Etude by Tarrega

When playing this Etude by Tarrega you need to be mindful of a number of technical requirements if you want to produce your best performance and "bring out" the melody. Indeed, there are quite a few "tricky movements" technically that help to make the melody stand out above the arpeggio chords.

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Tarrega often has these little technical difficulties for you to overcome so that you become a better player. Indeed, he was an..."Influential Spanish composer and guitarist often considered the "father" of modern guitar."

Composer: Etude by Tarrega...

First and foremost you need to be aware that although the timing of the piece is in common time, or 4/4 time, there are triplets played on almost every beat throughout the piece. The melody falls on the first beat of those triplets starting on the first bass note of each bar then continuing each successive first note, although the melody has now swung to the treble in beats 2, 3 and 4.

For example, the melody to bring out in the first bar is the bass C note on the 6th string followed by the open E note on the first string, the G note on the 3rd fret, first string and then the open E string again. The melody follows this pattern of bass note followed by three treble notes basically throughout and is easily recognizable when you watch the video.

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These triplets give the right hand fingers good practice in playing arpeggio style chords. In most bars,  the right hand fingering is: p.i.m. - a.m.i. - a.m.i. - a.m.i. In bars 6, 10 and 14 you need to form half barre's, and in bar 13 you need to hold down a full barre on fret 1

Actually, the little "tricky" movements for the left hand are in the half barre's in bars 10 and 14. You make a quick shift to a half barre to play the C and F notes and then move straight out of the half barre position. Again, look at the video but you have to be accurate and quick because these notes form part of the melody. This is probably the hardest movement in the etude by Tarrega overall.

In bars 3 and 15, you need quickly to shift your first finger from playing a C note on the 2nd string, first, fret (bars 2 and 14 respectively) to play the G note on the 3rd fret, 6th string. Although you do this rather quickly, you have to perform it smoothly to keep the flow of the melody, and indeed the whole piece. It is quite a "jump", but if slowly practiced you'll manage it quite easily.

The tempo or speed of the etude by Tarrega is best managed around 100-104 M.M. At this speed it sounds quite good but is not too fast to be unmanageable for the intermediate player. You'll also notice in the video how the little finger of the left hand (if you're playing right handed) has to slide from the F sharp to the G note in bars 7 and 11 when the whole hand is forming a B7 chord. This is to keep the continuity of the melody and again, is a little tricky until to get the hang of it.


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