Andante by Fernando Sor

Free Classical Guitar Lesson

This Andante by Fernando Sor (Opus 35 No.4) is excellent practice for playing legato scale passages. It is also good for practice of sustained notes in an arpeggio. Fernando Sor was in no small way responsible for the resurgence of the guitar in the 18th century, helping it to eclipse the harp as the preeminent salon instrument of the day.

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Born in Barcelona in 1778, Fernando Sor was by definition a classical composer, though he was heavily "coloured" by Romanticism. He was a talented composer who wrote operas, ballets, symphonies, string quartets, songs for voice and guitar accompaniment and more. The difficulty, though not great, in this piece is to manage to play the scale sections very legato (smooth and connected) whilst at the same time holding some notes in the arpeggio chords. 

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An example of this is in bars 1 and 2 where you see the ties between the bass "G" and "B" notes. The melody all the while is moving on with some momentum and drive (see video below) even though it's at "walking pace".

Other points to consider with this piece, which consolidate prior lessons, include the "extension" of the left hand as in the Greensleeves piece. Namely, the 5th and 13th bars where you have to hold down the "C" note on the second string for two beats (Half Note/Minum) whilst playing the "F#" note on the 4th string.

Another area of difficulty is bar 15 where it is prudent to use fingers 3 and 4 of the left hand on the "F#" on the 4th string and the "D" on the 5th string. Also be careful in bar 32 where you "glide" up to the 3rd position (3rd Fret) so that you may play the "D" on the 5th string with your 3rd finger, the "F#" on the 4th string with your 2nd finger and the "D" on the 2nd string with your 1st finger (D chord). A re-iteration of the Kuffner, namely:


* Maintaining a flexible and relaxed right hand wrist. Too much tension can spoil your sound in this piece so that it seems somewhat suppressed;


* Control of sound quality and volume. You should use the practice exercise above by changing the dynamics from soft to loud and vice-versa;


* Evenness in finger articulation. This will lead to evenness, continuity and purity of your sound;


* Stability of position. You must learn to play your music in a secure and stable fashion;


* Development of shifting technique. The correct movement or shift can be achieved when your body is relaxed and free from tension, and when you master the release of pressure between the left hand fingers and the left hand thumb on the back of the neck. You still stay in touch with the neck, but you gently release the pressure and use the thumb to guide you down or up the neck length;


* Proper finger placement. The proper finger placement of both hands is vitally important to achieve the desired quality of sound that you want to achieve.

I hope these Andante study notes have been helpful. Also, here is a video of the piece...

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