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Performance Notes for Etude Number One in E minor
By Heitor Villa Lobos (PART TWO)

--Harry George Pellegrin

The following three measures (nine through eleven) prepare the ear for what might be considered the B section of the piece. They offer no challenges that require discussion here. The next excerpt begins the B section at measure twelve. The open sixth string E allows for (rapid) finger placement in what at first seems to be an odd hand shape but is actually a combination of two very familiar hand shapes. [This excerpt includes measure twelve through fourteen then proceeds directly to measures nineteen through twenty-one.] The hand shape produced to execute measure twelve is repeated in each measure as it moves one half-step at a time to an open position chord in measure twenty-two. Observe that many performers accentuate the note that falls on the second sixteenth note of beat two and the first and fourth sixteenth notes of beat three. These notes are all plucked by the right-hand middle finger ( m ). This becomes problematic for many players when they arrive at the seventeenth where the fretted E on the b string, which is accented, is accompanied by and juxtaposed with the open E string (plucked with a finger.) The accent is often obscured. The player should be mindful of this technical phenomenon and ensure that the accents remain consistent. It is also customary two perform each measure forte the first and at piano on the repeat. I do not pass any judgment on this performance practice, I observe what has become a common process.

Another issue is transitioning between each measure without generating finger ‘squeaks' on the wound strings. It is all too tempting to slide the hand down the fingerboard one half-step each measure without releasing pressure. Those open sixth string E's on the downbeat of each measure are when the strings should be released—one should not attempt to release pressure before this E is plucked. See below:

By releasing pressure and carefully lifting all fingers when the open sixth string has been sounded, the possibility of finger ‘squeak' is greatly reduced. The guitarist should practice this passage slowly, making certain that the previously mentioned accented notes do indeed carry the correct articulation (the notes that fall on the second sixteenth note of beat two and the first and fourth sixteenth notes of beat three) and that the desired dynamic change between repeats, whatever the guitarist may feel this may be, have been executed. Gradually increase speed after the passage can be performed flawlessly at any given slower speed.

The next problematic passage occurs at the completion of the descending chromatic passage, occurring in measures thirty and thirty-one. The original edition is fingered as it appears below.

While this fingering works and is not to be discounted out of hand, the area that affords the most difficulty is strangely left unfingered. Measure thirty-one can be fingered in a number of different ways, but I have found that some work less well than others. A fingering I have found works well is shown below.

There is a sense of cadence towards the end of measure thirty when the first high e is plucked. While not to be treated with total rhythmic license, a very slight breath pause can be considered here before beginning the descending half-step legatos. The student must keep two things in mind during the execution of the final beat of measure thirty and the entirety of measure thirty-one: the even sixteenth note rhythm pattern must be maintained . There should be no noticeable decrease in tempo in relation to the rest of the piece. There cannot be any ‘ syncopation' inherent to the poor execution of the hammer-on legatos between the half-steps.



See attached pdf for musical examples...





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A CD collection of classical guitar favorites plus five selections from 'Suite for Guitar' by Harry George Pellegrin.

 "I picked the selections for this CD from the large number of  pieces that I have continued to enjoy over the many years that make up a lifetime, including both student pieces as well as recital-fare.  The intent of this album is not to try to dazzle, but to evoke memories."


Asturias/Leyenda         Isaac Albéniz 
Etude Opus 6 Number 8         Fernando Sor
Etude Opus 35 Number 13         Fernando Sor
Etude Opus 35 Number 22        Fernando Sor
Etude Opus 35 Number 17        Fernando Sor
Lágrima        Francisco Tárrega
Adelita        Francisco Tárrega
Mazurka in C        Francisco Tárrega
Mazurka in G        Francisco Tárrega
Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart         Fernando Sor
Etude Opus 60 Number 3        Matteo Carcassi
Etude Opus 60 Number 7        Matteo Carcassi
Etude Opus 60 Number 16        Matteo Carcassi
Vals Brevis One (Waltz for Agustin) For Georgio Testani         Harry George Pellegrin
Vals Brevis Two (Dark Horse Waltz)        Harry George Pellegrin
Vals Brevis Three (The Last Kiss) For Veronica M. Pellegrin        Harry George Pellegrin
Vals Brevis Four (Summer Afternoon, Bronx, 1962, For Coco)        Harry George Pellegrin
Snowfall 12.21.2008        Harry George Pellegrin


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The Classic Guitar Method: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.

With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

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