Guitar News

Two Common Ambiguities in Old Scores

Classical Guitar Blog - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 21:47

I’ve been learning Sor’s Opus 1 and it has two common ambiguities that pop up in old scores. Both these things make it seem like the score is saying things it really isn’t.

Quarter Rest or Eight Rest?

A quarter rest in older editions tends to look like a backwards eight rest. In the image below (taken from Sor Op. 1 No. 1), the red box is an eight rest while the green box is a quarter rest.

The rest of the context, in this case, makes this really easy to spot. There are times, however, where the texture is thicker and those quarter rests are easy to mistake for eights.

Wonky Alignment

Dotted or double dotted notes tend to get their dots floating places they shouldn’t be. The example below has a dotted half note in the lower voice and a double dotted quarter in the melody. The dots are floating in such a way that they make G and B (in green) staccato.

Similarly, the typesetting often required voices to be shifted around and possibly stemmed differently. The example below has two accompaniment notes (the middle voice, in green) stemmed differently from the rest of the accompaniment in the measure.

Of these examples of wonky alignment, the second still can happen in modern typesetting. It’s very uncommon to see other marks in places the composer didn’t intend in a modern edition.

These two things barely scratch the surface of all the strange things that can pop up in old scores. More broadly, we need to be careful to look at the larger musical context. If something doesn’t seem to make sense there’s probably a reason for it. Usually that reason is us! mostly us misunderstanding musical typesetting from previous eras.

Two Common Ambiguities in Old Scores from Classical Guitar

Categories: Guitar News

Folias by Gaspar Sanz (Lesson & PDF)

This is Classical Guitar - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 19:02

Folias by Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710) for Classical Guitar. PDF download. Includes two editions: Notation only edition and Notation & TAB edition. Early Intermediate level (grade 4). Gaspar Sanz is one of the most beloved Spanish guitar composers of the Baroque era. A charming set of variations based on the Folias theme / chord progression originally for Baroque guitar. Includes a lesson mainly focused on the ornamentation. This piece comes from his Instrucción de Música (1674). YouTube Link (4k).

Buy the sheet music and/or tab at Werner Guitar Editions (my store):

Werner Guitar Editions is my dedicated store for free and premium guitar editions. Includes instant access to PDFs, the best security, search functionality, and payment options. – Bradford Werner

Original Tablature and Cover from Instrucción de Música (1674). Keep in mind that this is Italian tablature for the Baroque guitar so it’s upside down.

Categories: Guitar News

Thomas Viloteau Plays Suite Populaire Brésilienne by Villa-Lobos

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:09

French guitarist Thomas Viloteau plays Suite Populaire Brésilienne by (1887-1959). In order: Mazurka-Chôro; Schottish-Chôro (2:30);  Valsa-Chôro (5:56); Gavota-Chôro(10:03); Chorinho (15:38). This comes via his fantastic YouTube channel. Such beautiful playing as always from Viloteau, a great mix of musicality with relaxed but straight forward delivery.

Categories: Guitar News

Carcassi Etude No.1, Op.60 (Lesson & Free PDF)

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 16:00

Etude No.1, Op.60 by Matteo Carcassi (1792–1853) – Sheet Music for Classical Guitar. Free notation edition or Notation + TAB, Modern Fingering, PDF Download. Level: Intermediate (Grade 5 / 6). Youtube Lesson Link. Excuse the off to the side camera angle, this was recorded on the fly during a break at work!

Free Notation Only Edition

TAB Edition (PDF Download): $3.99

Here’s a free sheet music PDF of one of the most well known works in Carcassi’s Op. 60. I’ve made a free copy to attract guitarists to the site and a tablature (tab) version for those who need it. Carcassi probably used p,i,m,i in the tremolo sections but it is much more common to use p, a, m, i on the modern guitar. Includes fingering, notation, and Tab if you need it. Join the Email Newsletter to get updates on free sheet music and more. Please consider supporting to the site to keep the free sheet music coming.

Categories: Guitar News

Desiderio and Dukic Play Manuel de Falla’s Danza de la Vida

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:16

Aniello DesiderioZoran Dukic play Danza de la Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946). This comes via Maestros de la Guitarra and their YouTube. Two of the greatest guitarists of today team up and play this famous arrangement of  Manuel de Falla’s work. Amazing ensemble work with exciting matched articulations and climaxes to the ends of phrases. Here’s the YouTube blurb: “The two world-famous guitar maestros Aniello Desiderio and Zoran Dukic perform in Barcelona one of Falla’s masterpieces, from the opera ‘La vida breve’. They presented their new show as a duo recently in Barcelona at the Festival Maestros de la Guitarra and, throughout the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing some very cool videos from that unforgettable evening of beauty and virtuosity.”

Categories: Guitar News

Two Types of Left Hand Shifting

Classical Guitar Blog - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:32

The first type of shifting is something we are all familiar with: shifting up (towards the body of the guitar) or down (towards the headstock) the neck.

