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Classical Guitar Lessons: Giuliani: "Grande Overture"

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The Grand Overture,
Opus 61 by Mauro Giuliani.
This is one of the real tour de forces of
the standard repertoire.
And for me, I learned this piece when I
was quite young, maybe 14 or 15 years old.
And it was quite a bit ahead of me at, at
the time as well.
Because I hadn't really fully developed a
mastery of, of arpeggios at that time.
So, this piece, I remember back then was
really just a,
just a huge mountain to climb.
But of course I learned a lot from it in
the process.
And it's also the piece where I learned
about sonata form,
because it's essentially in the
traditional classical sonata form
with an introduction and a coda at the
So I'll try to walk you through the forms
so we can cover form and
structure a little bit through this piece.
As, as we are talking about some of the,
some of the tough spots to watch out for.
It begins with an introduction.
Do you really wanna
keep good, steady rhythm.
It's a couple
formatas here in
those phrases.
Nice, crisp dotted rhythms.
on and so
And you'll want to, again you'll want to
find a tempo that once the eighth notes in
the bass, which is, which you can think of
as like a timpani in,
in something like almost like a Beethoven
or, overture or Rossini overture.
Once those
timpani notes start, you'll want to make
sure that in your study that that tempo is
the same as the opening,
which is much more spacious.
Or else it, it just sounds a little bit
So there is a tempo that,
where the whole introduction works
together under one pulse.
Then of course we have, you know,
the end of that.
And now starts this sonata form.
This theme would be your
first theme, theme 1.
And sonata form works in three major
You have a div, excuse me.
You have a exposition section and
the exposition is where two themes are
presented usually.
They, they are often contrasting in nature
but they don't necessarily have to be.
So what I just played there would have
been the first theme.
Then there's some transition material
And that leads us into the second
theme which is presented in the dominant
So the piece is in A-major.
So we have.
This first theme section here.
And then we have a transition that, that
modulates to
the the E-major to the dominate key and
When we arrive at that, that's the first
note of second which sound, sounds like
And that's basically, it's very Rossini
very Italian opera-like kind of melody.
Giuliani's music is,
especially the concert music is highly is
heavily influenced by Rossini.
And then you have a lot of transition
material, which has, which contains all
the, these fast arpeggiated patterns.
When all that is done,
that's basically the end of
the exposition.
And then that takes us into
the second major section in a sonata form,
which is called the development.
Now, normally,
in a development section,
there's two things that happen.
And usually the two themes that we heard
in the beginning of the piece in
the exposition are developed just like
the section just like the name of the
section implies.
Those two themes are developed, they can
they can be fragmented they often go a,
into more remote key areas so
as to heighten the dramatic tension of the
It is the development section where the
where a sonata form piece comes to its
peak or its climax.
Just like the rising action of a novel
that we, we learned in school.
The rising action of a novel hits its
climax and then the falling action.
And at that moment the falling action is
in the sonata form.
Is the recapitulation which is the third
section of, of sonata form.
And recapitulation is just like the, the
name implies.
It's a recap basically of the two themes.
You come back to the first theme.
And back to all this,
all this business here.
Just like doing anything.
But the composer has to finish the piece
in it's tonic key, of course.
He has to finish the, you know,
where it starts, so he can't present the,
he can't recap the second
theme in the dominant key because that
wouldn't end the piece in the tonic.
So there's another, there's a, there's a,
a slight change to allow that second theme
to be heard.
It would be up here then.
Right here.
So on and
so forth.
So there's your second theme recapped in
the recapitulation
in the tonic of A major.
Then there's a coda.
So the coda is really kind of just
just a way to close the piece with a big,
a big finish.
And then of course it has some fireworks
at the end.
And then that's it, it's very important,
the reason I take you through this,
this form and structure is because every
symphony written by Haydn,
Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and, and many
pieces written to this day.
After them and to this day are written the
especially the first movement are written
in sonata form.
That's the form.
That's the vehicle of expression of
western classical music
from the classical era all the way through
the 19th century.
So it's important to know the form.
In fact, when you're listening to your
other recommended listening,
which we have a lesson for you on
listening to
other classical music especially
non-guitar music.
You can listen for that in your Beethoven
You can listen for the introduction.
For example, the first Beethoven symphony
has an introduction, and
then you can listen for your first and
second themes of your exposition,
then your developing section, your recap,
and so on and so forth.
And that way, you're a much more informed
listener when you're
when you're listening to classical music.
So in the next section, that's sort of an
overview of the form.
In the next section, the lesson of grand
we'll cover some of the nasty bits to
watch out for
in the in the sort of the technical guitar
playing side of things.
Thank you.
In this section of the Grand Overture
lesson Grand Overture opus 61 by
Mario Giuliani, we're gonna just cover,
we're gonna go over some of the, the,
the, the things that students typically
ask about.
Difficult passages and such, and that you,
that you might have questions about.
When, when, when studying this piece and
practicing it.
It really is quite an undertaking,
as there are just many things to, to
master in it.
The first section, the first thing is the,
the run in, in the beginning.
And the fingering, there's a fingering
that I recommend,
which I'm gonna play very, very slowly.
And that you can see in my right hand,
right and left hands.
I'll do it once for here.
I'll do it twice through, pretty slowly.
And note, I want, and I'll do it again,
and this time I'm gonna talk you through
the right hand, some of my right hand
tricks for that.
If we start here
when I play the, after the,
after the when I play the second B in the
the one that's after the B that has the
ornament on it.
This B right here.
[SOUND] On that B, I like to lightly plant
my thumb on the third string.
