Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Eric Shacklett
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Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by Eric Shacklett » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:03 am

Hello all,

Again, I am just a trained trombonist with an affinity for the CG. This piece has been at the core of my guitar playing from the beginning. I started with classic rock, downgraded to punk rock, upgraded to metal, and then heard choros no 1. Then I learned that, etude 1, 3, and prelude 4, before taking a very long hiatus and coming back to CG. I'm into more traditional stuff now like sor studies, Romanza, adelita and lagrima and all that on loop, but this etude 1 which I can't kick, keeps playing around in my mind. Before I go on with my question, it was also the piece that made me decide to grow my nails (finally), one day after some weeks of neglect, I noticed it just sounded way better and was much easier to play with a little nail...

My question is: what are we ACTUALLY studying in this piece? Arpeggios? That's what he says, but why? RH is basically the same throughout, so it's only 1 RH pattern. Can't you analyze the arpeggios in the piece in the 8 theory classes you take in college?

I've been wondering this for a while and have come to think the actual lesson here is understanding the right hand as it relates to varying string tensions. It is no question that m 1 is quite different in the right hand to m 12?

My overall question i suppose is what do you all actually work on when studying this piece? I'm sure it varies.

Salvador
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by Salvador » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:04 am

I practiced it for:

Arpeggio, especially the right hand ring finger to strengthen it. My ring finger takes time to stable. Etude 1 plucking pattern is one of my warm up piece for the ring finger.

The right hand Thumb. The bass should be clear and even. The Treble, you have to let the mysterious sound from the trebles to come out. It's like you separate the sound of the bass and the treble. It's like 2 voices.

For the left hand, to change chords and still maintain and sustain the arpeggio sound as possible. Minimize string noise while changing chords.

The slur part. Playing it with balanced sound and still on the right tempo. Some played the 1st part fast and intense. But when it comes to the slur part they slow down. Some played it too fast, that the sound is not clear and not balance anymore. It's the hardest part for me also because my guitar is hard to play.

Harmonics, there are beginner classical guitarist who don't know how to play harmonics, so this a good introduction.

My favorite Etude 1 is by Manuel Barrueco.

guit-box
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by guit-box » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:22 pm

For me, this etude is about improving my m-a alternation and working on keeping my c moving with a.

Very nice M Barrueco version, I agree. I think he could have minimized the squeaking on the descending diminished chord, but it's still amazing.
mod edit: direct link to copyright protected material removed, search for Manuel Barrueco etude 1.

I like the clear and precise articulation in this version, his relaxed right hand is something I'm working on :
Direct link to copyright protected material removed.
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guit-box
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by guit-box » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:42 pm

I can see that the first link might be copyright protected material, but the second one is from a site that owns the material and is freely posting it online. No?

Search: Xingye Li plays Etude No. 1 by Heitor Villa Lobos on a 2014 Roy Fankhänel guitar at siccas guitars
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Salvador
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by Salvador » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:48 pm

For Barrueco's Etude 1 Version, you can find it on Spotify.

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lagartija
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by lagartija » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:35 pm

guit-box wrote:I can see that the first link might be copyright protected material, but the second one is from a site that owns the material and is freely posting it online. No?
They may own the performance rights, but all of Villa-Lobos' work belongs to the holder of the copyright. By French laws, this means it is a protected work and we avoid direct links to it here because M.Delcamp's server is located in France. They have shut other sites down just for having links to copyright protected material.
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georgemarousi
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by georgemarousi » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:27 pm

Hello all,
This piece is a great RH exercise!
Especially for the m/a fingers where you will probably find the more difficulties to be accurate as try to increase speed ..
Try to practice partially i.e only RH for some sessios. Also play with the rhythm ( dotted notes every other note ). Slow clear and in tempo first.
I Wrote all those down to re-read them and repeat them myself too hahaha :D
( I still try to improve my clarity in this piece.. )

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slidika
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by slidika » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:50 pm

Hmm -- I shall have to give it a try. Perhaps it is similar to the 120 RH studies which are supposed to focus on evenness in everything the RH does (at least, that is how it was explained to me).
Whenever I am not ready for my music lesson, I call it 'facing the music'.

Lawler
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by Lawler » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:47 pm

Yes, there's the arpeggio and all the technical challenges and articulation possibilities in it. Play slowly enough to be accurate while feeling easy and move up in tempo, incrementally, as your increasing ability allows.

There's also a beautiful and compelling bass line. Try singing the bass line as you play the piece... you'll likely hear the phrasing, harmonic structure and expressive intensity with greater depth. I do. There's also Villa-Lobos' mindset when he wrote it... his motivations and influences that relate to his time in Paris in the 1920s (the 12 Studies were published '29). Villa-Lobos was so individualistic, artistically, that I don't think a person can understand his music without knowing about his life and experiences. (and not just with a glance at Wikipedia, haha) There are some good biogaphies of VL. I liked the bio by Lisa Peppercorn. Also worth it to read The Ox on the Roof by James Harding - all about music in Paris in the 20s. Fascinating book and relevant today.

Anyway, great question Eric.

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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by Rick Hutt » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:50 pm

Nice thread. I play this piece just about every day. The reasons given above are similar to mine, plus there is that wonderful stretch in measure 5. SI\ince I have been playing if for more than 30 years it has become a bit "too ingrained". What I mean is that is became so mechanical that a few months ago I decided to slow it waaaaaaaay down. Couldn't do it. So this told me to play a bit more mindfully. Now I can play it at speed and slowly. Etude #2 presented the same issue. So I guess the lesson for me is that these etudes keep on teaching despite my best efforts.
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RectifiedGTRz
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Re: Villa lobos etude no 1: what am I ACTUALLY studying?

Post by RectifiedGTRz » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:26 pm

There is much to be gained from the Villa-Lobos Etudes and Preludes. I play this every day for a warm up along with the Aguado sextuplet in e minor study.

Just like you have Giuliani's massive 120 exercises for the right hand (really valuable actually but very boring), Etude 1 is for right hand development using all six strings. When played at correct tempo it's just fantastic and really flows. Etude 2 is an actual arpeggio study which is also great but more difficult to pull off at tempo due to the position changes. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Villa-Lobos was a type of Amateur guitarist himself, which is why his stuff works so well with the fingerboard. However his sheet music is notrious for printing errors.

Take a listen to Barrueco, old Bream, or Fernandez for their interpretations. Each one sounds different.
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