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Classical Guitar Lessons: Villa-Lobos: Prelude No. 1

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Villa-Lobos Prelude #1.
This is, this piece and the preludes
themselves are,
are some of the most important works in
the guitar repertoire.
I don't normally perform them, but I
thought I would work up a version for
you of, especially of this one, Prelude 1.
Just to give you an idea of just the lay
out and what to watch for.
And I've taught this piece for many years
to many students.
[COUGH] so, the
the form of the piece is not unlike
a piece by Isaac Albeniz.
A-B-A form, with the A section, the outer
A sections contrasting with the B section.
In this case, an A section that's more
brooding and melancholy, and
features a very long, dark cello-like
melody that's played on,
mostly on the fifth and fourth strings of
the guitar.
With your thumb, with your thumb stroke.
So, it's important to have a good a good
warm beautiful tone throughout.
The middle section brightens up
immediately, it's a little bit quicker.
The marking is Piu Mosso.
And the, the tonality brightens from E
minor to E major.
And so we'll get to that section a little
bit later.
The main thing in the first section, the A
is to play with a warm tone in thumb.
[COUGH] if you have a thumb like, like
most players have where you basically,
from up the tip joint, and that tip joint
does not bend backwards like mine.
Then you will prob, you will probably
notice that in order
to play the bass open E simultaneously,
sweeping two strings at the same time.
That you may it may be facilitated by
rolling the hand like this,
rotating it forward a little bit and that
rotation actually happens at your elbow.
Like this.
Other than the rare instances where or
the few instances I should say, where the,
the open E string is played swept with the
thumb stroke,
right through to the, to the fifth string.
The rest of the thumb strokes that, that
play this cello-like melody
can be played with a normal free stroke
But you just want to watch for your tone
If however another way to play this
[COUGH] if you have a thumb like mine
where this tip segment, or this tip joint,
bends backward pretty you know, a pretty
healthy way.
[LAUGH] You can use that to your advantage
here, actually.
It provides a very nice rest stroke.
which I use on the, on the,
the second melody note.
And then even just for
some of my free strokes I'll, I'll use
that, this angle a little bit.
I, I don't think it's such a bad thing to
use that as long as you're aware that
you're using the, the tip joint bent
Okay, so that's really basically the
thing, and
this melody is presented three times in
terms of interpretation.
The first time
it peaks at the note D.
The second time
it peaks on one note higher at E, and
then as you've probably seen in your
score the third time,
it peaks at F-sharp.
So, if you can pace yourself with your
dynamics and make your, arc these phrases.
Maybe the first time through when the
melody peaks at D you can make it just
a little bit just a little bit of a
crescendo to it.
The second time a little bit more.
And the third time the most.
So to increase there by increasing the
intensity each time of the melody.
At that point the rest of the piece is
really just a cool down which you'll,
which you'll hear in, in the other video
where I perform it.
then the challenge in the middle section,
which is a very difficult section,
is to there's a couple options that I get
asked about.
Should one sweep, so
should one drag their thumb
through the,
through the first through the sixth,
fifth, and fourth strings.
I recommend that whether your thumb has
this bending backward joint here or not.
I recommend that you keep the tip joint
firm and
that you think of playing those thumb
strokes individually like this.
Three individual strokes.
Not dragging the thumb through.
Dragging the thumb through makes it really
difficult to time it, and
you can also, there's also, depending on
your hand shape,
it can maybe take your hand out of
Whereas if you, it's harder to do at
first, but
if you really develop this,
this quick, three quick thumb strokes.
I think you'll be able to keep your hand
in, in position for the i-m-a strokes that
come right after, and
over time it'll become easier to play.
I also strongly recommend in this middle
section, the Piu Mosso,
that you practice slowly, many different
tempos slowly.
Even as slow as this.
And then maybe
another tempo like this.
Then maybe a third tempo a little bit
faster, maybe ten, ten bpm's quicker on
metronome, something like this.
And then maybe
a final tempo.
So with that I mean, pick,
have six or seven different tempos.
Go as slow as you like.
I mean, that's a section that really does
require slow practice because of
the first third and fifth measures and so
and so forth of that middle section.
So, good luck and I look forward to
hearing your videos.