It gives me a lot of stability for the
rest of the run.
I don't know that this will help you for
sure, but it might.
It also might prevent you from hitting
other lower strings during the rest
of the run.
It also has this nice effect of making
the, the, the, the texture very,
very clean without without a lot of extra
ringing from other strings.
In fact, and as I'm playing this now,
I notice that I actually rock my thumb
back to knock out the extra resonance
from the other strings.
That's kind of a, an extra it's sort of a
extra kind of technique, or
extension of technique that I use often.
And then of course,
around these notes here, I let go of that
because I have a little, couple little
bass notes to play, of course.
So you'll wanna, if you,
if you try that and you like that, you'll
wanna let it go a few, about,
two or, well, three or four 16th notes
before you play the next bass note.
Going on [COUGH] from there.
Let's see, the next
really tricky part
would be
Well of course, those octave bits are
hard, but [SOUND] that's, you know,
that's something that if you've done
enough of your Giuliani studies and source
studies with, with octave scales those
studies that are entirely in octavea.
Those parts, by the time you get to this
piece shouldn't,
shouldn't be that shouldn't be too
The, the, the next spot is, is the the M I
P arpeggio sections.
Those are the sections that are, that are,
that are most often asked about.
Beginning with speed up for those.
And of course that M I P arpeggio shifts
immediately into a P I M arpeggio.
So, I mean, I think now it's, it,
you know, now it's much easier for me to
play the M I P.
For when I was younger, it was more
difficult to play M I P than P I M, and
then something happened when the reverse
Either way, it's always a good idea to
just do some slow practice on that so
that your shifts can be very, very light.
One of the key elements to making that
pretty easy, or
much easier feel lighter is keeping the
left hand light and not pressing too hard.
Be sure your thumb behind
the neck is really, really light.
[SOUND] There should be no pressure on the
neck from the thumb.
And, and, and likewise, the finger should
be pressing very lightly.
And then, going on from there,
the development section has some tricky
stuff, too.
[SOUND] I, I'm gonna share with you my
right hand fingering for this,
because I used to play kind of the
traditional fingering, which
Which was M,
M, M, M, A, M on all the melody notes.
Lately, I've been finding that just
playing them all with A is a little bit
more comfortable because I have a little
bit just more of a you know,
just room there.
And there's no shared tendons, you know,
it seems,
feels like the M is all sometimes almost a
little too close.
So if you're finding that you're
struggling with the speed in
the development, the beginning of the
development section where the C major
chord is, try the A on all the melody
notes [SOUND] like this.
I'll play it slowly.
on and so
Now for the left hand, this has some
pretty crazy
left hand moves that, that, that that are
asked there.
So the C major chord, the first chord of
development, is easy enough.
But it's the second chord,
and a couple others coming up later,
second chord is really tough.
I have a way it involves an extended
technique with the first finger and
the, sort of like a reverse a backwards
bar if you will that,
that you can do that makes it much easier,
and you can even get it to a point
where you're really not even disrupting
the rhythm so much.
And so that is, [SOUND] if you played two,
three and four, place them first.
And remember, always walk your fingers to
the notes [SOUND] when they're needed.
It's much harder to try to get all four of
the fingers to the same spot on,
on the downbeat.
So [SOUND] three, four first, then walk
your first finger to the A.
[SOUND] And walk your second finger, to
the, to the to the F on the fourth string.
And while you're playing, if you can lean
this segment of your,
of your first finger and just lean it back
enough to touch.
To, to,
to press the [SOUND] the F on the first
string without buzzing, then you get this.
Then the next chord, I keep my third
finger down for this one, and I do
I keep my third finger down on the C, and
then I place two and one.
[SOUND] Rather than the traditional
fingerings that you're used to seeing.
And then the rest is, as, as it usually
But that really makes for
a much smoother first long phrase there in
the development.
The second phase is, is a little bit more
For me,
this is very hard.
This is the hardest chord for me
cuz my fingers just don't do this.
I have this weird left hand that, this
sort of this
vulcan left hand where the second and
third fingers naturally spread apart.
So whenever I have any kind of, even just
a simple B major chord for me,
[SOUND] is really, very difficult.
So, this chord configuration,
playing B down on its seven [SOUND] here,
is, is really difficult.
So I have, so I actually do a little bit
of a time sort of thing, or
a Tenuto on the downbeat that sounds like
And then the, the key there for
me is getting that first finger over.
Then B dominant seventh chord.
And then the rest is there.
Then, of course,
we'll skip ahead because the recap has the
same kind of challenges as the exposition.
So we'll skip ahead to the coda now.
[SOUND] And going into that.
The, the sort of typical Giuliani run,
which is the climbing up of a,
of a big A major arpeggio.
It's probably, it's, it must be in a
hundred pieces of his.
try to just let gravity at the right
it's a timing thing, to, to hit it just
You do have an open E just before it.
So you have a little bit of time,
you have a split second.
I would do the breakdown on that just to
the shift of, of the A, like this.
And once again, a slightly faster tempo.
And then.
And then start adding other fingers.
Again, if you try to, it's much easier to
do if you walk the fingers into it.
Like that.
Let's see.
Anything else in that coda?
This is all my
personal wrinkle when
in the left hand fingering.
I think it's yeah, I,
I basically just crawl the left hand up
keep it on the same strings.
And same thing for this.
It's a little harder, but
in concert it looks really good.
It's a little bit of a flashy kind of
thing to do [SOUND] for
a very flashy piece.
So that's Grand Overture opus 61 by Mauro
In the next video in, in the next lesson
you'll get a performance.