Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Juan del Bosque
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Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Juan del Bosque » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:38 am

Well I fired up the metronome to get an honest read on my progress with this piece. I was somewhat gratified I could securely do it at 60. When I measured last year it was more like 45. Some tremelo exercises I do, like Amazing Grace, sound ok at 120 thumbstrokes per minute, but I know it's too slow for Recuerdos. At the 60 I can't do the da capo, but I noticed not many guitarists do the da capo anyway. Also the whole thing must be piano. Fortunately that's how Pepe Romero marks it in La Guitarra. I'm a musician who is willing to sacrifice speed for perfection.

barcod
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by barcod » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:33 pm

What do you mean you can't do the D.C? Why is returning to the beginning harder than the rest?

I think one of the definining characteristics of Recuerdos is the alternating crescendo-decrescendo in successive bars. When you say the whole thing must be piano, do you omit that? It should be piano to forte back to piano. Or something similar.

As for the speed, you're right, it's too slow for Recuerdos but to get to 120, you have to go through 60! I'm not sure what would be the "minimum speed" for this piece.

Juan del Bosque
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Juan del Bosque » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:57 pm

Doing the da capo exceeds my endurance! Also recall the piece is 32nd notes, so my metronome set at 60 beats a minute is equal to 120 thumbstrokes a minute. According to that same metronome, andante starts at 76.

As for the dynamics, I do those, but I take it from p to pp then back to p...

Rasqeo
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Rasqeo » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:00 pm

barcod wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:33 pm
What do you mean you can't do the D.C? Why is returning to the beginning harder than the rest?

I think one of the definining characteristics of Recuerdos is the alternating crescendo-decrescendo in successive bars. When you say the whole thing must be piano, do you omit that? It should be piano to forte back to piano. Or something similar.

As for the speed, you're right, it's too slow for Recuerdos but to get to 120, you have to go through 60! I'm not sure what would be the "minimum speed" for this piece.
Agreed. Some players play it quite slow like Pablo Villegas. I think the worst way it can be played is very fast and metronomic with no variation in tempo or dynamics. There are some very famous players who do exactly that, naming no names!

Rasqeo
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Rasqeo » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:02 pm

Juan del Bosque wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:57 pm
Doing the da capo exceeds my endurance! Also recall the piece is 32nd notes, so my metronome set at 60 beats a minute is equal to 120 thumbstrokes a minute. According to that same metronome, andante starts at 76.

As for the dynamics, I do those, but I take it from p to pp then back to p...
Endurance is definitely an issue. It took me a few months to get from being able to play the first section to the full piece.

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guitarrista
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitarrista » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:06 pm

120x4 is probably the minimum speed (equivalent to your 60x8), but it has to be done absolutely even in time (pami) and loudness (ami) to sound good.

The worst thing to do is not the speed but unevenness in time; also unevenness in ami loudness. Only after that comes the tempo, IMO.

Once upon a time I did some measurements from youtube videos. The results, from slowest to fastest:

rdla_tempi.PNG

EDIT: This is by no means an exhaustive list - just some well-known renditions and/or well-known guitarists.

Out of these on the list, it was interesting to me that there is one cluster of tempi around 150bpm, and another around 172 bpm, and then we have one outlier on each end of the spectrum. Of course this maybe an artifact if the sampling is not representative.
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Last edited by guitarrista on Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Juan del Bosque
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Juan del Bosque » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:29 pm

I don't see Chet Atkins on your list! I've listened to several of the others though. Nice list.

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Goose997
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Goose997 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:32 pm

hi guiarrista, excellent list and research!
Best regards,
Malan
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CarmineDeMarco
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by CarmineDeMarco » Sat May 11, 2019 2:22 pm

Konstantin, thank you for sharing your research! Good to be able to see and contrast.

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sat May 11, 2019 2:59 pm

Here's my view point of tremolo. The purpose of it is to provide an illusion of a continuous/slow sustaining line. To that end, for my ears (if we are talking 4 notes per click) 144-160 is the SLOWEST that I'd ever play a tremolo. For a tremolo to work at that slow speed, the player needs unbelievably amazing control of the articulation, speed, consistency, tone, volume, etc... At a slow speed, to me the tremolo doesn't serve it's purpose. I hear 4 notes being played, individual articulation of each one which takes me out of the illusion. I think 160 allows the tremolo to "find it's groove". But that's me personally...
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

SteveL123
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by SteveL123 » Sat May 11, 2019 3:14 pm

Hey Konstintin, Here's a Recuerdos video by EF (who is known for playing fast). Can you measure his tremolo BPM and include it in your list? Can you also tell us your technique used for your measurements?


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guitarrista
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitarrista » Sat May 11, 2019 7:03 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 3:14 pm
Hey Konstintin, Here's a Recuerdos video by EF (who is known for playing fast). Can you measure his tremolo BPM and include it in your list? Can you also tell us your technique used for your measurements?
Hi Steve,

Sure. He does the first section a bit faster on average than the second section, and, as with other performers, there is a variability in speed used as an expressive device throughout. But on average overall, it is about 168 bpm (x4).

I have been using the free online tap metronome at http://www.all8.com/tools/bpm.htm for these measurements; with thanks to Rich Reel for making it available.

With a classical tremolo, as opposed to scales, the measuring is a bit easier - all you do is tap your finger on each bass note.

In cases likes Yepes's when the speed is very very fast, I would rather run the clip at 50% speed (an option in youtube) and measure that tempo, then multiply by 2.

Here's the updated list :

rdla_tempi.JPG
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Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

SteveL123
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by SteveL123 » Sat May 11, 2019 9:14 pm

That online tap metronome is cool and works great! Here's another RDLA played by Pat Coldrick, a forum member. He has a very even tremolo! I timed it with the tap metronome to an average of 160 BPM. Can you tell if he is using 4 note flamenco tremolo? I slowed it down and still can't tell because of the bad audio and reverb.

He also does something different @ 2:45 I have not heard from other guitarists before, where he adds 2 bass notes (G# & B with finger 3 & 4 ) before the F# bass note. I kind of like it. How about others?


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