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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UPDATED December 14, 2011
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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
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