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Classical Guitar Lessons: Albéniz: "Leyenda"

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[MUSIC]
In this lesson, we're going to cover
a lot of the, a lot of the common
questions
about playing and practicing Asturias,
also known as Leyende by Isaac Albeniz.
Originally a piano work.
And but maybe one, you could argue it's
the most famous guitar piece,
even though it's not a guitar piece at
all.
[MUSIC]
so, I'll just take you through
the different spots that that, sort of the
FAQs,
the frequently asked questions about,
about this piece.
Measured 24 to 25 the the shift that
happens from
from this series of phrases
[MUSIC]
to that, to the next section.
Where the tremble starts.
There's two sort of points that there
where you can really use some,
where you can break the passage down to
two spots.
The first,
[MUSIC]
is the part, is the spot where you
actually shift your left hand while still
playing the PIM arpeggio.
And again I, I what works for me in
getting that passage
is to really just stop on the shift like
this.
[MUSIC]
Like that.
Just so I can feel the shift and, and
actually have an opportunity to make it
really easy.
I, I almost like to imagine that gravity
is kind of pulling my arm
down into that shift.
Not that I'm pushing my hand into but
that gravity is sort of pulling me into
that shift.
[MUSIC].
Like this.
So that you can get it pretty smooth with
enough practice.
The next point the next spot is right
after that where
[MUSIC]
into here.
That one you pretty much just have to
grab.
So slow practice is recommended really for
that.
[MUSIC]
Like this.
[MUSIC]
Right.
[MUSIC]
You know my,
as I'm saying this I'm thinking of a, a
exercise my,
my teacher at Cleveland Institute of
Music, John Holmquist, would give me.
Is is, when you, when you have passages
like that, that you really just,
it feels like you're just throwing your
hand at it to get it there on time,
is then try to make a film in your mind.
It's a visualization exercise, actually.
He would say, just try to make a film in
your mind.
If you can see, [COUGH] if you could see
where all of your fingers are just
before the shift, and then see where all
the fingers are just after the shift.
And then make a, like a time lapsed
photography, kind of slow, super slow
motion film of your fingers actually going
from the one shift to another.
And I've used that a lot.
And this is one of those spots where it
would really help because really,
you're going, your second finger's at the
first string.
[MUSIC]
Your third comes down to grab this
C on the base.
[MUSIC]
In that amount of time you can actually
form your bar, and some of the shape of
that next chord is kind of already there,
if your fourth finger is pretty loose.
Really, it's just a matter of the three
and the four coming here, and then the,
the second finger coming down a little
bit.
You know, down toward the lower string to
form the, the B-major chord.
So I'll, I'll try to super slow-mo it
right now just like this.
[MUSIC]
So if you can kind of choreograph,
I also use that word a lot, choreograph
the move
in the left hand, it becomes a lot easier.
The next spot I wanna go over is the,
the spot where we have the C dominant
seven chord.
[MUSIC].
Well, I can't ever hit that spot with out
buzzing something,
because my fourth finger is really so much
shorter than, than my other fingers.
And I noticed later in college that
[COUGH] some other of my,
my hero guitarists like Manuel Barrueco,
we're not using that fingering and they
had come up with something else.
And they re-voiced the C dominant seventh
chord like this.
I'll just spell it out from bottom to top.
[MUSIC]
Low E,
G on the tenth fret of the fifth string.
C on the tenth fret of the fourth string.
[SOUND] G on the 12th fret of the third
string.
[SOUND] Played with your third finger.
[SOUND] B flat on the 11th fret of the
second string,
played with your second finger.
[SOUND] And high E on the 12th fret,
first first string played with the fourth
finger.
[MUSIC]
And
that makes that whole passage a lot
easier.
If you have a longer fourth finger or one
that's fairly close to the length of your,
of your [COUGH] third finger then this
passage may not even be a problem.
I've had several other students that, it,
it wasn't a problem, but I can't do it.
So I use the Manuel Barrueco [SOUND] fix
there.
[SOUND] So again, that goes something like
this.
[MUSIC].
At the end of the previous phrase I shift
with one into the new chord like this.
