Week 1: A Fresh Start 🌻

🌟 WELCOME TO THE "A FRESH START" COMMUNITY CHALLENGE! 🌟

Embark on a musical journey with our latest challenge, "A Fresh Start". It’s time to dust off that sheet music you’ve been eyeing and dive into a brand-new piece!

🗓️ CHALLENGE TIMELINE

  • Challenge Start: Kick-Off on April 15th!
  • Duration: April 15th to May 13th
  • Watch Party: Join us on May 13th at 11 AM PST to watch selected submissions!

🎼 WEEK 1 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 opening bars to showcase your progress!

🎸 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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  • Fernando Sor Op 50 Le Calme (Caprice)

    Hey everyone, I’m back. I decided to take a break from the community challenges for a while. When I saw the title “Fresh Start” on this one, I thought it might be a good time to dive back in. I don’t know how much practice time I can give, but I will do my best.

    Surprise, surprise, I am going to work on some Sor. For some reason, his music gives me the most motivation. This is a beautiful extended piece by him that I have loved for a long time, but have never worked on. I am a little nervous about my technical ability to play it all, but I will do what I can.

    I am working with two editions, both of which I have attached:

    1. The Paris edition that seems to have Sor’s signature
    2. A modern edition from Edson Lopes which has measure numbers and is easier to read (although it has at least one error that I have found so far)

    I like to start by mapping out the structure. All measure numbers come from the Edson Lopes edition.

    • Introduction (mm. 1-4) – A simple E major triad that establishes the tempo, meter, and tonality.
    • A section (mm. 5-45) – A pretty lilting melody with simple accompaniment; in E major with a brief part in E minor (mm. 29-36).
    • B section (mm. 46-70) – Mostly large arpeggios (combination right and left hand); it almost feels like a variation on the A section but it isn't really; in E major.
    • C section (mm. 71-91) – A contrasting melody with arpeggiated accompaniment; in A major; I think the transition from the B section into this C section is the most poignant and magical moment in the entire piece.
    • D section (mm. 92-135) – A highly dramatic section; in various tonalities, both minor and major; in measure 128 it goes into E minor, building up to a return to E major in the next section.
    • A section (mm. 136-167) – It is almost an exact repeat of the original A section, so I would not label it A’.
    • Coda (mm. 168-195) – Still in E major; brings the airplane in for a landing.

    I have attached a video of the introduction and the A section (the easiest part 😊). We’ll see how it goes from here.

    • Eric Phillips  Welcome back Eric. As usual, you made a great choice and are of a great start. 👍

      Like 1
  • Hello All,

    I am not sure my choice will fit the subject of this challenge but I will do it anyway.

    I am actually in a trial period of Alaska picks and I would also like to consolidate what I learned in the last year.

    For this month, I would like to revisit some of the pieces I learned using the Alaska picks and see if I can improve the performance using them. As I still have the previous recordings; it will be easy to see if the Alaska picks can be useful.

    I start today with a few pieces and get back this weekend with a first recording.

    Hope this will be acceptable for this challenge. 😎

    Like 2
    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    Been really busy this year and stopped my guitar lessons. So been mainly reviewing old repertoire than learning new ones. 

     

    Then this pops up on my youtube this morning with tutorial and sheet, 😂

    May not be able to record progress but I’ll at least start on this. It looks really challenging but it sounds so beautiful. It is perfect for me as I’ve always been uncomfortable playing a-m appregio high to low on the 2 and 3 string. Somehow I;ve always been using a-i. Highly recommend it.

     

    Edit: Work out some fingerings but I’m not 100% sure if this is the right way. Some of them feels a bit unnatural. Any advice on it would really help!

    Like 1
    • don I watched this video just last night and it seemed really great. I hope you enjoy digging into it!

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips i did try to work out the fingerings and it is definitely not something I’m used to. But also means I’m learning something from it. 

      Like 1
  • After the last 2-week intensive, I went through my stash to find shorter pieces to focus on. I found a transcription I had by Jeffry Steele of Stravinsky's Les Cinq Doigts. I never was able to find a recording of it on guitar so I never worked on it. It's a set of eight "simple" piano pieces in which Stravinsky limited himself to melodies with only five notes. He must have thought something of it since he arranged the set for 15 players afterwards. My plan for this challenge is to see how many of these I can get through.

    Andantino is probably the easiest of the bunch and with the exception of one big stretch in the A section, it sits on the guitar pretty well. I really like the B section since he plays around with passing simple lines between bass and treble. I plan to speed this up a little and tweak the interpretation. 

    Larghetto is a beautiful piece, but since Stravinsky avoids convention and the phrasing between the parts doesn't line up especially in the B section, I played parts separately just so I could get the sound of the individual parts in my head before trying to play them together.

    It's a gorgeous day here so don't mind my dog dramatically sighing wanting me to put the guitar down and go play ball with him. Eventually he got his way...as always. 

    Like 4
    • Steve Price Great stuff, Steve! How cool is that that you’re playing Stravinsky on the guitar? I think I heard that Julian Bream tried in vain to get Stravinsky to write for the guitar.

