Etude by Mertz

This Etude by Mertz contains many guitar lessons. Firstly, the multitude of sixteenth notes (semi-quavers) are good practice for alternation of the fingers and could be said, a good pre-cursor to the difficult technique of tremolo. The actual pattern in this instance is different from the often used tremolo technique of "p.a.m.i." as this piece uses: "p.i.m.a. m.i.m.i." The value lies in the alternation of the fingers, usually at a fairly brisk speed, that develops the fine motor skill necessary for a good tremolo technique.

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There are also a few slurs used within the piece at speed. You need to play them "crisply" to make them sound effective. They add both flair and "fire" to the piece overall. Another technique you'll notice that adds so-called "fire" is the bass melody, either descending or ascending which uses as a balance an open note such as the open "E" (upper) string. You can see in bar 4, and particularly bar 12, this is used very effectively in this Etude.

Composer: Etude by Mertz...

One "curiosity" you might notice as you play is the use of both a 16th note AND a half note (minim) in the same place i.e. situated adjacent to each other. This is not a printing mistake but is the way musical notation shows the note in question is both a bass note and is also part of the melody at the same time. In this particular Etude, you can see this technique employed usually on the first note of the bar.

There are a few difficult spots in this piece, especially as it is played at a brisk pace. For instance, in bar 6 you have to place your 2nd finger on the F sharp of the 6th string and your 3rd and 1st fingers on "A" and "C" notes respectively. It feels a bit "unexpected" so you'll need to practice it slowly, developing your "finger memory" and preparing your fingers. It's a bit of a tight squeeze!

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Additionally, bar 11 has a difficult chord passage that alternates with an open E note which then finishes on a relatively quick pause, which seems like an oxy-moron I know but helps with the expression of the chord passage. Straight after that you have one of those "bass melody" runs balanced with the "open" note before returning to the original melody in the upper strings employing the 16th note technique again.

When the 2nd section is repeated you play bar "2" (missing bar "1") and finish off with a harmonic on the open 6th string (played at the 12th fret). Although I've taken a little license with the Etude by Mertz I've tried to arrange it in keeping with the spirit and feeling of both time and Aguado himself. At the same time give you some extra little classical guitar lessons that may prove useful in the future.


Here are a few related resources in which you may be interested...

Guitar Works Volume 1 by Mertz

Guitar Works Volume 2 by Mertz

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