The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
powderedtoastman
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:15 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:54 pm

I'm only in the early stages of this as I've been studying this specifically for maybe a year and a half, and I've been playing some of these pieces for as long as two years now, but it is a long term goal of mine to play at least a passable or pretty good performance of everything in "The Complete Sor Studies" which includes opuses 60, 44, 35 and 31... 6 and 29 are in there too but for now I'm focusing more on the first four of that list.

But I think I've practiced and "performed" enough of these that I can start to get satisfactory takes of them and even create some worthwhile original content with my commentary and experience.

So I would like to introduce a blog that I'm starting up on this topic.

https://thecompletesor.wordpress.com/

This is mainly for myself so I can look back and analyze my playing and get my thoughts organized into meaningful comments that I can refer back to, but I thought I would share with this community that I frequent, in case anybody else might be interested in this sort of thing. With the "Let's learn Op. 60" mega thread, I think there could be at least a small audience here :)

Sometimes I might do a break-down type video as I have started to do with Op. 44 no 12, but I don't really like talking or the sound of my own voice too much so I'll probably mostly do play throughs and commentary.

Well I hope somebody will enjoy!

User avatar
spanishguitarmusic
Posts: 1406
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:58 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:41 am

Thank you for sharing the link to your blog! I already took a look at it and it looks really good!

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3351
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:27 am

Good luck! And thanks for including my tutorial video early on - I'm pleased at least one person listened to it! :-)

The only negative I have for you is the use of that low C. You might like it, but Sor didn't. He was dead against multi-string guitars. In using the low C, you have joined the long, long list of players who think they know better than Sor, and happily change what he wrote to suit their own musical taste. Might I suggest that, as a student, you first learn to understand Sor better, and only after youve done that should you reinterpret the studies your own way? I'm being tough on you here because I think you are doing a good thing, and I'd like to see you do it well. When I added low notes from my eight-string, it was within the eight-string tradition of the generation after Sor, but your whole website is devoted to what Sor wrote, is it not?

But keep it up! You have a long way to go, with lots of beautiful music ahead of you. Always remember what Sor said: A guitarist who is a harmonist, has advantage over one who is not.

randalljazz
Posts: 851
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:41 pm
Location: anchorage, alaska

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by randalljazz » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:20 am

just lovely! thanks for sharing.
"Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 4542
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by David Norton » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:17 pm

I will take the opposite viewpoint, and state that I enjoyed the occasional use of the low C. No, it's not "authentic". But changing an octave downward in Sor is no more of a Musical Sin than is raising something by an octave in Dowland, Weiss, Bach. It's not like you have reharmonized the Studies with major sevenths or diminished fifth chords (e.g. John Hall's altered editions). Keep it going!
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

powderedtoastman
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:15 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by powderedtoastman » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:34 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:27 am
Good luck! And thanks for including my tutorial video early on - I'm pleased at least one person listened to it! :-)

The only negative I have for you is the use of that low C. You might like it, but Sor didn't. He was dead against multi-string guitars. In using the low C, you have joined the long, long list of players who think they know better than Sor, and happily change what he wrote to suit their own musical taste. Might I suggest that, as a student, you first learn to understand Sor better, and only after youve done that should you reinterpret the studies your own way? I'm being tough on you here because I think you are doing a good thing, and I'd like to see you do it well. When I added low notes from my eight-string, it was within the eight-string tradition of the generation after Sor, but your whole website is devoted to what Sor wrote, is it not?

But keep it up! You have a long way to go, with lots of beautiful music ahead of you. Always remember what Sor said: A guitarist who is a harmonist, has advantage over one who is not.
Thank you Rob, that is a good point which I hadn't given much thought to before going ahead and giving it a try. As a curiosity can I ask where you found info on what Sor thought of extra strings on guitars? I'm curious because I don't feel like there's a lot of easily accessible info on the topic in general other than that Mertz was known to play something like 10 strings though he didn't tend to publish things like that for general consumption. And that there's a very tiny bit of Legnani published that seems to indicate down to a low C. And there may be moments in general that seem to me like they're screaming for it though it's not written. Example Legnani Caprice #1, the bass line going to the last chord is descending all the way down to G and then E on the 6th string and then with only a 6 string guitar we have to go back up to C on the 5th string which doesn't maintain the direction of that bass line. So I'm pretty confident about adding the 8th string in that spot unless somebody chimes in to disagree.

I will say that I'm not necessarily shoothing to be a stickler for doing things exactly the way Sor intended down to the last detail. For example I know that Sor's method explicitly says to only sparingly use the a-finger in specific cases. On that point while practicing I tend to give it a quick try with only p/i/m, but often I will go ahead and make the choice to use all four for some technical facility and especially if it doesn't seem to detract from the actual music. And I imagine some other guitarists of the time did use the a-finger and maybe even did so while playing Sor's written music.