The second type of shifting, however, is one we all do every single time we pick up the guitar, but rarely think much about: shifting between an angled and straight left hand position.

Both of these shifts are important and useful. So if we all do this all the time, why bother pointing it out?

Things We Notice Are Things We Can Practice

The more we take in — the more we observe and think about — the more we can practice. It’s important to account for both types of shifting so difficult passages and be worked out in such a way that the various shifts happen consistently each time.

Practice is about building muscle and musical memory. It’s important that each perfect repetition is done in exactly the same way. That’s an impossible task, but the more things we notice and factor into each repetition the more effective our practicing gets.

Two Types of Left Hand Shifting from Classical Guitar

Categories: Guitar News

Celil Refik Kaya Plays Sevilla by Albeniz

This is Classical Guitar - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 12:01

Celil Refik Kaya plays Sevilla from Suite Española, Op. 47 by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) originally for piano. This comes via his YouTube channel. Nice clear playing with some excellent phrasing and articulations. He’s really great at switching from raw aggressive playing to sweet and warm contrasts. Wonderful.

There are a few sheet music editions of Suite Espanola on Amazon, I’d maybe look at the Barrueco edition or the Llobet/Tarrega as a starting point and then make your own comparing to the piano original.

Categories: Guitar News

Molina Guitar Duo play the Beatles

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 20:29

Molina Guitar Duo (Isabella Selder & Santiago Molina Gimbernat) plays Fool on the Hill by the Beatles Arr. by Leo Brouwer on two 2019 Roy Fankhänel guitars.  This comes via the excellent Siccas Guitars and their fantastic YouTube channel. When played well these Brouwer arrangements are pretty good actually (I sometime have doubts if I hear them played blandly). Great performance here, nicely done Molina Duo!

Categories: Guitar News

Meng Su plays Sun Wukong’s Toccata by Assad

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 11:55

Meng Su plays Sun Wukong’s Toccata by Sergio Assad. This comes via GuitarCoop and their YouTube Channel. Amazing performance with an outrageously high level of technique, musicality, and sonic interpretation. Meng Su is one of my favourite players, I got to see her perform last year with the Beijing Duo and it was one of the most impressive concerts I’ve ever seen.

Categories: Guitar News

Mr. Dowland’s Midnight – PDF and Lesson

This is Classical Guitar - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 11:25

Mr. Dowland’s Midnight by John Dowland (1563-1626) – PDF Download. Includes a Notation Only Edition and a Notation + Modern TAB Edition. The level is Early-Intermediate (RCM Grade 4 Approximately). This work is found in the Margaret Board Lute Book (Poulton 99). YouTube Lesson Link.

Sheet Music: You can buy the sheet music at my Werner Guitar Editions store: Mr. Dowland’s Midnight (PDF).

Please note that you must tune the 3rd string down to F# (Dowland’s lute tuning) for this edition (the video lesson covers this). John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, lutenist, and singer. He is best known today for his melancholy songs and lute compositions. He’s one of my favourite composers of the Elizabethan era.

Categories: Guitar News

A Barre is Rarely a Barre

Classical Guitar Blog - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 07:17

A barre rarely requires that all the strings be pressed down, yet that’s often how barre chords (or bar chords) or barres in general are taught. Take this measure from Yates’s arrangement of the Bach Cello Suites. This is from the Prelude to the Second Cello Suite.

The barre at the second fret, indicated by II5 (barre at second fret across five strings), does not mean that the top five strings need to be depressed and ready to play. Really only the B in the lower voice and the F# in the higher voice need to be depressed at the start of the measure. None of the other notes under the barre are used. There’s no reason to waste effort keeping those strings pressed down.

It’s not until the third beat of the measure that another note under the barre comes into play: the A. When that point is reached the pressure of the barre can be adjusted to include it.

So why bother with sequencing the pressure of a barre chord? This example is another form of sequencing the left hand, which is often used to preserve a more legato sound. In this case, the goal is to do as little work and produce as little tension as possible. More broadly, most barres do not require all the strings to be depressed. It’s a lot of effort to keep a full barre pressed down. So don’t bother if it’s not necessary.

A Barre is Rarely a Barre from Classical Guitar

Categories: Guitar News

Goran Krivokapić Plays Concierto de Gliwice by Drozd

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:45

Goran Krivokapić plays Concierto de Gliwice op. 175 (Dedicated to Goran Krivokapić) by Polish composer Gerard Drozd via his YouTube. Performed with the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy Marek Moś, conductor. Great piece, playing, and video of this 31min concerto!

Categories: Guitar News

Sor Study Op.35, No.18 – Free PDF and Lesson

This is Classical Guitar - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 10:55

Sor Study Op.35, No.18 Andantino by Fernando Sor (1778–1839) for Classical Guitar – PDF Download, Free Notation Only Edition or Notation + TAB Edition. The level is Intermediate (RCM Grade 5 Approximately).

