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Classical Guitar Lessons: Carcassi Method -- Key of A Major

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And continuing with our series
of the Carcassi method,
this is the key of A-major.
And basically we're going to go through
not every item on all the keys.
But the scale, the scale featuring the
notes in the key of A-major.
A short scale exercise.
And then a short arpeggiated exercise, and
then two short pieces in the key of
So let's start with the scale.
And, you'll see in the method that
Carcassi wants us to play
any notes on the wound strings, the bass
strings, with our thumb.
And then to alternate on the top three
strings, the trebles.
So when you're working with your thumb,
actually this is a nice little exercise
for the thumb.
If you have a tendency to grip the top
three treble strings with your I,
and A, and then, and play your thumb
strokes off of that.
That's not necessarily a,
a bad thing to do in certain practical
elements of performance, or, or
any kind of playing, but.
If you find that it's a little bit of a
crutch, you'll,
you'll want to use just even that scale
passage as an opportunity, and the ensuing
scale exercise, as an opportunity to
practice using the thumb alone,
without any help from the I M A, bracing
themselves on the strings like this.
I'll just demonstrate again.
And again just let, just follow through
the thumb.
Let the thumb follow through right into
the first finger.
And now here's the scale exercise.
Okay, and then you'll see, and I, I
recommend that you follow the fingerings,
the alternation fingerings whenever
even though they might result in a
backward cross.
For example, M on the second string going
to I on the first string.
That's not necessarily a bad thing to
practice, because in your studies and
your pieces there may be
there may be situations in which you can't
avoid a backwards cross.
Of course a comfortable cross is generally
something that for
example the eye on the second string
crossing up to the M on the first string
that's more comfortable for most players.
But it's good to practice to get
experience and
repetitions with, with the opposite cross,
and so that's why I recommend just
sticking with his fingerings.
Okay, now we are on to the ep the arpeggio
exercise of the method.
And in the arpeggio exercise you'll notice
this half, kind of a half bar thing.
This maybe a new one, a new kind of left
hand move for
some of you beginners but it's very, it's
a move you're gonna use a lot in A major
because there will be situations in which
you cannot always play A major chord.
An A major chord with one, two, three
stacked this way or two, three,
four stacked this way.
Sometimes it's more advantageous depending
on the passage,
to play that same A major shape with one
one two.
And for students in their first couple of
years, if it's a new move,
it may be a little bit uncomfortable, but
that is the fingering you recommend, and
it's a good one to get to know.
So once you can also practice this this
exercise with sequential planting,
which we've covered, of course, in earlier
lessons on right-hand arpeggiation.
That's another way to practice it.
Just to give yourself some more
repetitions with a new
sequential planting arpeggio.
And it's also a good opportunity to work,
if you haven't yet
this started to deal with the the act of
planting and the art of planting.
A major's a great key for that of course
because, for example,
from the first to the second measure.
You know, the harmony goes from A major to
D major,
the base notes of our two open strings.
So when you go into the D major harmony
it's not necessarily as clean or
clear a sound if you, if that A base is
still ringing over some [INAUDIBLE].
Good opportunity always in A major to work
on your base stamping and
once again that looks like this in the
right hand.
I'll go very slow.
And that's done by playing so if you just
go from the A tonality.
You play the next bass note first.
And then immediately after playing that,
that second bass note, [SOUND], your thumb
comes back to the bass note before in this
case the open A on the fifth string,
grabs it, and while your other fingers are
playing the rest of the arpeggio.
One more time,
and then release.
You wanna get comfortable with releasing
that thumb and relaxing it.
Releasing the tension that may be in the
thumb from, of course, holding or
damping the bass string.
While you're playing the other notes in
the arpeggio.
Okay, and then two short pieces.
And that will we'll cover, we can cover
that in another.
The other lesson on Carcassi Key in A
Major is going to be a waltz and
a march for, for this section of the
Carcassi Method.
Thank You.
And this is part two of the key
of A major from the Carcassi Method.
These are two short pieces, as you've as
we've seen
through each of the key areas in the
method he has two or three.
I won't go through every single piece in
just because we wanna really sort of
cherry-pick from the entire method to
give you an overview of the entire method
in this curriculum.
So this we're starting with a waltz here
and so here we go.
Waltz in A major.
Of course, your base stamping is a good
opportunity and
anything in A major is a good opportunity
to work on your base stamping,
because your three primary base notes, A,
E and D are all on open strings.
You may notice a couple sort of color
things I did there in
the [SOUND] in the trio.
[SOUND] When it went to, when it modulated
in the key of
where I went to the key of D major for the
the trio section here.
You know,
I played some ponticello the first time
and then a really.
Right here.
The second time through, so on the repeat.
So that's just something if you're not, if
you're not yet comfortable with,
with trying out color changes.
