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Classical Guitar Lessons: Dowland: Fantasia

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Classical guitar school with Jason Vieaux.
Advanced Lessons.
Dowland Fantasia Analysis Part 1.
>> The fantasia in E major by John
John Dowland was probably the greatest
lutenist of his day in England and
he was a very important court musician and
a great composer.
First rate lutenist and first rate
Many very famous songs that he wrote Come
Heavy Sleep which
in 1964, Benjamin Briton would write a set
of variations on that song,
and the piece, that piece is called
nocturnal, which is one of the great
masterpieces from the latter half of the
20th century for guitar.
So, Come Heavy Sleep, If My Complaints
Should Passions Move.
Come again, Come Again probably being the
most famous.
Sting recently did in recent years did an
album entirely of songs by John Dallon.
So his music continues to inspire and
And the style, some of his more serious
works for
the lute for the Elizabethan lute
repertoire are really first rate examples
of counterpoint, imitative counterpoint.
Now, this is gonna be pre-baroque era
I mean, he's writing this piece probably
between 125 and
150 years before Bach died,
and, some, somewhere between,
I want to say, between 65 and 85 years
before Bach was born.
So there's not gonna be quite
the refinement that the fugue would later
on take.
In, in a composer, in the hands of a
composer like Bach,
a few would have a subject line.
And that subject would remain in through
the entire fugue and
would be developed and, and chopped up and
inverted and, and, and developed.
And taken to many key areas.
At this point, this is kind of like an
embryonic version of, of a fugue.
It's a very free form fantasy.
And so actually in every section of the
the, the material that's developed or put
into other voices is different every time.
It's just, it's very whimsical kind of
So, in
the first
So and then it follows in this alto voice.
And you wanna be aware of whenever
these subject, if you will allow me,
subject entrances come in.
But they change, because I was, as I was
saying, they change every time and
measure 11.
Is, is really basically the next section
after a cadence, and you have
so it's a different melody.
And that's imitated in the, in the,
the lower voice in the next entrance.
Like this.
Then, in measure 18, we have a new
section, new subject material.
Imitated in an octave
lower, just about.
Oh, I'm sorry, a fifth lower.
And sometimes he'll, sometimes they,
they'll start the, the melodic material
that was introduced in the higher voice
and not even really continue it into it's.
So if, if you study it, it's,
it's unlike a Bach fugue in that it's,
it's extremely whimsical, very free form.
There really are no rules here at this
The, the fugue as we know it becomes more
chordified I, I suppose is the, I don't
if the word, what the word is, but it
becomes more solid in, in the baroque era.
And so it's a very interesting work of art
and it's really beautiful.
And so really your the, the main thing is
to, that whenever there's
an entrance of some melodic subject
material, that you're very aware of it.
So going from first section measure one to
11, that next entrance is in measure four.
You just wanna be able to hear that and
work on that, so.
Like that without sacrificing the,
the melodic nature of the higher voice
which is still continuing on, on, on its
Going on to oh,
just the other subject entrances in that
first section measures one through 11.
Then, of course,
you've got
And so in that bass voice,
we hear
So, it's again, as I've said in other
lessons with counterpoint in the advanced
section, and, and any kind of counterpoint
examples in intermediate, and
some of the intermediate.
The progressive pieces, Opus 44 by
Fernando Sor.
Or the, that, the Carcossi etude with the
bass line,
with the with the moving bass melody.
And then I believe that's Carcossi
progressive etude number six or seven.
The one in C major.
Any of those examples there, it's the same
kind of thing.
It's, it's a very good idea to actually be
able to extract that voice, play it alone.
Playing on it's on.
Right, And
then put it back into the texture.
And try to really listen for that it
sounds quite as, you know,
as melodic as you did when you play it
Which is a hard thing to do especially in
this case, this is very dense music.
There's often four, four voices all moving
in at the same time.
But just to give you an overview of the
Measures 1 to 11 is really the first
You can, it's easy to tell when a section
ends because there's always a nice,
tidy cadence in E-major.
