Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

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Eric Shacklett
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Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Eric Shacklett » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:57 pm

Hi all,

I'm working through capricho arabe, but there's something I don't understand in the notation at measure 52. It has a few notes indicated as slurred, but also indicated as being on 2 different strings. The F# to E at the end of the second set and the D to C# in the third set. Am I interpreting that wrong? Is the slur marking more of a grouping suggestion? I didnt study guitar so there are some things I don't understand. I am using the chanterelle collected guitar works: early Spanish editions score. The corrections listed in the glossary do not mention any issues here. Any help?

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:37 pm

There are a few pieces in which the composer indicates a slur across different strings, and it can be tricky to work out precisely what they actually wanted. In principle it suggests making the second note happen purely by the hammering-on action of the fretboard finger. In the case you cite I would usually actually pluck the second note, but fairly gently, to mimic the effect of it being hammered-on, but with more reliability and less chance of a back-buzz. There is a slightly ad libitum effect in this bar and also a distinctly idiomatic quality what with it going for those high fretboard positions, much like the (over?) expressive effect a violinist might make by staying on the 4th string (G string!) but playing high up on it.

Carcassi Study Op 60 no 9 is another case where this technique is implied.
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Eric Shacklett » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:29 pm

Ahh I see what you mean about hammering it on, I thought about that but never came across that technique so I discarded it quickly. It actually does produce a slurish effect. Now I have to go undo my 10 in a row practice at 8 increasing tempos each! Thanks so much for the response. Now I'm curious as to how others play that passage. There is a lesson on YouTube but the teacher changes the strings and goes down the fretboard on the trebles. I mean tarrega put a finger and string for every note in that phrase, so I don't know why you would feel like you could just go and change it.

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by astro64 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:46 pm

astro64 wrote:
Stephen Kenyon wrote:There are a few pieces in which the composer indicates a slur across different strings, and it can be tricky to work out precisely what they actually wanted. In principle it suggests making the second note happen purely by the hammering-on action of the fretboard finger. In the case you cite I would usually actually pluck the second note, but fairly gently, to mimic the effect of it being hammered-on, but with more reliability and less chance of a back-buzz. There is a slightly ad libitum effect in this bar and also a distinctly idiomatic quality what with it going for those high fretboard positions, much like the (over?) expressive effect a violinist might make by staying on the 4th string (G string!) but playing high up on it.

Carcassi Study Op 60 no 9 is another case where this technique is implied.
I was also wondering what slurring to an open string means, in particular for a transcription from a piano piece where a slur just implies to connect the two notes. So I am happy to see you say that one can take the liberty to play the note rather than be "forced" to do a hammer-on.

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:17 am

Eric Shacklett wrote:.... There is a lesson on YouTube but the teacher changes the strings and goes down the fretboard on the trebles. I mean tarrega put a finger and string for every note in that phrase, so I don't know why you would feel like you could just go and change it.
The charitable answer would be that they only know it as that way from the edition they use (in which case, the editor of which falls into the following category); the less charitable is that they think they are a better musician than the composer. There would be no problem in suggesting an alternative so long as the known-closest-to-the-composer version of events is acknowledged as such.

PS you should be able to delete the duplicated post above ...
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:19 pm

"The composer's work is done after he writes the last note." Leo Brouwer. Re-finger it. His ornaments are also optional (to create variety). Segovia re-fingered the piece. He was pretty good. Doug Niedt has some options in his very well done videos.
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Eric Shacklett » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:13 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:"The composer's work is done after he writes the last note." Leo Brouwer. Re-finger it. His ornaments are also optional (to create variety). Segovia re-fingered the piece. He was pretty good. Doug Niedt has some options in his very well done videos.
I tend to agree with you here, but in this particular case, tarrega puts a finger number and a string for each note in the passage, and I believe there are around 24 of them. He does not do this everywhere else, even in other ad lib type passages, such as the chromatic run a little earlier. It seems he had a certain effect in mind.

And to the previous post, in order to delete the duplicate, I "report" it as an exact duplicate? Or can I just delete it myself?

