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips The piece is proceeding very nicely, Eric! Your execution of the ornamentation is very convincing! As for the l.h. only passage, your solution works well, and I think the case can be made that with the heavy bass strings of the modern guitar, Sor's idea is easily lost with 'correct' execution. However, I would also say I found your handling of this passage in the first video very effective!

      Like
      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips "play the notes with the left hand only"? Really?! I wonder how he managed to project the guitar sound during live performances without the assistance of microphone. Aren't the romantic guitars known for having a smaller volume compared to modern guitars?

      Like 1
    • Wai Yes, that is what it says in the score, and it generally works in the performances I have seen (although I have never seen it performed live). I’m just not sure I like the sound I’m getting when I do it. As for how it works on a Romantic guitar, I have never played one (maybe someday). The YT performances I have seen of it on a period instrument seem to sound good, though.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips  Very nice Eric. Your approach is your own interpretation of Sor composition. It sound good then it is good 👍

      Like 1
      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips That's sounding great Eric. I don't think I've heard that piece before.

      Like 1
    • Ernesto
    • Ernesto.1
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Six Petites Pieces. I played these 6 small pieces through the summer, and I am happy I have a chance to try to clen them up by recording them. This is the best take of numbers 1 (Andantino) and 2 (Waltz).

    Like 4
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ernesto Great job, Ernesto. You have these very solidly under your hands with a good grasp of the phrasing. I would suggest now to have more focused slow practice on the areas that present some difficulty. There was never any sense that any phrases were beyond your ability., so this is more of a refinement.

      I really enjoyed listening to them and it reminded me of how good the pieces are. Thanks for sharing.

      Like 1
      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ernesto I really love the way you played, Ernesto! The flow of your performance and the different timbres you create with your right hand are impressive. Well done!

      Like 1
    • Ernesto  Well done Ernesto, Thanks for sharing. I particularly like the no 2.. Very entertaining waltz.

      Like 1
      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ernesto Well played Ernesto. I thoroughly enjoyed them

      Like 1
    • Jim King
    • Retired
    • Jim_king
    • 6 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Starting learning classical guitar with the Tonebase courses in December 2022.  After completing the beginner courses, I started working on the repertoire recommended for Levels 1 and 2.  One of the pieces I have been working on recently is Sor Opus 60 No. 9.  Quite the challenge for me in getting some of the fingering under control.  Anyways, I thought that I should participate in this challenge, so I have posted my first submission (ever) to a challenge.  Have to start sometime, right? 

    At this point, my tempo is quite slow, not that I am expecting to get to the tempo used in the Tonebase lesson any time soon, and I still need to do a lot of work on dynamics, phrasing and so on.  It's been quite the learning experience already.  Also need to work on releasing tension when videotaping.  I am sure that will come with experience.  I was like that with audio recording when I started to do that, but have improved with lots of practice.

    Here is the recording:

    Like 2
    • Jim King Bravo, Jim, and welcome! You have a good foundation, and even knowing that you want to work on things like dynamics, phrasing, and relaxation is huge. I wish I had worked on those things from the start.

      One suggestion I have for your right hand is that you try raising your wrist up a bit. That extra bit of curvature will allow you to produce a fuller stroke with your fingers.

      Great work!

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jim King This is very good, Jim! The tempo is fine, I would say. In any event, as you suggest, phrasing is the more important consideration for the moment. I'm glad you went ahead and posted this for us!

      Like
    • Jim King Nice work. 

      I too had my first post and I relate to what you're experiencing with the tension thing. I myself have a terrible stage fright🙂 (even though I've never been good enough to play on stage) and I tend to tense up even when I'm just recording myself with no one around.

      But this community is a safe place to expose my playing. It's in fact more than that- really nice, welcoming members with insightful advice and words of encouragement.

      And yeah, accepting this challenge has made me acutely aware of the mistakes I'd been making but also helped me discover tricks and better technique to improve myself. For e.g. in the piece I chose (Sor Study in B minor), I wasn't preparing my finger shifts at all until I realised the obvious need to do so to be more efficient and sound more legato. Another thing I've been able to find out is the need to quieten the accompaniment while accenting the melody notes.

      Like
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