Kuffner Etude

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This Kuffner Etude is great for practicing slurs, a.k.a. hammer-ons and pull-offs. On the trill technique page, you can see how to do this more effectively. You also get to use the little finger of the left hand occasionally throughout the piece. In the past, many students I've had try to avoid using the little finger because it is obviously a "weaker" finger, but I maintain the more you use it the stronger it will become. Indeed, Joseph Kuffner wrote many of these little study pieces purposely to strengthen the fingers and secure guitar technique.

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Also, this particular etude is in A major, so you have to be careful to place your fingers on the right notes because of the three sharps, namely: F, C and G. For instance, the very first note in the very first bar you play a C sharp, but with your first finger of the left hand. It means you are starting off in the "second position" on the guitar neck/frets and need to move your hand accordingly.

You also use a variety of the right hand fingerings. I've taken some license with this arrangement to give you a mixture of the right hand finger practice, especially with the two-note combinations. For example, in bar 4 you use a combination of "i" and m, m, i and m, m" as opposed to bar 7 where the notes are the same, but the right hand pattern is "i and m, a, i and m, a.

You can see what I mean when the camera changes to the right hand perspective in the repeat sections when you watch the video below...

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The bass notes are played with the right hand thumb of course. Although most of those notes are of crotchet, or quarter note length, I often tend to let this ring on to the end of the bar. This is because it often sounds "stilted" if you're always stopping the bass notes and doesn't always seem to flow. Try it and see for yourself, you might like it with the shorter length bass notes, it's a matter of personal taste/choice I think.

When playing the 13 slurs in the Kuffner etude, including the hammer-ons and pull-offs, make sure you play them in a "snappy" way. By this,  I mean give the hammer a bit of space and weight to make it crisp. When playing the pull-offs you sort of "drag" the string downwards to get a nice crisp sound. Of course,  you must be careful how you "weight" it so that you don't get any wayward string noise.

After some practice,  you get a real feel for it, and it becomes second nature. One good idea is to practice the slurs separately and slowly as a warm up before you play the whole piece.

I hope these study notes help you. If you want to develop your technique more use these guitar lessons,


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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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