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Carcassi Study Opus 60 No.3

Classical Guitar Study Notes

"Carcassi Study - Charm and sophistication guaranteed!..."

This study (Opus 60, No.3) is a little bit deceptive. Although it sounds very easy, there are many technical requirements to make it "flow" and sound smooth and legato. Arpeggios form the basis throughout the entire piece. You really need to have the stamina in your right hand to shape it musically. You often use the right hand fingering pattern of:

"p i m a i m a i m p i m"

 ...although there are other variations of "p i m a" throughout the piece.

There is a melody on beats 2 and 3 in each bar that needs to be brought out by using more emphasis with the "a" finger. This can be achieved by either using a rest stroke with the "a" finger on these beats, or using more force with a free stroke. As you'll notice in the video, I use a free stroke because it seems less clumsy or "clunky" and helps with the flow and legato sound I'm trying to achieve in this study.

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Back to Carcassi Study...

At the same time,  you need to play the bass notes slightly stronger both to last the three beats (dotted minims) and also to set up the tension or dialogue between the bass and the melody. Many people often overlook the intimate interplay between bass and melody and how much more musically a piece can be played if you are cognizant of this fact.

Another point of interest in this Carcassi study is its structure. It is in what is termed a binary form. This just means that the piece can be divided into two sections. Often, as in this Carcassi study, when the piece is in binary form the two sections will be repeated. Composers continued the practice, even though the music they wrote wasn't specifically for dance. Seems it was a hard habit to break when it worked so well.

On the topic of structure, this piece, although simple, gains more sophistication by the use of techniques popular at the time such as modulation of key or tonal centers. In fact, this piece has a tonal center or key of A Major but modulates to E major by bar eight. You can tell by the additional sharp on the "D" note and the fact the bar finishes on the bass note of "E". In the second section,  the study actually modulates to C# Major before returning to A Major in bar 17 and a restating and variation of the initial theme.

Overall, this piece exudes much charm, grace and even some musical sophistication and is very gratifying to play and enjoy.

Here is a video of the piece at performance speed...

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Enjoy!

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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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