Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

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Jorge Oliveira
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Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:34 pm

I was encouraged by fellow Forum member Yisrael to learn, in a systematic way, all 25 pieces of Sor’s Opus 60, in preparation for some of his other, more demanding, works. In fact, Opus 60 itself is called “Introduction to the Study of the Guitar” (Fernando Sor, “The Complete Studies for Guitar”, Chanterelle edition, pag. 136). So, the idea of this post is to invite whomever is learning, or already plays some of the Opus 60 pieces, to share his progress and achievements and to comment on any particular aspect of a given piece he/she is studying or is already familiar with (difficulty, beauty, musical analysis, etc.).

The list below shows the pieces I’ve dealt with so far. The pieces already finished will be in black, whereas the ones still under study will be in blue. The Learning Period refers to the dates I started with a piece and the day I consider it to be fully memorized and “in my fingers”.

So, here we go:
  1. Sor’s Opus 60, Nº 1. Learning period: 03Dec16 - 05Dec16. Comment: simple but very dull.
  2. Sor’s Opus 60, Nº 2. Learning Period: 04Dec16 - … . Comment: also simple but it already has some melodic touches in it.
  3. Sor’s Opus 60, Nº 5. Learning period: 20Nov16 - … . Comment: simple but extremely beautiful. It’s almost ready.
  4. Sor’s Opus 60, Nº 6. Learning period: 16Nov16 - … . Comment: started learning it but interrupted it to start with the Nº 5. It is not difficult and one cannot say it is not nice but… it is not as beautiful as the Nº5.
And this is what I have for the moment. Now I invite you all to share your present and past progress in these small pieces and convey us your impressions.
Last edited by Jorge Oliveira on Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

dory
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by dory » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:56 pm

I think many people find #5 the most beautiful for some reason. I think I do as well but may like it because it is the first one I learned. Because my hands are small I found #6 challenging. It has some big stretches in in for small hands. These are the only two I have learned but you are inspiring me to learn more. It takes me longer to learn them than it does you, although there is one out of the first 4 that I could sight read quite easily. I need to check which one that is.
Dory

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:04 pm

Well done, Jorge. Count me in. I have a finger injury (finger and nail went through the vegetable slicer), so I am currently incapacitated and cannot play at all. The cut is in the right index finger exactly in the sweet spot where the finger meets the string. Perfectly square slice taken out of the nail. I hope to be able to play next week. I do not promise to memorize (takes me too long, and I sight read quickly). I am working on Stanley Yates' Classical Guitar Technique, which will fit in nicely with Sor Opus 60. Suggestion: from past experience, I have seen that people will generally not criticize other people's playing. Therefore, I think each person should post a recording and comment on their own playing and what they are working on to improve.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

DevonBadger
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by DevonBadger » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:30 pm

Not sure what it says about me but I actually like #1. I think it's a nice little exercise in how much you can do with so few notes.

2handband
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by 2handband » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:33 pm

dumb question: why are you skipping around? I see you gave both 3 and 4 a pass.

stevel
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by stevel » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:07 am

I'd like to know how much time you're spending on each piece per day.

If you only spent 2-3 days on #1, it's pretty clear that if you started #5 in November and still don't have it yet, there may be an exponential jump in difficulty level (10-15 days) if you're spending the same amount of time on it.

I'm also curious why you skipped around - has someone given you a pedagogical order? You obviously didn't start with #1!

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:24 am

I love Sor's Opus 60 - it's one of my favourite collections of studies for playing and teaching. Keep in mind Sor's preface, where he says, "Where no tempo is indicated, the piece should be studied slowly and should increase in speed in proportion to the degree of confidence that the student has reached." So, there is no hurry. Take your time.

I recorded a video a few years ago on a Michael N. Lacote copy, but at a lower pitch, of some of my favourites from the group, but am contemplating recording the complete collection on a more modern guitar at 440 pitch. I'll also give some thoughts on phrasing, fingering, and discuss compositional theory.

This was Sor's last publication, and forms a tender farewell to his students. Decades of experience lie behind every note, as a composer, player and teacher. It's a magnificent collection, starting simply and developing to an Intermediete level, there is no better grounding, I'd argue, for developing a musical technique.

I look forward to what you guys come up with!

Here's that video I did some time back:


Youtube
Last edited by RobMacKillop on Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:50 am

dory wrote:I think many people find #5 the most beautiful for some reason. I think I do as well but may like it because it is the first one I learned. Because my hands are small I found #6 challenging. It has some big stretches in in for small hands. These are the only two I have learned but you are inspiring me to learn more. It takes me longer to learn them than it does you, although there is one out of the first 4 that I could sight read quite easily. I need to check which one that is.
I'm happy to know that this post of mine will eventually encourage you to go back to this Opus. Would you share with us your achievements so far by posting a list similar to mine? (to build such a list you can simply quote me in your reply, delete the [/quote] commands and my text and, finally, edit my list with your own data).