And you can relax the phrase dynamically
with a nice, little decrescendo and a
very, very subtle.
A little breath, and
then start the next section.
Starting at measure 11.
And then the end, here measure
17 is the end of that second section.
Again, a very obvious flourish for
the cadence there.
And now measure 18.
[SOUND] Is the beginning of the 3rd
section [SOUND] of, of,
new imitative counter point then measure
29 here and
measure 28 you get
very similar kinda cadence.
And then measure 29 is the new sequence.
Or I should say a new series of imitative
Then the next section here measure
is measure 39, beat three.
That cadence before there sounds like this
it's a very tough trill to do,
and that brings me to another point that a
lot of students ask about.
How are you doing the trill?
It's very hard to maintain a 30 second
note trill like that within the,
within the temple.
My personal fingering I've done a few
different ones that I've
recommended a few to tailor to the
individuals student but
my personal fingering is [SOUND] I don't
do this bar here [SOUND].
I mean you can try the four, three, four,
three trill, but
I find it's easier to do a cross string
trill with the right hand,
so one [SOUND], zero, [SOUND] four, two.
And then zero four, zero four, zero four
playing it with the right hand like this,
the left hand would be zero four,
zero four, zero four, two four with a
[SOUND] Like this, and then the right hand
My personal right hand fingering for this
is MPMPMIP slur.
MPMPMIP slur [SOUND] going on.
So that's always a question that gets
asked by any student that's,
that's learning this how do you do the,
the, the trill there's,
there's probably five, six different ways
to do it.
I, I really feel that a cross string trill
is good to develop there and
you don't even necessarily have to have
the A, I, M,
P cross string trill developed in order to
do it.
You could, if you do have a cross string
trill with A, I, M, P as your cell,
you can apply it to that and find a
fingering for that as well.
But ironically, even though I always use
AIMP trills,
in that instance I like, in this instance
I like to use just the very basic MPMP.
You can use an IPIP fingering for that as
I do the same thing, by the way, in
measure 68.
It's the, it's, it's the same trill.
Same trill same fingering.
Okay so that's the trill and then going on
the next section starts in measure 39 B3.
More imitative counter point but new
melodic material to imitate.
And then 46, we get a little bit of a
valley here [SOUND].
In my opinion.
I think a lot of that development of of a
subjects stops and
then we really just get a more basic kind
of thing here.
I think the tension kind of levels out for
a moment here in this section.
Until 59 which is the famous well
famous to classical guitarists
There, this really cool 16th passage over,
over some bass notes.
I play that free stroke and that's my
recommendation but
it can certainly be done rest stroke.
And I actually really try to maintain an
articulation throughout, even though it's
going to result.
Whether you start on I or you start on M,
you're gonna,
you're gonna run into some backward string
crossings and
then going for, through there, there is
the cadence in 68,
and then we go into the next section, 69
So on and so forth.
And then this crazy thing happens, and
again, just totally random.
In 75 we suddenly from two,
two meter into suddenly a six, eight
So, it, it does if you're using especially
that node version.
That's the real popular version for the
Node Renaissance Book.
I'm gonna read what he says there.
He, he, he says it's im, important to
establish clearly the change of tempo.
Possibly a slight hold here is appropriate
followed by a firm down beat to begin
the six eight time and I, I agree with
that I think that's, I could of even,
in the performance video which you'll,
you'll have here in the curriculum.
I could have even done a bigger hold here
and something more like.
If we're really going into the six,
eight it's really more of a matter of
personal taste but
I mean just talking about just the freedom
of a fantasy,
I mean this really pulls out all the
stops, so he goes into this six-eight.
[SOUND] So on and so forth and
that's how the piece ends.
It really, it's just sort of a, kind of
after that point of the establishment of
six, eight as the meter.
In measure 18, we get something of a of,
of, kind of a coda.
So again, wonderful piece totally free
very difficult, and
I look forward to your videos