That's an idea that you can, that you can
use or try if you like.
And, and it's good at this stage to try to
get comfortable with things like that,
because color, of course is a very
important part of imparting
musical character to your pieces down the
road either,
whether, whether it be concert pieces or
even just some studies.
So the challenge, of course is just that
of course you're moving your, the, the,
the right-hand [SOUND] technique.
You know, [SOUND] the mechanics that
that you've been building up to this point
you're actually kind of moving them to a
different part of the string.
When playing ponticello, [SOUND] you know?
You know, it's, you,
some of you may notice that,
that this forty-five degree angle that
I've been recommending that you cut,
you know, the string with or slice the
string with to get a warmer sound.
Maybe become compromised a bit and you
you end up playing straighter across the
That's not necessarily a bad kind of sound
for something that's pontocello.
Conversely, if you go, if you go into
the dulce area, you may find that you're
cutting the string at e,
even more of an angle than in your sort of
bread and
butter area here right over the, over the
sound hole or
right at the edge of the rosette.
Again it's that, that thickness of that
angle is actually very nice sound for
But also know that you can, by just
dropping the wrist a little bit.
That's also an option in the sound.
It makes for a thinner sound in the tosto.
But if you're playing softly the, the, the
the straight across the string attack
can be really nice as long as you're
playing mezzo piano or softer than that.
So there's just some, some color some
color talk within the A major Carcassi
pieces something to try if you haven't
tried using color at this point.
So thank you very much.
And continuing with Carcassi method key of
A major, here's the second
short piece in the key of A major and this
is a march and why I wanted to.
Teach you this particular piece because
dotted rhythms, of course,
are major rhythmic thing that you'll find
in a lot of early 19th century repertoire.
Well, all of 19th century repertoire, but
particularly anything any concert pieces
by Sor Juliane, Alguado.
It's just something you're gonna have to,
to, to deal with.
And dotted rhythms are often
misrepresented as
as kind of a triplet rhythm or sort of
swung in kind of a jazz way.
Where if, if we see in our first measure
here we have,
just something like that there.
A lot of times a lot you'll hear a lot of
or some players
play a dotted rhythm like this.
Again it almost in a triplet where that
second beat that you'll see on your,
on your PDF that second beat.
Is is made up of an eighth note, or sorry
a quarter note in the triplet,
followed by an eighth note within the
triplet sign.
So it's very important to make
the distinction between this rhythm
which is really
And this rhythm.
So, you really want, which is basically a
dotted eighth and sixteenth.
Very different things.
So these, these rhythms were very
prevalent during this time there's, they,
they were meant to, a march of course, was
a kind of a military thing as there were,
well there were a lot of wars going on
back then.
So, you really wanna make those rhythms
really crisp.
So one, two and a three.
So it's the A, in one, two E and a three.
It's the A part of two E and the fourth
So, good opportunity here to work on, on
the on the dotted rhythms.
And when you play them, playing them is
the, the key to playing them very
crisply and with a nice quickness in the
sixteenth to the following third B.
In this instance is
is to play the first note of the two quick
notes very lightly, so to play the, the
fourth sixteenth of the second
beat very lightly almost as like a pick up
when I almost crescendo into the third
So that the, that, the first of those two
notes is very soft and then the third beat
which is a full quarter note has more
stress on it.
almost like a trampolining kinda effect on
the hand.
And then on that third beat, of course in
this case you've got time then to relax
the hand before you continue playing.
So you should be, it all should almost
feel like one gesture.
Almost like one move in the hand it's just
that, that, that two fingers eye and that
move very quickly.
Okay so here we go.
Here's the march in A major by Carcassi.
And you'll notice in the second half I
start, I started the second half I,
I played it without repeats feel free to
submit a version with or without repeats.
I, I started the second half more softly
that I can build the phrase a little bit.
It just seemed to call for that.
And then at the fourth measure of the
second half, I relax the phrase and
put a little bit of poco ritardando.
That's not in the score, that's just
something that I, I applied to it.
So, you might like to try that.
Also notice that I articulated the bass in
the second half here.
long short, short, long.
and that's a great way to work on playing
using articulation, especially in the bass
in this period,
it's very important to become accustomed
And with that, the short bass notes, those
final two bass notes there in that measure
long, short, short.
The first short one [SOUND] I return to
the string with thumb.
then the as I play the open E short again.
When I damp the open E string on that
second short base note, notice that
I not only damp it, but
I damp it with the back of my thumb.
In order to get ready for the next ba,
base note,
which is the open A string.
And that's a way of using damping and
articulation to kinda kill two birds with
one stone.
You're not only shortening the open E
string bass note, but
you're also planting and getting ready for
the next bass note.
So that's something to, to really notice
in here and to have fun practicing that.
Thank you very much.