Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

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This forum is for our discussions on any classical guitar works. Regardless of whether these works are still under copyright, we can illustrate our discussions with extracts to a maximum length of 8 bars or 30 seconds, using attached audio files (mp3, wav or wma) or video files (mov or wmv). Only attached files are permitted. Links to audio and video files are not allowed. However, we can say in our posts "you can hear a model interpretation by such and such a guitarist on such and such a site".

This forum serves as a place of mutual help if we are stuck on a technical or musical difficulty, whether the problem stems from the notes, the rhythm, the dynamics, or the fingering. We can post several successive versions of the extract, as our work on it progresses. This will serve to help not only the member who is presenting his work, but also indirectly the dozens of other members who are having the same issues with the same passage, but who don't have the equipment or the technical knowledge to post a recording.

As a rule there should be just one topic per work. If several discussions arise on the same work, the moderators will merge the threads together.
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lucy
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Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lucy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:20 pm

Thank you very much Monsieur Delcamp for this new forum. I'm sure it will prove very helpful to members.

I have attached the beginning of the first main tune of Capricho Arabe and would like some advice on how to improve it, as I don't think it sounds quite right.

Personally, I think part of the problem is not accentuating the note on the second beat enough, but what else? Is my phrasing, rhythm, or perhaps the speed of the mordent, not as it should be?

A fair amount of the piece is based around this main tune, either through repetition, or variation of it. I really think this piece should sound "exciting", so if I could get this bit right, I hope it would help me achieve this in the piece generally.

Any advice gratefully received!

(By the way, I tried to attach a wav file, but a message said it was not allowed, so I've put up an MP3 instead).
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JohnGrinsted

Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by JohnGrinsted » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:59 am

Hi Lucy, I think you have got the right idea about this piece. It is as you say, based around this theme and I have also found it difficult to get the phrasing exactly as I would like. In the first place I think you could just play it a little bit faster and with a bit of "let go". It seems that you've got the basic shape but you just need to express yourself more. You could try shutting your eyes and imagining you are in some Spanish setting. Alternatively, seek out other recordings of this piece, there are so many to choose from I won't even mention any. Listen for the ones that really resonate with you. At the end of the day, I think it was what you feel when you play that counts and it can sometimes take time before we can take ownership of a piece and express ourselves through it. Personally, I still don't have this piece as I would like, so I move around other musical pieces and come back to it from time to time. The piece was written by one of the greatest guitar masters and I think although Tarrega's pieces are eminently playable, they have a lot of hidden depth that can take time to uncover.

Happy to share my thoughts.

John

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lucy
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lucy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:46 pm

Thanks for your comments John.
JohnGrinsted wrote: In the first place I think you could just play it a little bit faster and with a bit of "let go". It seems that you've got the basic shape but you just need to express yourself more. You could try shutting your eyes and imagining you are in some Spanish setting.
I agree that it could be a little faster and "letting go" would help, but I'd still like to find out whether there are any specific details about the way I'm playing that phrase that I could focus on too.
JohnGrinsted wrote: Alternatively, seek out other recordings of this piece, there are so many to choose from I won't even mention any. Listen for the ones that really resonate with you.
I have many recordings of this piece and I know the performances I really like, but the trouble is, I can hear they are doing something I'm not - but I can't pinpoint it! It is also true that practically every pro who plays this piece, plays that passage slightly differently, which complicates things further. :?
JohnGrinsted wrote: At the end of the day, I think it was what you feel when you play that counts and it can sometimes take time before we can take ownership of a piece and express ourselves through it.
I agree that one's personal feelings are important in helping to bring a piece alive. I feel if someone is really "in synch" with the music, it results in more sensitive playing and the many subtleties that exist within great music get communicated more effectively.

