Beginner Guitar 5

Surprise Theme by Haydn

Beginner Guitar 5 - The Surprise Theme by Haydn was one (some used to say) he used to play a trick on an unsuspecting public. If they dared to "nod off" during the performance they were sure to get an awakening shock!

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It's a great story but not actually true. As you can see on wikipedia...

"Haydn's music contains many jokes, and the "Surprise" Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of an otherwise piano opening theme in the variation-form second movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing had happened, and the ensuing variations do not repeat the joke.

In Haydn's old age, George August Griesinger, his biographer, asked whether he wrote this "surprise" to awaken the audience. Haydn replied:

No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new, and in making a brilliant debut, so that my student Pleyel, who was at that time engaged by an orchestra in London (in 1792) and whose concerts had opened a week before mine, should not outdo me. The firstAllegro of my symphony had already met with countless Bravos, but the enthusiasm reached its highest peak at the Andante with the Drum Stroke. Encore! Encore! sounded in every throat, and Pleyel himself complimented me on my idea..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._94_(Haydn)

Although the same effect is not possible on guitar compared to a full symphony orchestra. It does, however, let us practice our dynamics (loud to soft) in a fun way.

You'll also notice that, in the second section of Beginner Guitar 5, (namely: bars 9 - 14) we change from rest stroke (Apoyando) to free stroke (Tirando) for the first time in this series. You'll remember from the first lesson that free stroke, as opposed to "rest stroke", is a quicker lighter stroke on many occasions and for this section in the music it is indeed perfect.

The reason we play free stroke here is because of the grouped quaver notes. The count of the beats you play is, therefore...

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & (mostly)

...striking a note on each of the counts AND the &'s. You need to play them in a relaxed, clear but effective and smooth way similar to the previous 8 bars.

I say "similar to the first 8 bars" because if you look above the notes in those bars you notice a curved line scanning several bars at a time. This is not a "tie". A tie means the notes are connected across a bar of music. This adds to the note length. This line is a "slur" (not a normal guitar slur) or an indication to play the notes under the line "legato" or smooth and connected.

It's a bit easier than the final bars where you're playing faster but once established in the piece, you should endeavor to play the whole thing legato, even if you're playing faster due to the note groupings.

The last point of note in this piece is to play the chord in bar 8 both loud and slightly staccato. Staccato is the opposite of legato and means "short and detached". If you add the loud dynamic at this point, it gives you a great, and humorous distinction between the rest of the music. The way to achieve this effect (detached) is to put the right hand fingers that just played the notes straight back on the strings. You don't want any extra or ongoing string noise to achieve maximum effect.


Go here to view the Beginner Guitar 5 - Surprise Theme by Haydn for classical guitar guitar on YouTube...

End of Beginner Guitar 5

That's it for Beginner Guitar 5.

The previous lesson was...

Lesson #4 - Row the Boat Ashore...

The next lesson is..

Lesson #6 - The Drunken Sailor...

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