Adding in extra low notes where they were never written in obviously is a little different in that it is taking the liberty to change the score, and I know some folks are of the mind that as interpreters we don't really have the right to do that.
And what I meant when I started to practice with those low strings was to use it as a way to slowly train myself to incorporate the extra strings where it seems reasonably tasteful. Not necessarily trying to "defend" anything here either, but just putting in my thoughts as part of the discussion.

Another thing I'm actually considering is trying to use the 7th string open D in place of down-tuning the 6th string to D in some pieces. I've even seen that idea suggested in some forum or facebook post by Scot who built my guitar. This obviously won't work if the score calls for fretted notes which happen to come into reach in some upper position because they've moved up two frets.
Once again I consider that an activity mainly to practice reaching for the lower string, and not necessarily a suggestion that a piece "should" be played that way.

All that said, the ones I've posted so far are already pretty much the pieces where I've bothered to try that in the Sor studies, and many of the other ones in the queue I tend to play as written as far as the notes go.. not that many are in C major anymore and I haven't been super adventurous about tuning to other notes.

Anyway thanks for the comments and thanks for stopping by to listen also!

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3351
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:54 pm

Oh, I think it's in his Method - I can't quote you chapter and verse. But do feel free (as you most certainly are) to ignore everything I say :-) Put as many bass notes in as you like, change fingerings to those of your own technique, etc. It's your interpretation, after all. I just thought as you were making such a big study of Sor's studies, you might want to explore what Sor intended to be heard. There's no reason why you should, of course. Best wishes with it.

powderedtoastman
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:15 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by powderedtoastman » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:36 pm

Well, I certainly don't look to ignore everything you say. Quite the contrary, I value your insights a lot.

Actually you have brought to the discussion the important point of what is my sense of purpose for striving to work through the Complete Sor studies in its entirety, when it would suffice for the majority of players to pick several that they like best musically or the ones that offer a way of developing a particular technique.

But you're absolutely right that I should be looking to hear what Sor intended to be heard to whatever degree is reasonable. Especially given that I have gone out of my way to choose to play on a 19th century instrument. Beyond the instrument, what other details are important in order to achieve my purpose? Or which ones are nice but don't actually contribute that much? And what was I supposed to learn from each individual piece in this collection?
Well I'm sure the answers to all these things are going to be fluid, and some of them don't have answers but either way it's worth trying to do.

User avatar
Jorge Oliveira
Posts: 833
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Cascais, Portugal

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:17 pm

I read the Opus 31 part of your blog, powderedtoastman, and listened to your renditions of its first three pieces (I'll go through the Opus 44 one of these days). Jolly good initiative, indeed, I wish you all the success. It will take you ages to complete this Project, I guess, but you are young enough :lol:. I see also that you have a new guitar, an ancient model with some extra bass strings. It seems to have a good sound. Enjoy it!
1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/52, Spr, IN RW, Tokyo, JP
1976 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.50, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CA Ced, MG RW, Banyoles, ES

powderedtoastman
Posts: 539
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:15 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by powderedtoastman » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:18 am

Thanks Jorge!
I think I've managed to play through about half of each of the opuses and maybe a little over half of 60 and 44, but recording each one to my satisfaction will be quite another matter.

Yes I did get this new guitar a bit earlier this year. I hadn't recorded and posted much with it previously though I did make some local open mic showings that sometimes end up on Facebook or Youtube. I am really loving this guitar, it has a great sound that I'm still learning to control and refine, and it's very comfortable to play.

As a part of this effort I suppose I'll be filling out my contributions to the Op. 60 thread and the upcoming Op. 35 thread once that gets started!

johnhall
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 4:17 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by johnhall » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:52 pm

David Norton wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:17 pm
I will take the opposite viewpoint, and state that I enjoyed the occasional use of the low C. No, it's not "authentic". But changing an octave downward in Sor is no more of a Musical Sin than is raising something by an octave in Dowland, Weiss, Bach. It's not like you have reharmonized the Studies with major sevenths or diminished fifth chords (e.g. John Hall's altered editions). Keep it going!
I'm a bit late to the party here but in case you would be interested in what David is referring to please see:

http://www.johnhallguitar.com/blog/what_would_sor_do/

An mp3 is included, or if you prefer:



John

Fixin2
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:41 pm

Re: The Complete Sor Studies... my lifelong journey!

Post by Fixin2 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:28 am

Searching for the Sor studies is what originally led me to this site. I can’t wait to check out your blog. Thanks for posting.

Return to “Public Space”