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    • Eric Phillips  I looked into Bream's connection and found a really good interview with him that covered the topic. He said he met Stravinsky and Shostakovich but nothing came out of it. He mentioned he wasn't as pushy as others of his time (Segovia?) since it wasn't in his nature. That would be something to have works by those composers for guitar. 

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
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      Steve Price There is a YT video of Bream being introduced to Stravinsky and playing Dowland's Lachramae' Pavane (I believe) on lute for him. If only......

      Here is the link

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4f8fej9Sqo

      Like
    • Jack Stewart That's something else. I was trying to find some background on that meeting and found an interview with Bream years later where he said that it was "the most embarrassing moment of his career." I guess it was a chaotic environment where there was one camera crew following Bream's tour and another for Stravinsky recording the Symphony of Psalms and they were sort of awkwardly thrust together. I get the situation wasn't ideal but I expect he would have felt worse if he hadn't played for him and always thought of it as a missed opportunity. It makes me feel a sort of kinship with the man knowing that someone of his caliber ruminates over past performances as well, lol. 

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    • Steve Price this is a great discovery. I didn’t know it exists for guitar. Nice work . Looking forward to more of this. Thanks for sharing. 

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
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      Steve Price These are really wonderful little pieces by Stravinsky. I hadn't heard them in a while. They don't sound like they were written by Stravinsky as much as someone who was influenced by Stravinsky. Well, I guess, technically, they were.

      Great find, I am really looking forward to seeing how they work out.

      Like
    • Jack Stewart That's a good catch saying they don't sound like prototypical Stravinsky. I found a paper on the set and apparently, they were written in 1921 and are seen as a transitional pieces leading into his neoclassical period. 

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      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Price That is interesting. I didn't know that about those works. He can compose some very simple pedagogical pieces that still reflect his style.

      I had a similar reaction when I first heard Stravinsky's Movements for Piano and Orchestra. I had turned on the radio after the piece had begun and didn't know what it was. After listening for a while I thought it sounded like it was by a 12 tone composer who was influenced by Stravinsky. I was amazed at how he could adopt a style (12 tone) and still impart his very distinctive style within it. 

      Like
  • Dust off is not the word here. I chose a totally new piece that really took my breath away. I just have to learn this, but for sure not in the space of 4 weeks. 
    Images from a sea , by Thodoris Theodoroudis., a young composer/guitarist from Greece.

    My motivation: born in  the Low Countries, I always saw the sea as my source of inspiration, and I find this in this music. There is a beautiful rendition of the piece by Emilie Fend (D). I won’t be able to get even close to this level, but I will make a start, and hope to have the courage to work over the summer to learn the whole piece..

    It has 2 parts: 1) into the sea and 2) waves. The latter will be the real challenge. I haven’t worked out yet how to attack this. For now, i started processing. part 1,  which is divided into 6 small sections. I will begin working my way through them step by step.
    The tuning is unconventional: D-A-D-G-Bflat-E

    Hopefully by the end of week 1 some first recording. Warning for those of you who would be kind enough to follow: it won’t be easy listening.

    btw I guess I’m not allowed to post a score as it is copyright protected (and justifiably so) I’m even not sure if I may post recorded updates at TB 
    if this turns out to be a problem I can always choose another piece from my (quite long) wish list. 

    Like 1
    • joosje Despite your warning, I am really looking forward to hearing your progress (if that is possible). I just listened to Emilie Fend's performance, and it is so intense, but also so beautiful! That tuning alone would scare me away, though.

      Like
    • joosje I hadn't heard of that, but I listened to Fend's version and that is an awesome piece. I think the language is certainly modern, but I don't think it's going to chase anyone off. I'm looking forward to this one. 

      Like
  • Given that I have the complete Villa-Lobos Solo Guitar works, I thought I should try to learn another piece from the collection (besides the Mazurka Chôro). This is as far as Ive come this week on Prélude No. 5. I need a lot more time to improve flow and legato but I'll move on to the rest of the first section.

    Like 5
    • Neil Macmillan great start, Neil. You succeeded in bringing out a clear melody above the complex harmonic background. Well done, keep up the good work. Great choice, 

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 mth ago
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      Neil Macmillan Great start Neil. I have never attempted any of the VL Preludes except #3. Looking forward to your progress.

      Like
    • joosje Thank you for viewing and commenting. Some scary sections lie ahead in the prelude.

      Like
    • Jack Stewart Thank you. I'll need more time than the current challenge to pull all this together,

      Like
  • Sor – Le Calme Op 50 B section

    I have continued to work on the A section, and I am now adding the B section. To be honest, I am not finding it to be as difficult as it looks on the page. My right hand fingerings are far from ideal, but they seem to get the job done mostly. For a while now I cannot seem to control my i finger, so I avoid using it whenever possible.

    Like 6
    • Eric Phillips That's such a pretty section. Well played. I seem to remember reading Sor wasn't a big fan of using the i finger either. 

      Like 1
    • Steve Price Thanks, Steve. For me, I’m struggling with my i finger on anything I play. Sor actually advocated very sparing use of the a finger.

      Like
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