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Carcassi Andantino Grazioso

The Carcassi Andantino grazioso is a wonderful little piece in C major that helps you to master such technical requirements on the classical guitar such as the use of 16th notes; the Alberti bass; making melody in the treble really stand out; the use of all the right hand fingerings in a not too difficult setting - with Grace! :))

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In fact, I'm not really joking when I say that because the piece is actually marked..."Grazioso." Grazioso, of course, means to play "with grace". In Carcassi's time,  (Born 1792, Died 1853) the "Classical era" was known for its "sense of proportion and balance". Moreover, there was a very real emphasis on beauty and elegance with the melodies tending to be shorter than baroque melodies but phrased and shaped more succinctly. There was often an Alberti bass accompaniment. You can definitely see it in this Carcassi Andantino...

The Alberti bass is basically a repeated arpeggio. It was used by Domenico Alberti who lived a very short life from 1710 to 1740. He is not one of the well-remembered or popular composers but was a singer, harpsichordist and composer who hailed from Venice in Italy.

Specifically, the Alberti bass is an arpeggiated chord accompaniment that has a repeating pattern of notes of: lowest; highest; middle; highest, usually in the left hand of the piano but is used in other instruments, including the classical guitar.

Another way of describing the Alberti bass is "Homophonic". This simply means a melodic line supported by a slightly more rhythmic pattern of broken chords. To say Alberti overused this repeating pattern in his compositions was an understatement. In fact, he didn't even invent this particular style of harmonization, but it became associated with his name because he used it almost exclusively.

It was quite popular with the early classical guitarists and composers of the 19th century. For example, Giuliani and Sor often used the Alberti bass as a rhythmic device in their studies, Opus 35, No. 13 is one that springs readily to mind. Of course, the Alberti Bass is closely related to the arpeggio which is also known as a broken chord and is not that difficult if you follow a proven method of procedure that has stood the test of time.

A common way to perform the Alberti Bass is to begin with the thumb. Then use the fingers in succession from index to ring finger. A guitar arpeggio can have many different finger combinations. You can see in this Carcassi Andantino the way he "wove" the melody cleverly around the Alberti bass method. The use of the 16th note patterns helps to keep the "balance" of the Alberti bass going, and the melody, which should be played louder, is occurring in a 8th note fashion "inside" the 16th notes.

When played properly though, the melody bursts forth from the Carcassi Andantino and you at once understand the skill of this great classical guitar composer. It seems like such a simple piece and indeed it is. That just highlights again Carcassi's skill in crafting such a tune as it stays "true" to one of the classical era tenets, namely: simplicity.

Here's a youtube video of the piece...

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Additionally, the right hand fingers are incorporated cleverly in the Carcassi Andantino so that you get sufficient practice for total fine motor control. Oh, all right, I wrote the fingering in my arrangement, but it is just obvious that you can use all the fingers of the right hand in an inclusive way. Carcassi just knew what he was doing on the classical guitar. Indeed, they say that to write well for the classical guitar you should also play it well.

If you add the "grazioso" to all I've written above you truly get to express what was intended in this Carassi Andantino - true pleasure,  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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