In what concerns my learning curve, unfortunately, I didn't have a formal musical education and sight reading is not one of my strong points. When tackling a new composition, I just fumble around the notes until I perceive the melody behind it. Only then things get easier. So, contrary to what you say, I'm not at all a fast learner, I have to memorize everything :(.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:43 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:Well done, Jorge. Count me in. I have a finger injury (finger and nail went through the vegetable slicer), so I am currently incapacitated and cannot play at all. The cut is in the right index finger exactly in the sweet spot where the finger meets the string. Perfectly square slice taken out of the nail. I hope to be able to play next week. I do not promise to memorize (takes me too long, and I sight read quickly). I am working on Stanley Yates' Classical Guitar Technique, which will fit in nicely with Sor Opus 60. Suggestion: from past experience, I have seen that people will generally not criticize other people's playing. Therefore, I think each person should post a recording and comment on their own playing and what they are working on to improve.
Ouch!... what an horrible accident, Yisrael :shock:. Did the cut reached the flesh or solely the nail? May be only the nail, as you say you will be able to go back playing already next week? Anyway, I hope you get better soon.

Thanks for the encouragement. As you can see, there have been some rather interesting comments to this Topic and more will come for sure. Your idea of posting audio records of one's progress is quite a good one. The audio quality will not always be that good, for sure, as most of us will certainly use their smart phones to the effect, but should be enough to give everyone an idea of where we are in a particular piece.

I've seen Stanley Yates' Classical Guitar Technique at Amazon. Indeed, they are two books, Part I - Foundation and and Part II - Mastery and Virtuosity. You refer to Part I, no? May be I should acquire it as well... :D.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

rob8624
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by rob8624 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:49 pm

Can someone provide a link to the sheet music of #5, please.

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:54 pm

DevonBadger wrote:Not sure what it says about me but I actually like #1. I think it's a nice little exercise in how much you can do with so few notes.
Well, now that you mention it, the more I play the Opus 60, Nº 1, the more fluent and familiar I become with it and the more I like it. I'll change my comment about it next time I update my list :). Would you like to share with the rest of us the list of Opus 60 pieces you already play?
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

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Paul Janssen
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Paul Janssen » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:00 pm

rob8624 wrote:Can someone provide a link to the sheet music of #5, please.
If you click on the name "Sor" which is in small print near the top of this screen, this will take you to a webpage with many (maybe all, I'm not sure) of Sor's works. If you then select the Fernando Sor Op.60 link you can download the entire Opus 60 collection including #5.

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Paul Janssen
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Paul Janssen » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:03 pm

Jorge, this is a great idea of yours. Well done. I have not learnt any of the Opus 60 pieces so at this stage I can't comment. However, I'm willing to give this project a go especially given Rob MacKillop's comments above about this collection. I look forward to reading other's comments and hopefully can contribute my own thoughts as I begin this journey.

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:07 pm

Jorge, I hope you don't mind, I've just made a 15-minute video discussing Opus 60 No.1, which hopefully you and others in this thread might find useful. For me, the key to understanding Sor (and Bach, and many others) is harmony. Sor, arguably more than any other early 19th-century guitar composer, had a very solid foundation in harmony. I feel strongly that an understanding of how Sor uses harmony will help enormously in our being able to play the piece with confidence. The great thing about Sor's studies is that he is not just providing us with a nice tune while improving our technique, he is also teaching us about how harmony works on the guitar, and even a little study like this No.1, has a lot to teach us.


Youtube


PS It's best to watch the video with score and guitar to hand.

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Let’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:44 pm

2handband wrote:dumb question: why are you skipping around? I see you gave both 3 and 4 a pass.
Well, I did not exactly pass #3 and #4, I have simply not started with them, yet. What happened is that someone in the Public Space Topic Simple but Beautiful draw my attention to the #6, I started with it, but, meanwhile, someone else, in the same Topic, praised the beauty of the #5, I tried the first few notes... and was hooked up. Being as nice as it is, I just stopped temporarily #6 and rushed into #5 (which is by now, say, 90% "in my fingers"). Quite erratic as you can see... :?. Eventually, in another Topic, Forum member Yisrael Van Handel suggested that, instead of hopping around, I should learn Opus 60 from A to Z, as it was conceived by Sor himself as an Introduction to the Study of the Guitar. So, I followed his advice I started from the beginning. Having learned #1 (not perfect yet), I'm now in the middle of #2. Once #2 is "ready", I'll go back and finish 100% the #5. Only then I'll look into #3, #4, #6 and so on :).

And what about you? Do you already play any of the Opus 60 little pieces? If so, would you like to share with the rest of us a list with your achievements? If not, wouldn't you like to start playing it?
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

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