[MUSIC]
And there it is.
[MUSIC].
And there you have it.
We'll have another lesson on Asturias to
cover some of the spots in the B section.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC].
In this segment for Asturias by Issac
Albeniz, we're gonna go over just some
of the the musical details in the middle
section of the piece.
The slower more introspective section.
After all that activity in the first
section, which is a very slow build
of intensity with, with a kind of release
of that tension in the tremolo section.
That's a more simple thing to convey I,
in, in my opinion.
In the A sections you just really have to
start softly and then gradually crescendo
to the point of the tremolo where sorta
the, the dam breaks loose, if you will.
B section is more subtle.
It's more French in influence than and
with these, but
with of course the Andalucian Spanish the
vocal kind of inflections along with it.
But there's, there's quite a bit of a more
introspection and
a, a little bit of that, that,
that sorta the French impressionist kind
of thing a little bit thrown in there.
So the beginning really just starts out
with these spacious [SOUND] octaves.
[MUSIC]
And if you want to avoid the squeaking
[SOUND] that can happen on the fourth
string,
this is a really good opportunity to maybe
augment your,
your technique and maybe go off the, the
beaten path.
Or I should, or maybe another way to put
it is to maybe let go a little
bit of some of the traditional tenets of
left hand technique.
When I have something like that that's
slow enough or
sparse enough and, and, but I'm basically
shifting on a wound string.
I will rather than play on my pat on the
tip of my finger,
the calloused tip of my finger.
[MUSIC]
Which has a greater chance of producing
the squeak.
If it's again, if, if the texture is light
enough and
it's slow enough I'll just play on my pad.
[SOUND] So the fleshy part of my fingertip
of my, my third finger in this instance.
[MUSIC]
A little bit of lifting here and there and
that takes the squeak out.
So that's that's something you can look
into there.
Those are situations where you don't
necessarily need to have like
a textbook kinda technique in my opinion.
So then the next section, it's,
it's better to keep a, some kinda sense
even though you are applying robato.
A sense of good rhythm of this three beat
feel.
[MUSIC].
Almost like a slow waltz.
So if I play it, if I play it very
literally, it sounds like this.
One, two,
three,
[MUSIC].
So with a little bit of stretching rubato
you can make it sound a little bit more
gestural.
[MUSIC].
As long as you don't make it, it too,
it's, it's, distort the,
the beats too much.
As long as the rhythm itself is not
distorted.
The rhythm is still very important there.
Then
[MUSIC].
It's very important in this section to
then be very rhythmic.
It's almost kinda like a B section.
It's almost like an ABA form within the
middle section of this piece.
Where the middle section is comprised of
three, three parts.
The, the slow, and, and spacious options,
and then it kinda moves in to this more
rhythmic and slightly quicker section, and
then back to the octaves again.
You can almost think of it having an A B A
form of its own.
[MUSIC].
And that takes me to this next part which
is very difficult.
I'd [SOUND] there's a base line in here
that's really important.
It moves down step wise.
And in a lot of versions of this piece
you'll see that bass line being put
an octave lower.
[MUSIC].
And at that,
at which point
[MUSIC].
At which point they'll continue this, the
base line downward.
But then they have to displace the octave
in order to complete the line.
I, in my arrangement of it I like to
actually just transpose the whole thing up
an octave.
And that way the listener really gets the,
the contour of the original whine even
though it's an octave higher.
[MUSIC].
And so when I put that with the, with the
top line.
[MUSIC].
You get more of the original intention of,
of the direction of that line.
It's also good to try
to play again with a sense, a feel of the
rhythm one, two three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two.
Moving toward the second and fourth
measures of those phrases.
[MUSIC]
One
more time.
[MUSIC].
So those are two slightly different ways
of playing it.
Then the next line is really more gestural
and free.
[MUSIC]
Slight pause and
then back to the rhythmic.
[MUSIC].
We have a, a, something of [SOUND] with
this next phrase something that
really reminds us of the A section again
briefly.
[MUSIC]
Which acts as a segway back into
the recap of the, [SOUND] of our original
B section melody,
[SOUND] and that's the B section.
[MUSIC].