Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

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darylallan
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Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by darylallan » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:05 am

Hi all

For what it is worth I created an analysis of Tarrega's Adelita to get my head around this charming piece. Later I want to examine difference fingering and interpretation.

Adelita by Franciso Tarrega. (Working from score in Guitar: Music from the Student Repertoire (1974), John Mills, page 27)

Structure
Basic ternary AABBA, in slow 3/4 (

The A section starts in E minor and there is only one chord per bar.

i > iv > V > V7 > iv > V7 to I cadence, then repeats.

Rhythm places stress on second beat which usually harmonizes either the 5th or 7th of the chord. This gives the effect of piece sounding stilted.

B section is in E major.

Rhythm completely changed now to “1,2+3+” which gives the piece more momentum.

Harmonic changes are also accelerated with two chords per bar, the first chord on the first beat and a chord change on the third beat.

I > IV, I>IV, I>ii7#, V7, I>IV, I>ivo*, V7, I

# The ii7 (f minor last inversion) is used to “tonicize” the V7 however the A# of the ii7 is missing so there is no A# to B progression, i.e. no leading tone.

*The most interesting chord is on the third beat of the third last bar. I believe it’s a ii0 in last inversion, A# diminished, a chord not present in E major but the vii0 chord of B major, so the implied progress in B major is V7 > vii0 > I7. However I7 (in B major) the second last chord is V7 in E major. So the section ends with a perfect cadence complete with a lead tone to tonic in the top voice and a V to I in the bass.

Interpretation
Steve Biasini on a Youtube comment posts a warning about this piece.
The temptation to over play this song is a challenge for every guitarist. Pretty, technically powerful, but just too much work. The tune gets lost along the way. 
It also seems that to play it too slow and the first section will sound stilted and awkward. My guitar teacher made me listen to an LP of Bream playing this. Wow! Brilliant but I'm not Bream. I think the version I heard can be found here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GzW9oeN88U

What I like about this interpretation is that every note is considered. The harmony can clearly be heard but it doesn't get in the way of the tune. He seems to do this by having one timbre/tone palette for the melody and another for harmony as well as pushing the tempo and dynamics around. He also seems to slow down and highlight the most significant harmonic tensions and resolve them beautifully.

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GJW
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by GJW » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:29 pm

darylallan wrote: What I like about this interpretation is that every note is considered. The harmony can clearly be heard but it doesn't get in the way of the tune. He seems to do this by having one timbre/tone palette for the melody and another for harmony as well as pushing the tempo and dynamics around. He also seems to slow down and highlight the most significant harmonic tensions and resolve them beautifully.
...what I call "hamming it up".... :)
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RobMacKillop
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:10 pm

Keep in mind that it is a mazurka of sorts, with the accent on the second beat - especially in the A section.

Also note that the melody notes on the second beat of the A section map out the V chord - B, F#, D#, B. This is a clever trick, in that we are thinking E minor, but the melody is outlining B Major. This creates tension, an emotional device.

igycrctl
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by igycrctl » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:21 pm

darylallan wrote: Structure
Basic ternary AABBA, in slow 3/4
You say it is ternary, but there are only two parts: A and B. Please explain why this is considered ternary. Thanks.

JohnB
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by JohnB » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:25 pm

igycrctl wrote:
darylallan wrote: Structure
Basic ternary AABBA, in slow 3/4
You say it is ternary, but there are only two parts: A and B. Please explain why this is considered ternary. Thanks.
My understanding is that:

Binary form: A-B (often with repeated sections)

Ternary form: A-B-A (often with repeated sections)
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darylallan
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by darylallan » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:13 am

RobMacKillop wrote:Keep in mind that it is a mazurka of sorts, with the accent on the second beat - especially in the A section.

Also note that the melody notes on the second beat of the A section map out the V chord - B, F#, D#, B. This is a clever trick, in that we are thinking E minor, but the melody is outlining B Major. This creates tension, an emotional device.
Great point didn't pick up on that.