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:54 pm

Eric Shacklett wrote:
Rick Beauregard wrote:"The composer's work is done after he writes the last note." Leo Brouwer. Re-finger it. His ornaments are also optional (to create variety). Segovia re-fingered the piece. He was pretty good. Doug Niedt has some options in his very well done videos.
I tend to agree with you here, but in this particular case, tarrega puts a finger number and a string for each note in the passage, and I believe there are around 24 of them. He does not do this everywhere else, even in other ad lib type passages, such as the chromatic run a little earlier. It seems he had a certain effect in mind.

And to the previous post, in order to delete the duplicate, I "report" it as an exact duplicate? Or can I just delete it myself?
The little pen icon will be present, that enables you to edit it and most do so by deleting the text and replacing with 'duplicate post' or something. Or a moderator can get it binned properly.

Re my post above, there is of course a third possibility, which is that the commentator in question is a better musician, or for some reason, some basis, perhaps the change in the instrument, strings, technique etc, is in a better position to advise on a particular point.

Your question Eric was "why you would feel like you could just go and change it" and Rick's point above is perfectly valid advice which is to go ahead and change it (if you wish). What's good is that you are questioning the matter and we can unpack this a bit. For a student its mainly a pedagogical question, not least in this case we would want to know i. what the point in Tarregas' fingering is, ii. how do we do it?! For a professional its (hopefully) an aesthetic question, and the good student will want that too, while for the history buff its about the composer's intentions, how a thing fits into the bigger picture etc. And of course, we can all have a go at all three (and more) questions wherever we are at.

The Brouwer quote is interesting but I worry that such a thing can be taken out of context and not necessarily given the weight it is due. Also worth adding, Brouwer was speaking for himself, and other composers have a right to demur. In particular, I think its an incomplete statement because as it stands we don't know whether the composer has written the last note and added all the fingering, dynamics etc along the way, or whether that is to come, whether its a piece even, in which such things greatly matter or not.

For what its worth, my view is that a player who does what Tarrega asks in this piece, including the slides and unusual fingerings etc, will have a richer experience and produce a finer, more rewarding performance as a result. I have recorded it on Youtube by the way ...
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
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Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:34 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Eric Shacklett wrote:
Rick Beauregard wrote:"The composer's work is done after he writes the last note." Leo Brouwer. Re-finger it. His ornaments are also optional (to create variety). Segovia re-fingered the piece. He was pretty good. Doug Niedt has some options in his very well done videos.
I tend to agree with you here, but in this particular case, tarrega puts a finger number and a string for each note in the passage, and I believe there are around 24 of them. He does not do this everywhere else, even in other ad lib type passages, such as the chromatic run a little earlier. It seems he had a certain effect in mind.

And to the previous post, in order to delete the duplicate, I "report" it as an exact duplicate? Or can I just delete it myself?
The little pen icon will be present, that enables you to edit it and most do so by deleting the text and replacing with 'duplicate post' or something. Or a moderator can get it binned properly.

Re my post above, there is of course a third possibility, which is that the commentator in question is a better musician, or for some reason, some basis, perhaps the change in the instrument, strings, technique etc, is in a better position to advise on a particular point.

Your question Eric was "why you would feel like you could just go and change it" and Rick's point above is perfectly valid advice which is to go ahead and change it (if you wish). What's good is that you are questioning the matter and we can unpack this a bit. For a student its mainly a pedagogical question, not least in this case we would want to know i. what the point in Tarregas' fingering is, ii. how do we do it?! For a professional its (hopefully) an aesthetic question, and the good student will want that too, while for the history buff its about the composer's intentions, how a thing fits into the bigger picture etc. And of course, we can all have a go at all three (and more) questions wherever we are at.

The Brouwer quote is interesting but I worry that such a thing can be taken out of context and not necessarily given the weight it is due. Also worth adding, Brouwer was speaking for himself, and other composers have a right to demur. In particular, I think its an incomplete statement because as it stands we don't know whether the composer has written the last note and added all the fingering, dynamics etc along the way, or whether that is to come, whether its a piece even, in which such things greatly matter or not.

