Waltz By Carcassi in A Major

Waltz - Described in 1825 as a..."riotous and indecent German dance..."

Waltz by Carcassi is typical of him when writing excellent beginning works for classical guitar. As I've said on another page... "When Carcassi was born in 1792, Carulli was already making a name for himself as a 22 year old, Sor was a rapidly improving 14 year old at the Monserrat monastery, and Giuliani was receiving tuition on the violin, flute and guitar as an 11 year old. Who was to know that in time that he would join these luminaries as one of the most famous names in classical guitar history.

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Back to the waltz at hand. First of all you can see that this waltz in 3/8 time. If you're not sure about reading notation, this just means that each bar of music must equal three eighth notes duration. With variations as you can see lower in the music, you might have six sixteenth notes (played twice as fast). Although I can't dedicate too much room here to understanding notation you might want to take a look at this page on music notation...

Another study point you'll want to take notice of is the use of the "a" finger at various points in the piece. Remember that the right hand (if you're a right handed guitarist) markings (Spanish) in classical guitar music are: P I M A. Which stand for - Pulgar which equals the thumb, Indice which equals the index finger, Medio which equals the middle finger and Annular which equals the ring finger. The first letter of each word is used to denote the particular finger in use.

A lot of beginners try to avoid the use of both the "a" finger of the right hand and the 4th or "pinky" finger of the left hand. I've purposely added both, and do so to counteract this very thinking. Don't forget - what you don't use...you lose! So its good practice to make these fingers part of your skill via everyday playing.

In the past,  a lot of my students have also tried to avoid developing their right hand thumb movements. If you take the time to practice using your thumb, it pays off handsomely in the end. This Carcassi waltz is a perfect vehicle for practicing thumb movements, especially in bars 11- 17 where you're playing 16th notes on arpeggio chords, and the thumb has to strike a bass string sufficiently hard enough for it to last the whole bar.

Even though three eighth notes is not that long it makes a world of difference to your sound if you strike the string properly and don't accidentally put your thumb back on the string. To this day I have a slight problem with bending my thumb at the first joint when striking a bass string. This all stems from a faulty technique that was not picked up by my first teacher and thus it persists to this day.

If you're a beginner, and you have a problem with your thumb movements, you should practice little exercises that isolate the use of your thumb to help develop a solid technical foundation. Another thing to remember is the Waltz by Carcassi is in the key of A Major. That means that you're playing sharp notes of F, C and G. Even though the piece is played at the lower end of the fret board you still need to remember the C sharp on the 2nd string 2nd fret, and the F sharp on the first string, second fret and the G sharp on the first string, 4th fret. Many times people forget and play a C, G or F natural instead of the sharp and it really sticks out.

Also, you'll notice in the 16th note section how my left hand moves from chord to chord. It's done using a guide finger and it's good practice to use this technique as it makes your sound more "fluid" and legato (smooth and connected).

One more point for when you print out the sheet music of the Waltz by Carcassi below and that is the use of the Dal Segno sign. You'll notice at the end of the music the marking... "D.S. al fine" and then you see a funny little squiggly sign. That just means go to that sign at the beginning of the music and play to where it says "Fine", which is at bar 26. Remember, once you go back to that sign at the beginning of the piece you DO NOT play the repeats. Just go straight through to where it says "Fine".

This has been classical tradition for many hundreds of years now to do it that way, and it's worked perfect up till now.

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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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Classical Guitar
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