Postby Jean-François Delcamp » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:15 pm
Please start by downloading the latest version of volume D05.
If you are new to the course, please read this message to familiarize yourself with the conditions for participating in the lessons. You should also read the first message in lesson 1, where you will find advice on how to make the most of your study time and on the methods of practising that I recommend.
Now we are going to work on a series of exercises:
To render polyphony clearly, you have to be able to control the force applied by each of the fingers plucking the strings.
Here is a little exercise. The first few times that you try it, the exercise will seem impossible to master. Tell yourself that this difficulty, though very real, will be resolved after an hour of diligent work.
We'll start with 2 voices, exercise 107, page 159.
- Bring out the bass played with the thumb. Then bring out the soprano played with the ring finger.
Next, 3 voices, exercise 108 page 159
- Bring out the bass played with the thumb. Then bring out the soprano played with the ring finger. Then bring out the alto played with the middle finger.
And now 4 voices, exercise 109 page 159
- Bring out the bass played with the thumb. Then bring out the soprano played with the ring finger. Then bring out the alto played with the middle finger. Finally bring out the tenor played by the index finger.
Once you've managed to bring out a single note in a chord, you've got it beaten!
The easiest thing to start with is to bring out the bass with the thumb.
It can help to exaggerate the movement of whichever finger is plucking more strongly than the others, as I demonstrate on this video.
There are other ways of distinguishing one voice from another. You can apply a different articulation to one voice from that applied to another. For instance, you might play one voice staccato and the other legato. You can also distinguish voices by varying the timbre of each voice. For example, you could play the bass with the flesh of the thumb and the other voices with the nails. We'll see these other techniques in the next lessons.
Today we'll look at 5 pieces.
- page 18 Hans Neusiedler (1508-1563) Wascha mesa
This piece in two sections is based on a sequence of 4 chords: D minor, C major, D minor, A major.
This sequence of 4 chords is repeated in bars 5 to 8, with the last two chords both incorporated into bar 7, in order to be able to finish on the tonic in bar 8, with a chord of D minor. Luys de Narvàez made use of the same contracting together of two chords in bar 7 of his Diferencias sobre guardame las vacas (previous lesson).
As for the rhythm, in the first section, bars 1 to 24, the beat is divided into 4 eighth notes (quavers). In the second section, bars 25 to 64, the beat is divided into 3 eighth notes (quavers). The tempo remains the same, with the overall length of a bar switching from a half note (minim) to a dotted quarter note (dotted crotchet).
Feel free to improvise on this sequence of 4 chords.
- page 46 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Menuet Anh. 132
This is a minuet with two voices, in the binary form (AABB). The minuet here is in E minor. The first part concludes in the key of the relative major, G major. The second part concludes in the main key, E minor.
- page 76 Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) Ländler opus 12 n°1
A Ländler based on 3 chords, A major, D major and E major (the three bass strings of the guitar). It's easy to make it ring out. The 3 eighth notes (quavers) which start the Ländler can be played freely, without strict tempo. This will help to emphasise (by contrast) the stability of the tempo from bar 9.
I ask you first to work on all these exercises and tunes for a week and then to upload your recordings of:
- page 159 Delcamp Polyhponie N°109
- page 18 Hans Neusiedler (1508-1563) Wascha mesa
- page 108 Cristóbal Oudrid (1825-1877) El postillon de la rioja
I thank Geoff (GeoffB) who has helped in the translation of my lessons into English.
Exam qualifying submissions: :
Delcamp Polyhponie N°109
Hans Neusiedler (1508-1563) Wascha mesa
Cristóbal Oudrid (1825-1877) El postillon de la rioja
Thank you, Jeffrey.
Yes, those bars 6-9 and the like are real hell. I still can't get the clean and neat sound out of them. As for those bars with the tempo flaws you mention, you are probably right, I'll have to check.
I wonder where have all the people disappeared? But never mind, we'll still go on, shan't we?
I'm actually amazed that you can get that sound from the silent guitar.
The trick is two mikes. As you can probably see I place one virtually on top of the strings, very-very close, and the second one with the video camera is positioned more or less normally. To be absolutely franc, it's not even a video camera, but a photo camera, I don't have a video. And the mike is attached to the tablet PC. There is not much point in using a good mike with a silent guitar. Then when I combine the two recorded tracks (with a lot of headache) I can get some semblance of decent sound. It's just that for various reasons I can't use a normal guitar at home, so I have to go to certain length to make my recordings acceptable.