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Classical Guitar Lessons: Carcassi: Etude No. 3

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In this lesson we're going to study and
work on Carcassi Study Number 3.
And if you've worked with this study
before this is a very well known etude and
a very important etude for the early
development of your playing.
The main focus is really a two-note melody
that is played
with the a finger an, of the right hand.
And one of the musical challenges in this
is to balance that melody
against the arpeggiated texture of the
And also to phrase that two-note melody,
as it is an appoggiatura, which we'll
cover in other phrasing videos.
But, just briefly here, an appoggiatura is
a sign effect
in which the first note is played heavier
than the second note.
And the reason that is, for example, in
this piece,
right in the first measure we hear.
We have a piece in A major, and
in the first chord, being A major, the
melody, the first melody note is F-sharp,
which does not belong to the triad so it
is a dissonant note.
And then it comes to rest on a note that
is in A major triad, an E.
So the melodic or musical affectation is
to play the first note stronger and the
second note less strong.
You can practice the melody playing the
melody with the a finger of the right hand
with rest stroke, if you like, as an
alternative way to practice your rest
strokes in combination with your with your
arpeggiated right hand like this.
But really for
the purposes of the etude,
it's, it's really meant for
the student to master the free stroke,
the shaping of the free stroke melody.
Also some points we're gonna go over are
getting some smooth shifts in the left
hand on some of those tough chord changes
that I usually hear about from students.
Such as this one.
And so before I play the whole
piece through, we're gonna cover that.
The rhythm in bar 16, which are just a
pair of straight eighth notes.
Then we're also gonna cover a little bit
of phrasing.
And once again, as we've, we'll have
covered it in some of the pieces in
the beginner level or, or the earlier
levels of development in this piece,
you want to also, try to keep your left
hand fingers the tips of your fingers,
close to the string, and close to the
So here we go.
Again, the challenge is to play that A
melody with the first
note stronger than the second.
And that's a challenge because over the
course of the first four measures,
which make up the first phrase, and it's
also suggested and
recommended that you crescendo something
like this.
And that's not
the easiest thing to do of course
when you're in a, in a sense,
decrescendoing on the two-note melody.
But with a little bit of practice I think
you can,
I think you'll be able to achieve that.
Also, you notice that I'm pushing the
two-note melody out, and
as far as the balance of it, it's
generally slightly louder than the i and
m strokes with, which make up the the
Those i and m strokes you want to keep
pretty light.
You can bring out the bass if you like.
That's sounds really good actually, it's
something of a two-note dialog with the
And we'll also cover, let's, we can go to
some of the harder shifts in the piece.
One of the points I really want to make
about this,
is that this is a great opportunity.
We think of this as a right hand etude but
like a lot of right hand etudes by
Giuliani and Carcassi, they're also a
really good opportunity to work,
not only on your left hand shifts, but
also to work on this concept of
walking the left hand fingers to the each
of their notes.
Rather than moving in, block chords.
So, for example, we'll see here in the I,
I'll use the second half of the piece as
an example, the the second repeat.
So in the, in the next measure of this
phrase, I, I see a lot of students will
try to grab this whole chord,
all four notes of that chord, all at the
same time.
But if you really study the movement
going to this next chord here,
initially you only need the A on the third
string and C-sharp on the second string.
You don't actually need the fourth finger
on G-sharp of the first string,
until two notes well actually until three
notes later.
And as we go through that phrase,
this holds true for the rest of the bar.
In fact, on this chord right here,
the fourth measure of that phrase, you'll
notice that I don't put my,
I don't have all four of those notes down
in that chord.
In fact, I build them one by one.
I only put down my left hand fingers when
they're needed.
It's much easier to, to play that way.
It's a little harder at first to practice
it because the moves are in sequence.
But it's much easier, physically, for the
left hand to move the fingers in sequence,
than to try to move four fingers
simultaneously to one spot.
So this left hand movement you should
work on each measure initially when you're
learning the piece.
Then it'll be much easier to walk the
fingers as I like to call it.
I like to call it, I'm always saying to
be sure to walk your left hand fingers
onto that measure or into that chord.
Walk your left hand fingers into the chord
and if you practice that with each of
the the shifts they don't really feel so
much like shifts anymore.
However, this tricky shift here.
I'll, I'll play the second half of the
piece just a segment of it.
I'll also with that with this repetition
I'll demonstrate the phrasing.
There should be a very long slow crescendo
from the second half of the piece
leading all the way to the C-sharp major
Which is essentially kind of the peak of
the piece dynamically.
Again, watching for left-hand fingers
close to the strings,
the walking of the left hand into each of
the measures, and
also the phrasing is gradual crescendo.
So you could hear this gradual crescendo
this shift here that often is, is a little
bit difficult to get.
There's a way I'm gonna demonstrate this
in many pieces throughout the curriculum
particularly of course in,
in some of the more advanced pieces but
this is a good one because this is
actually a pretty tough chord shift to
I call them breakdowns, and you'll hear me
say, break down break down that passage
in, in many instances over many videos.
A, a breakdown, or, or playing one note at
a time across a shift.
Is a way of, of condensing, or actually
just sort of doing a close up on a shift,
or on a problem, and actually stopping
yourself in, er, from, from continuing so
that you can actually concentrate on the
ease of the movement and
the ease of the shift.
Rather than having the pressure of the
continuing to play the rest of the notes
or, the, the pressure of having to
memorize or
any of those other things that we're
always, concerned with.
So between these two chords, this, B from
here, with the D and the bass.
Initially just shifting to the C-sharp
bass alone and
not continuing any further will actually
give you plenty of information about how
easy this shift can actually be.
What makes the shift seem hard is the idea
shifting into an entire six string bar for
the C-sharp major cord.
But if you're walking, again if you're
walking your left hand fingers into
the chord, you'll see that actually the
shift is only from one,
from the previous measure into the C-sharp
And you can build the rest of the chord
later on.
Like this.
I'll demonstrate in three repetitions by
adding one note at a time.
[SOUND] Now, add just one more note to
And now, I'll just add the other two notes
to the chord because by that point,
the rest of your bar should be down.
And that brings us to the rhythm in bar
This is a rhythm that I hear distorted a
It's a tricky rhythm because the, the
listener or the,
the musicians, the practicing musician has
been hearing eighth note triplets for
the entire piece until this one bar when
it hears just straight eighth notes.
We have to remind ourselves that the su,
the general subdivision of the piece is
eighth note triplets.
So in this rhythm in bar 16 it should be
counted and felt like this.
One and a two and a three and four and.
So it you're keeping your quarter note
pulse really steady.
One and a two and a three and four and
Then, speaking that rhythm like that will
actually help you to internalize it
a little bit better.
And so that measure sounds like this once
Like that.
So, here we go.
Once again just to recap, the balancing
the melody,
the two note melodic motive, with the A
finger, first note stronger,
second note a little bit weaker to get
across the appoggiatura.
Playing this A tune mainly with free
stroke but
it's okay to also practice your rest
stroke with it just on the melody only.
Practicing your shifting of the left hand
but mainly not thinking of it so
much as shifting but walking the left hand
Eh, the rhythm in bar 16.
And phrasing, the the gradual crescendos
decrescendos that we can create to really
bring out the music.
Okay, here we go.
So there's Carcassi etude number three.
It's a really, very important etude for
all the aforementioned points.
And so good luck.
Happy practicing.
And I'll see you soon with another video.