Free PDF Notation Edition 

TAB Edition: $2.99

Fernando Sor is one of the great prolific classical composers for the guitar. The unusual beaming of the original publication mainly keeps the score visually clean. It also helps to isolate the quarter note melody in the top voice which should remain legato throughout. Many possibilities exist for the left hand fingering but awkward chord changes are inevitable and result in a challenging legato study. Here’s the HD YouTube Lesson Link. Join the Email Newsletter to get updates on free sheet music and more. Please consider supporting to the site.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Speed and Relaxation on Guitar

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 20:53

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and ArpeggiosThe 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

YouTube Video Link (HD)

Speed = Economy of Motion + Accuracy + Relaxation

Economy of motion is the act of eliminating unneeded movements. Keeping your fingers close to the strings and preparing your fingers directly over the frets increases efficiency. Accuracy is self-explanatory but should not be overlooked. Placing your fingers close to the frets allows you to play with less pressure and tension. Relaxation enables you to access reflexes connected to your body’s natural ergonomic movements. Focus on slow, accurate playing and relaxation. Allow speed to come naturally as a result of good practice.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Harmonics on the Classical Guitar

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 20:46

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and ArpeggiosThe 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

YouTube Video Link (HD)

Natural harmonics (left hand harmonics), as they are commonly named on guitar, are played by lightly touching a left hand finger directly over the fret (the actual metal fret) and plucking the string as normal with the right hand. Do not push the string down to the fret, simply place the finger lightly on the string and remove it after plucking it (allowing the string to vibrate).

Artificial harmonics (right hand harmonics), are played by lightly touching a right hand finger directly over the fret (the actual metal fret) and plucking the string with a different right hand finger. This can feel awkward at first until you become confident and comfortable with the technique. My personal preference is to touch the string with the i finger and pluck with the a finger, but other combinations are possible.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Basic Rasgueado for Guitar

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 20:40

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and ArpeggiosThe 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

YouTube Video Link (HD)

Basic Rasgueado on Open Strings – There are many great books that fully cover rasgueado technique, not to mention the plethora of flamenco techniques. This book will provide a few simple patterns to give the right hand a basic rasgueado workout. The arrows pointing up on the page indicate a strum from the bass strings to the treble strings as the notation would suggest. Arrows pointing down on the page indicate a strum from the treble strings to the bass strings.

Categories: Guitar News

Kristian Del Cantero Plays Diabelli Op.29, No.3

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 16:49

Kristian Del Cantero performs Andante Sostenuto from Sonata in F major Op. 29, No. 3 by Anton Diabelli (1781-1858) via his YouTube. Have I ever posted a left handed player? Anyway, nice movement by Diabelli. He was an Austrian music publisher, editor and composer, is well known for a number of works but largely as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations. He also wrote a sizeable amount of guitar music and also a decent set of variations for 2 guitars. Nice playing by Kristian Del Cantero who is currently studying with Gabriel Bianco at the Amsterdam Conservatory.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Scales in 3rds, 6ths, Octaves, and 10ths

This is Classical Guitar - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 15:37

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and ArpeggiosThe 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

YouTube Video Link (HD)

Scales in 3rds, 6ths, Octaves, and 10ths – There are an endless number of exercises for finger independence and stretching but playing scales in various intervals provides an excellent workout and adds musical context and variety. Since this is not a scale encyclopedia I’ve limited the number of exercises to major scales with one page for each interval. I’ve written out all the scales in solid form but also practice in broken form.

Categories: Guitar News

Lesson: Triadic Arpeggios

This is Classical Guitar - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 19:06

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and ArpeggiosThe 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

YouTube Video Link (HD)

Triads are the three notes used in major and minor chords (formed with the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of a scale). Other instruments practice triadic arpeggios at early stages but guitarists often avoid them while favouring right hand patterns over common chord shapes. For the purposes of technique practice, I have made most of the arpeggios start in the first position and shift into upper positions. This often occurs in repertoire and is great practice for control, shifts, and fingering in both hands.

Right Hand Fingering – Any logical right hand fingering is acceptable. I like to use awkward string crossings with rapid m-a exchanges at the top (it’s a good thing to practice), but feel free to use other fingerings. A common solution is to use a light double rest stroke in the thumb (as shown in brackets for the first example). Using slurs can really make these easier for both hands but I’ve decided to aim for a challenging workout instead. Try to sustain notes whenever possible by keeping the left hand fingers down until needed.

Categories: Guitar News

New Year, New Look

Classical Guitar Blog - Thu, 01/31/2019 - 21:57

If you’re a frequent visitor around these parts, you may have noticed that ClassicalGuitar.org has a refreshed look.

This is the first time this has ever happened since the site started back in 2008.

The new look should be a bit nicer to deal with on mobile browsers.

Issues? Please reach out.

New Year, New Look from Classical Guitar

Categories: Guitar News

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