I have thought of another possibility: Perhaps, I'm not emphasising the C in the mordent enough? That's tricky to do, as you have to hammer-on to it at speed. The emphasis in the mordent would then be Bb-C-Bb, rather than Bb-C-Bb.
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David Norton
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by David Norton » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:27 pm

I would suggest you more clearly differentiate the "up-stem" melody line of the top string, from the accompaniment on the inner strings. The melody is A, A, not A-f, A-f.
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JohnGrinsted

Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by JohnGrinsted » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:29 pm

You have a good methodical mind there, Lucy. I think you might be right about the emphasis.

John

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:34 pm

David_Norton wrote:I would suggest you more clearly differentiate the "up-stem" melody line of the top string, from the accompaniment on the inner strings. The melody is A, A, not A-f, A-f.
I agree with David: play the f's like an echo.
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:41 pm

lucy wrote:I think part of the problem is not accentuating the note on the second beat enough
You've got the right idea, Lucy, but I think you're over emphasizing that second note a bit. The thing to avoid is what David Norton (and Erik) advises
David_Norton wrote:The melody is A, A, not A-f, A-f.
I don't hear you doing that, but it's something to be aware of. :wink:

I played this piece at an Emilio Pujol master class many years ago and he actually told me to bring out the bass notes more! :shock:

Good luck and thanks for pioneering this new forum! :merci:

Alan

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lucy
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lucy » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:20 pm

Thanks for your advice everyone about playing the fs softer. I particularly like Erik's description of playing them like an echo.

However, I still think there is something wrong with the way I'm playing the melody line, so I had a good listen to my favourite performance, by Carlos Bonell. You can find him playing this piece on YouTube. I did listen to some other performances, but as I said, it seems that every pro plays the phrase in question a bit differently, so I selected one I really liked.

I've already mentioned that I think there should be a slight emphasis on the C in the mordent, but I've now become aware of some other aspects: I am hearing that although it is possible to play the bass E and the following G and A with a very slight tenuto, it is important that there should be absolutely no breath/gap after the mordent and the notes A-Bb-C should be very strongly articulated and drive towards the following A.

With the above in mind, I've re-recorded this phrase, (including an attempt to put a slight emphasis on the C in the mordent).

What do you think?
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lagartija » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:23 pm

In this new recording, the phrase flows much better, Lucy. :D
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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:01 pm

Lovely Lucy! I mean: lovely, Lucy! :D Correct phrasing and punctuation give a whole different meaning.
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by GeoffB » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:18 pm

lucy wrote: (By the way, I tried to attach a wav file, but a message said it was not allowed, so I've put up an MP3 instead).
Thanks for reporting this, Lucy. It has now been fixed and wav files should be OK in future.

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Cary W
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by Cary W » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:54 pm

The new sample is very musical...it works...that's the whole point! Well done... :)

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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lucy » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:04 pm

Thanks for giving the new version the thumbs up everyone! :D
Erik Zurcher wrote: Correct phrasing and punctuation give a whole different meaning.
Yes, this is really important to understand.

I suppose what I've learnt from this exchange, is that when you come across a passage, that has phrasing a bit difficult to nail, you have to listen very carefully and take it apart.

In this case, different players do come to different conclusions, but as Cary said, the bottom line is, it's got to work. :casque:

Thanks very much to Geoff too, for sorting out the wav files issue.
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lagartija » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:48 pm

I want to thank you, Lucy for putting yourself out there and being the pioneer and first poster in this new part of the forum. :applauso: :bravo:
Now, when someone is working on this piece, and they come to this thread and listen to the difference between the first version and the second, it will give excellent practice in careful listening and illustrate the concept that some notes have more importance with respect to others in shaping a phrase.

I hope that many more of the experienced players will do this, as it is very instructive to others as well as beneficial to the OP. :D
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Re: Capricho Arabe - beginning of main theme

Post by lucy » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:38 pm

lagartija wrote:I want to thank you, Lucy for putting yourself out there and being the pioneer and first poster in this new part of the forum. :applauso: :bravo:
Thanks a lot lagartija - and Alan. That's very nice of you to say! :)
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

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