Also John Hall has a great analysis where he talks about Italian 6 chords.
http://www.johnhallguitar.com/blog/lgri ... _analysis/
GJW wrote:
darylallan wrote: What I like about this interpretation is that every note is considered. The harmony can clearly be heard but it doesn't get in the way of the tune. He seems to do this by having one timbre/tone palette for the melody and another for harmony as well as pushing the tempo and dynamics around. He also seems to slow down and highlight the most significant harmonic tensions and resolve them beautifully.
...what I call "hamming it up".... :)


I wish I could ham it up like that :(

Ternary or Binary?
I thought ternary because structure is AA-BB-A, really reduced to ABA

Also many binary pieces have the following harmony.
A: I > V
B: V > I
So the sections balance each other and the whole piece starts on the tonic moves to V and returns to the tonic

Adelita does the following
A: i > V7 > i
B: I > V7 > I
Each section is self contained and resolves by itself.

That's my spin on it and I'm happy to be corrected. :)

Hang on! :oops:
Currently reading an article by D. F. Savarese that claims our modern publications on Adelita are all wrong and that the structure is in fact AABBAB

https://www.savarese.org/music/Adelita.html

Savarese has attached a PDF of how he believes Tarrega intented the music to be played.

https://www.savarese.org/downloads/shee ... delita.pdf

rguitar
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by rguitar » Fri May 26, 2017 4:55 pm

To my ear, the AABBA form has more finality than ending with the B section. That upward motion at the end of the B section seems to imply that more is coming.

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mike_arnesen
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by mike_arnesen » Sat May 27, 2017 3:19 pm

This was a great read and gave me some good stuff to think about. :P I'm currently learning this piece for the first time. I was a music major for two years in college and one of the things I miss most about it is the discussions around pieces, so reading through this was awesome. Thanks!

Rognvald
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Rognvald » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:11 am

GJW wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:29 pm
darylallan wrote: What I like about this interpretation is that every note is considered. The harmony can clearly be heard but it doesn't get in the way of the tune. He seems to do this by having one timbre/tone palette for the melody and another for harmony as well as pushing the tempo and dynamics around. He also seems to slow down and highlight the most significant harmonic tensions and resolve them beautifully.
...what I call "hamming it up".... :)


GJW,
Perhaps you can provide our Forum with the correct playing of this piece(by you, of course) to help those of us who have gone astray and believe Bream's rendition is one of style, emotion, and technical brilliance. Perhaps, you can play it on one of your electric guitars. Thanks, I'm looking forward to your rendition. Playing again, Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:36 am

I have to admit that I've always been flummoxed by the final, 'skipping' sequence in the b part. It strikes me as being emotionally wrong, considering all that's come before. As if it said, well, never mind, we'll just joyfully skip for a moment, then get back to the A section. But everyone plays it like that, so I must be missing something. I've tried playing it much slower, but I don't know if that works either.

edit: o.k. I just played it again and of course, the b section is 'brighter', more upbeat than the a section after all. To me, the A section and the B section have two distinct emotional registers,with no real transition between them. don't get me wrong, I love this piece!
Last edited by Jeffrey Armbruster on Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:16 pm

darylallan wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:13 am
Hang on! :oops:
Currently reading an article by D. F. Savarese that claims our modern publications on Adelita are all wrong and that the structure is in fact AABBAB

https://www.savarese.org/music/Adelita.html

Savarese has attached a PDF of how he believes Tarrega intented the music to be played.

https://www.savarese.org/downloads/shee ... delita.pdf
This has some interesting aspects, but one might caution that it makes some statements on things that are not as settled as all that, and seems to be taking a very literal, mechanistic view.
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Rognvald » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:49 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:16 pm
darylallan wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:13 am
Hang on! :oops:
Currently reading an article by D. F. Savarese that claims our modern publications on Adelita are all wrong and that the structure is in fact AABBAB

https://www.savarese.org/music/Adelita.html

Savarese has attached a PDF of how he believes Tarrega intented the music to be played.

https://www.savarese.org/downloads/shee ... delita.pdf
This has some interesting aspects, but one might caution that it makes some statements on things that are not as settled as all that, and seems to be taking a very literal, mechanistic view.

