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Carcassi Allegretto

Free Guitar Lesson Study Notes

Carcassi Allegretto - Classical guitar GEM!

Carcassi allegretto is a wonderful piece to practice both playing of thirds (mainly) and your trill technique, which consists of both upper and lower ligados. You may know these terms as "hammer-on's" and "pull-offs". Carcassi began to play the guitar at a very early age in his homeland of Italy. He was also receiving tuition on the piano, and it is apparent his musical education was very comprehensive and well rounded.

By the age of twenty-three, after finding some initial fame in Germany, he went to Paris. It was here his reputation was established for all time when he both taught guitar and piano and gave many fine concerts. Some years later he added to his already imposing reputation by playing and teaching in London. Thus, gained further kudos as a traveling virtuoso. He was much in demand in the salons and homes of the well-to-do classes of Europe at this time.

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Back to Carcassi Allegretto...

Apart from the trill, you get to practice using the 3rd and 4th fingers of the left hand (if you're a right-handed guitar player), and it's a clever and sonorous way that Carcassi has accommodated the strengthening of these fingers.

Many players avoid using their 3rd and especially their 4th finger of their left hand to trill on guitar. The spacing in terms of time and by use of triplets in this piece to allow for the gradual strengthening of these fingers. Yes, there are many trills throughout this piece, but almost every 2nd bar lets you rest from the trill.

If you practice very slowly and build up speed gradually, you'll find that your 3rd and 4th fingers become stronger and stronger over time. Eventually, you'll find this piece is reasonably fast (being an allegretto) and in 3/8 time, but as I said if you gradually work up your speed you shouldn't have a problem.

Use your metronome if you have one to gradually increase your practice speed...

Another point of interest is the use of the right hand fingers to play this allegretto. Mostly, the 1st and 2nd strings are played with the "i" and "m" fingers with the thumb (P) playing the bass. Sometimes you use the "i" and "a" fingers and "drop" the "m" finger out. Namely, this occurs in bars 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 in the 1st section and bars 39 and 40 in the 2nd section. This is because you are playing the 1st and 3rd strings instead of the 1st and 2nd strings where 3rds are being played.

The correct execution of this is achieved via slow and repeated practice of these particular bars. You must practice these separately to build up a good "finger memory" for this particular technique. I hope these study notes for the Carcassi allegretto have been of use.

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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