Week 1: Exploring New Territories

Welcome to the "Around the World in 80 Strings Challenge"! This month, we'll embark on a global musical journey, exploring classical guitar compositions from various countries. The only rule: Don’t play a composer from your home country. Let’s make this a truly international experience!

🗓️ CHALLENGE TIMELINE

  • Challenge Start: Kick-Off on May 15th
  • Duration: May 15th - June 6th
  • Watch Party: June 24th

🎼 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 piece that showcases the origin of this piece!

🎸 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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    • Jack Stewart
    • Retired
    • Jack_Stewart
    • 1 mth ago
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    This is less than a month!!! How can I possibly get something worked up in that amount of time?! I'm still working on last month's challenge! and the month before... and the month before... and the....🙂

    Like 5
    • martin  Excellent Martin

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  • I would probably prefer the 24th but am fine with either. Will be gone for a week in the middle to visit my daughter in Austin. 

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    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 4 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    I’d like to learn Capricho Arabe so can we do the 24th??? 😅

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    • Eva Grill
    • Eva_Grill
    • 4 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Hey All, I'm just starting out, finding my way around. I remember that very long ago, I studied Narváez' "4 Differencias sobre Guardame Las Vacas". I found it in the repertoire; it is a level higher than where I was allocated, but I'll probably try and see how much I remember and where I have problems. 

    Like 1
    • Eva Grill Great choice, and welcome! The nice thing about a theme and variations is that if any of the variations are too difficult, you can just do the others and still have a nice performance.

      Like 1
  • Either dates are good for me - even June 6. I will be on holiday for the next 3 weeks, so any submission from my side would be recorded with iPad or Samsung phone. I started searching my library for tempting destinations.  Curious to see your discoveries.. Eva Grill  and Debbie  have some wonderful and promising intentions. Both Spanish.  I’m looking forward to hearing those great pieces. Enjoy practice, everyone! 

    Like 2
  • Gol-e-Gandome (arr. Lily Afshar)

    This is one of five traditional Persian ballads arranged for solo guitar by the great Lily Afshar. I have recently heard three of them, including this one, performed on YT by a young guitarist named Zoe Barnett. I was interested in trying some of them myself, and then this new challenge came out, and I thought they would be a good choice.

    From what I can tell, Gol-e-Gandome is Farsi for “wheat flower” and this is a traditional harvest song sung around the Autumn equinox to celebrate new beginnings.

    I’ve been working on it for two days now. Listening back on my recording, I think some of the rhythms need to be crisper and at times, the tempo drags. The section when the melody goes into the bass needs a lot of work too.

    Like 10
    • Eric Phillips Very nice, Eric. I'm familiar with the performance you mentioned of this one. Such a moody piece and Barnett always brings a lot of drama to her work. It will be cool to watch this progress. 

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips Such an interesting piece Eric with so much place for personal interpretation. You are already in good control in just 2 days. Bravo you will certainly master it by the end of the month. 👍

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    • Eric Phillips Cool. I look forward to this!

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    • Eric Phillips beautiful piece. And sounds quite good already. I guess you’ll really enjoy being with this music for a while and working magic with the colours of your guitar. Great choice.

      Like 1
      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 wk ago
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      Eric Phillips This is fascinating, Eric. You play this beautifully for only 2 days. Really effective use of tone color. Beautiful.

      Like 1
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 3 wk ago
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      Eric Phillips that’s very haunting and beautiful. I’m always so surprised at how quickly you can put a piece together, Eric. 

      Like 1
  • I mentioned to my wife that the challenge this time was pieces from any country but your own. She immediately said Costa Rica so I figured she had a lead on a composer or a song but actually, she just read an article about the country and thought it seemed nice and wanted to visit, lol. It led us down a bit of a rabbit hole on the music of Costa Rica.

    José Mora-Jiménez writes in a fairly modern language, but he also has a really nice set of lower-level studies in the same vein as Brouwer's Estudios Sencillos. 

    Gustavo Porras covers a wide range of classical, pop, and folk styles.

    Edin Solis has a nice body of solo work and he also won a Grammy playing guitar on and co-producing Ruben Blades' album, "Mundo" a while back.

    Lots of good options available so I think I'll stay in Costa Rica for this one and see what comes of it. 

    Pura vida!

    Like 2
    • Steve Price Wow, you really found a lot of possibilities for Costa Rican music. I look forward to hearing what you end up playing!

      Like 1
  • I  was not supposed to jump in this month's challenge but as I was starting to learn a new piece that I wanted to include in my learning plan so why not!!

    Well  Fernando Sor is not from Canada. I will go this month with the Fernando Sor Op.60 no 9.

    🙂

    Like 1
    • Jack Stewart
    • Retired
    • Jack_Stewart
    • 4 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    I have a transcription of Ravel's Trois Beaux Oiseaux du Paradis that I think I will try. I have played thru it and, so far it doesn't seem too difficult technically. The challenge will be to get is to work on guitar. It is generally presented as a choral piece or solo with accompaniment. So we will see.

    I found this beautiful and interesting presentation which provides an idea of what it sounds like:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBTSyKU9gL8

    Like 3
    • Jack Stewart That is gorgeous, Jack! Whose transcription is it?

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      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 wk ago
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      Eric Phillips I actually have 2, one by Jay Gordon from SBM and one by Rod Whittle from SheetMusicPlus (Believe). Both were digital downloads for $4 - $5. I also created a score from Yutobeat for solo piano which I use to compare to the guitar scores I have. I am primarily using Whittle's score but I have made some minor changes based on the Yutobeat transcription.

      Here is the link to the Yutobeat piano performance:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV5YTaYMjIc

      Like
  • I learned “Lullaby” by Haitian guitarist Frantz Cassius as one of the my first tunes in the classical guitar style. I’d like to revisit it for this challenge!

     

    https://youtu.be/Gt21sHvlsac?si=VD6EtubKywtBLgun

    Like 1
    • Spare Machine That is beautiful, and definitely not something we typically hear in our little world of classical guitar.

      Like 1
  • Gol-e-Gandome (May 20)

    Here is an update on this Afshar arrangement of a Persian ballad. I am playing it without a score here, but the mistakes show that I need to work still on the memorization. I am trying to make greater contrasts in rhythmic feel, tone color, and dynamics, but I think I need to take it further (especially with dynamics). The middle section, when the melody is in the bass, is improved from my last recording, but it still feels like it lacks energy.

    Like 6
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips Beautifully done, Eric. This is much more defined. Great work.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips these touching melodic lines, hauntingly beautiful. Very nicely coloured and you managed to communicate the character and mood of this piece. Thank you for sharing.

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips  Very nice Eric. Beautiful 👍

      Like 1
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