For what its worth, my view is that a player who does what Tarrega asks in this piece, including the slides and unusual fingerings etc, will have a richer experience and produce a finer, more rewarding performance as a result. I have recorded it on Youtube by the way ...
Well said and I agree with it all. You expose my skin deep pursuit of learning compared with others who prefer the deep dive, including perhaps the op. I'll never be a musicologist or virtuoso or technical perfectionist at my stage, I just want to be able to play the music. I'm learning Capricho too but my goals may be quite different. Of course I'll try the Tarrega fingering for its technical merit (I may have skipped that before reading your post). Maybe I can pull it off.
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:12 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:...
Well said and I agree with it all. You expose my skin deep pursuit of learning compared with others who prefer the deep dive, ...
Yes that's me, often diving in the deep end and never seen again
Rick Beauregard wrote: Of course I'll try the Tarrega fingering for its technical merit
...and musical merit ( / effect)
Rick Beauregard wrote: Maybe I can pull it off.
You'll have to, there are lots of descending slurs in it :lol:
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:21 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote: Maybe I can pull it off.
You'll have to, there are lots of descending slurs in it :lol:[/quote]

:wink:
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Eric Shacklett » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:27 pm

I'm not sure which boat I'm in. I suppose my aim is to reproduce the piece as the composer intended, but then there is the issue of if his intentions still apply today. I'm certainly no historian, and I could probably find this information on the internet, but was he using gut strings? Were there ingrained common performance practices that are not as accepted now? Was the guitar tuning tempered the same as it is now? Had he abandoned nails at this point in his career?

I've noticed from playing through some other tarrega that he has a tendency to voice in the higher tessitura of the strings. I'm not sure if that is due to an affinity for the sound up there (I surely love it)? Or was that just the way he was able to finger his pieces? There's just a tic in my brain that goes off if I'm knowingly doing something to composer did not intend. That's why this passage particularly irks me. I just can't figure out the intention. It's driving me a little mad lol.

Thanks for all your input everyone, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:58 pm

Eric Shacklett wrote:I'm not sure which boat I'm in. I suppose my aim is to reproduce the piece as the composer intended, but then there is the issue of if his intentions still apply today. I'm certainly no historian, and I could probably find this information on the internet, but was he using gut strings? Were there ingrained common performance practices that are not as accepted now? Was the guitar tuning tempered the same as it is now? Had he abandoned nails at this point in his career?

I've noticed from playing through some other tarrega that he has a tendency to voice in the higher tessitura of the strings. I'm not sure if that is due to an affinity for the sound up there (I surely love it)? Or was that just the way he was able to finger his pieces? There's just a tic in my brain that goes off if I'm knowingly doing something to composer did not intend. That's why this passage particularly irks me. I just can't figure out the intention. It's driving me a little mad lol.

Thanks for all your input everyone, I really appreciate it.
You're having a really good internal struggle with this, and while its not an easy ask, I suggest you think of this as a very positive engagement and learning curve.
I'd suggest that none of the considerations in your first paragraph could be held to affect the matter of this fingering; the use of gut/silk strings would make some difference (to the feel and effect of the peculiar slurs, if you choose to do them) but not, I'd say, enough. I'd be interested in the opinion of a gut string player on this...
The point about up-the-neck is germaine and a central part of Tarrega's innovation - though he wasn't the only one doing this. It is both about the tone of the higher position - thicker string for a given pitch - and in pieces like Lagrima, gives cross string sonorities (towards the end of the first half, with the C sharp on the 4th string).
There's also the thing that we see the point when we can play the thing really properly i.e. up to tempo, with the required intensity etc.
In this case the tone and articulation of the passage is different if we follow the composer vs not; also the general physicality and tactile quality is distinctive and, if it matters, visually different for the audience.
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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Eric Shacklett » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:50 am

Thanks again for the replies. I'm taking a moment to let the piece sink in I suppose right now. Taking a little break from it. Opened up my villa lobos for the suite. Man if I thought CA was tough to find intent....this is going to be a chore to find the fingerings I want to use. Virtually nothing to go by except the slide indications which I think purely mean same string-same finger. I'm a big fan of diagramless crosswords so I suppose a similar approach can be taken. :mrgreen:

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Re: Capricho arabe slur question for 16th note sextuplets

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:38 am

Eric Shacklett wrote:...Opened up my villa lobos for the suite. Man if I thought CA was tough to find intent....this is going to be a chore to find the fingerings I want to use. Virtually nothing to go by except the slide indications which I think purely mean same string-same finger. I'm a big fan of diagramless crosswords so I suppose a similar approach can be taken. :mrgreen:
Exactly, VL took the up the neck tendency of Tarrega to extremes.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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