Hi, Steve,
One can never achieve mastery of a piece unless they understand it from a structural perspective. I have always been a firm believer that understanding Music Theory is indispensable to a good/great player. However, there is a Catch 22 to this approach in that a piece can be overstudied theoretically and, in doing so, the player loses the important communicative message the composer intended. We don't want to be "music machines," we want to be a mouthpiece for the composer couched in our own unique musical sensibilities. Coming from a Jazz background, my greatest criticism of "Classical" players is that the majority can play a piece technically well but do so without personality, emotion or musical sensibility. This, of course, does not apply to all players but I believe much of this is attributable to the way they are taught to play an instrument. We see the same thing with writers and painters who become so technically absorbed in the mechanics that they cannot see "the forest through the trees." I favor an organic approach where a player is allowed to explore the music based on his sensibilities of the piece tempered by what is written on the paper as a road map to HIS communication. This approach complements rather than detracts from the player's musical journey. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:11 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:49 pm
....
One can never achieve mastery of a piece unless they understand it from a structural perspective. I have always been a firm believer that understanding Music Theory is indispensable to a good/great player. However, there is a Catch 22 to this approach in that a piece can be overstudied theoretically and, in doing so, the player loses the important communicative message the composer intended. We don't want to be "music machines," we want to be a mouthpiece for the composer couched in our own unique musical sensibilities. Coming from a Jazz background, my greatest criticism of "Classical" players is that the majority can play a piece technically well but do so without personality, emotion or musical sensibility. This, of course, does not apply to all players but I believe much of this is attributable to the way they are taught to play an instrument. We see the same thing with writers and painters who become so technically absorbed in the mechanics that they cannot see "the forest through the trees." I favor an organic approach where a player is allowed to explore the music based on his sensibilities of the piece tempered by what is written on the paper as a road map to HIS communication. This approach complements rather than detracts from the player's musical journey. Playing again . . . Rognvald
Yes, you are I think exactly right in everything you say. There are one or two extra things I'd suggest you might like to consider.
To be fussy, I doubt its really possible for a piece to be 'overstudied'; one might have an imbalance between theoretical understanding and artistic ideas but I don't think I've ever seen that, rather, for most players if they seem to be failing to do anything interesting (e.g. "the important communicative message the composer intended") its usually because they are struggling with the technical features of the piece and short of the freedom to do interesting musical things with it as well as get the notes. This, at least applies commonly to the good amateur whose (admirable!) intent to improve their playing brings them to pieces which are stretching their techniques. Like yourself, I have a favourite subject upon which to riff - several if I'm honest - which is the importance of making sure one has pieces to play which are so well within one's technique that it is no bar to the exploration of musical ideas.
If we see well known, or obviously really good, players whose interpretations one feels to be "without personality, emotion or musical sensibility" there may be any number of reasons for that. Personally, I would always endeavour to maintain a respect for the player to the effect that I would assume their notion of those things was different from mine. We are after all discussing an art, and there are limited grounds for dogmatic confidence that one's perception is objective in every respect. But yes, it can happen that for some reason it seems pretty clear that the player is bored, or preoccupied or whatever, and perhaps they are, but just doing their job and getting the notes out because they have been paid and they have no alternative, there and then.
Tangent; the only utterly boring (to me) recital I ever attended was also the only one with absolutely no discernible mistakes whatsoever. The player had played the venue to great success and been asked back too soon, and felt he had to play a different programme, which for some reason meant playing like a robot.
While I applaud and appreciate your encouragement of an organic, exploratory approach, I would add (coming from a classical background :wink: and being an educationalist) that one of the things that defines our instrument and the instrumental name of this forum is that there is a bandwidth. Always up for negotiation and discussion, but there are some things outside that bandwidth enough of which and its no longer 'classical' - another thread has been discussing a player who might fall well outside the brackets. Style, a briefer name for the same thing, changes over time and can be particular to place (less so in today's world) and in no sense does it mean that one cannot enjoy, appreciate or admire playing which is 'outside' this arbitrary and subjective bracket. Which is my characteristically long-winded way of saying it is important to work to keep one's musical sensibilities within the 'classical style' because I have seen (and had to teach) rather too many whose musical journey has suffered from being otherwise.
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Rognvald
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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by Rognvald » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:09 am

Well said, Stephen! Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Re: Analysis of Adelita by Tarrega

Post by PeteJ » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:41 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:11 pm
.... Like yourself, I have a favourite subject upon which to riff - several if I'm honest - which is the importance of making sure one has pieces to play which are so well within one's technique that it is no bar to the exploration of musical ideas.
What a great thought and excellent advice. I wonder what your other riff topics are.

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