Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

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KevinCollins
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Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by KevinCollins » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:05 pm

Sorry, friends, I just wrote a long post for a Giuliani study, what level am I at? But apparently I was lost in another world, the good old Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1, and I have all this text. I never throw anything out, so -- figure out what to do with this:
______

What grade are you at if you are at if you are playing Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em? Whatever level you are at, that must be the level of V-L Study #1... Think about it: wherever you go, there you are.

Seriously, the problem with the Em Etude is that the sequencing is continuous, which means no one ever gets around to learning the right hand properly. Chris Parkening's solution is to play the entire study, p-i-p-i-p-i-p-i-p-i-p-i-p-i-p-i-. Then there is only one sequence, p-i, his solution in 1965. No one can criticize you for p-i. And you can play wicked fast.

But this is 2008 (last time I checked). We have a little more information available to us now. Playing today's standard right hand sequence yields (ready for this?);

1.as p plays, i-m-a come out and i goes to the string. Make sure you roll off the front of the p nail so that i doesn't curl.

2.as i plays, m-a stay out and p goes to the string. i follows through and stays in the hand. Make sure you roll off the front of the p nail so that i doesn't curl.

3. as p plays, m goes to the string and a stays out. Make sure you roll off the front of the p nail so that i doesn't curl.

4. as m plays, i releases and goes to the string. a stays out. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

5. as i plays, a goes to the string. i follows through and stays in the hand. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

6. as a plays, i & m release and m goes to the string. a follows through and stays in the hand. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

7. as m plays, a comes out (this is the killer) and goes to the string. m follows through and stays in the hand, with i. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

8. as a plays, m & i release, come out and i goes to the strings. a follows through and stays in the hand. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

9. as i plays, m goes to the string. i follows through and stays in the hand, with a. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

10. as m plays, p goes to the string. m follows through and stays in the hand with i & a. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

11. as p plays, i, m & a release and come out and i goes to the string. Make sure you roll off the front of the p nail so that i doesn't curl.

12. as i plays, p goes to the string. i follows through, carrying m & a with it into the palm. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

13. as p plays, i, m & a release and i goes to the string. Make sure you roll off the front of the p nail so that i doesn't curl.

14. as i plays, p goes to the string. i follows through, carrying m & a with it into the palm. Keep p away from i so that i doesn't curl.

15. Repeat.

If you know what I said, you are in Book Three of the Provost Technique Series, 2008.

If you don't know what I said, you are at Book One of the Parkening, 1972, not yet at Book One of the Provost.

That probably is not what you wanted to hear...

Cheers,

Kevin

Richard Provost, Classic Guitar Technique Series, 2008 (available from Guitar Solo)

Mr. Provost has generously posted his right hand suggestions from books 1 & 2 on his website:

http://www.goldspielprovostduo.com/gallerylessons.htm

________________________________________________
Last edited by KevinCollins on Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:52 am, edited 4 times in total.
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:12 pm

Hello,

Are you talking about prelude no.1 or study no.1?

flameproof

Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by flameproof » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:03 pm

He must be talking about Étude #1 (Prelude #1 wouldn't allow p-i alternations at all, and the étude seems made for it).

Funnily enough, this is the second V-L thread I've spoken in today, in the other I said my edition (Max Eschig) had no fingering. But I am wrong -- Étude #1 is fingered (in the first bar only). Searching I could find no other fingering in the whole edition (though occasionally strings are indicated).

As the preface says that V-L's own fingering is left intact, I take it he wasn't a big fan.

Anyway, the first bar is fingered thusly:
pipi pmia maim pipi which I find bizarre, the first two beats have the same shape, and the last two have a (different) same shape.
pmia pmia pipi pipi seems at least a little more logical, and having just played through the piece I have to agree with Parkening, strict pi alternations seem to work fine.

Now, to this question:
"What grade are you at if you are at if you are playing Villa-Lobos No. 1 in Em?"

That depends.
If you play it like a grade 5 player, then you're at or around grade 5.
If you play it like a grade 8 player, then you're at or around grade 8.
If you play it like Christopher Parkening, then you're Christopher Parkening.

Perhaps that's what was meant by "wherever you go, there you are."

Anyway, it's not a technically difficult piece. But even if it was, the question makes no sense. Perhaps the question, "At what grade might one consider playing it?" makes a little more sense. And I'd say around grade 5, grade 4 if you're adventurous, grade never if you dislike Villa-Lobos.

ramsnake

Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by ramsnake » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:32 pm

I think we can assume KC has got his HVL mixed up a little and it is Study No 1 he is talking about! :? Although I think he might have been suggesting that if you are playing Prelude No 1 you should have played Study No 1 as preparation?
Anyway always been pipi pmia maim pipi for me as it is the logical pattern.
pmia pmia pipi pipi? Feels upside down to me? Bizarre and not what I would choose.
I have experimented with pi all the way but usually revert to the first pattern mentioned.

millroy
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Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by millroy » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:12 am

I agree with ramsnake :-). Interesting to see different people playing it, some go like the wind all out for speed, others play with more light and shade. Interestingly Carvelaro in his masterclass book on this prelude said V-L himself insisted it not be played too fast and that each repeat of the arpeggio should be quietly played and an echo of the first. I think it sounds quite good like that.

millroy
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Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by millroy » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:29 am

Carlevaro that is, sorry :oops:

ramsnake

Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by ramsnake » Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:01 am

millroy wrote:I agree with ramsnake :-). Interesting to see different people playing it, some go like the wind all out for speed, others play with more light and shade. Interestingly Carvelaro in his masterclass book on this prelude said V-L himself insisted it not be played too fast and that each repeat of the arpeggio should be quietly played and an echo of the first. I think it sounds quite good like that.
Yeh I like to actually hear the arpeggio! :D

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:03 am

millroy wrote:I agree with ramsnake :-). Interesting to see different people playing it, some go like the wind all out for speed, others play with more light and shade. Interestingly Carvelaro in his masterclass book on this prelude said V-L himself insisted it not be played too fast and that each repeat of the arpeggio should be quietly played and an echo of the first. I think it sounds quite good like that.
I agree as well.

Just for fun, I like to play through the entire etude bringing out the "m" finger on the 2nd string and then again bringing out the "i" finger on the 3rd string. They create some interesting rhythms!

You are correct, millroy. In my edition (the Segovia one) the tempo marking is "Allegro non troppo". I don't think that's Segovia's directive, but VL's.

I saw Alirio Diaz play this many years ago in concert. He changed the color with every repeat, esp. in the descending diminished chords section. He went from over the soundhole to ponticello throughout that entire section and, at one point, he even looked up at the audience and made "googley" eyes at us while he was doing that!

:lol:

Alan

millroy
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Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by millroy » Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:58 am

Very interesting Alan,

Does Allegro non troppo mean in the lower end of the 'allegro' range or slower than allegro normally would be?? (if you get my drift) :chaud:

John

grwagner

Re: Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in Em

Post by grwagner » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:46 am

Dear John,

"Allegro non troppo" = "fast but not overly so". That means the bottom of the allegro range. 116-120 bpm would be fine.

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KevinCollins
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Re: Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by KevinCollins » Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:41 pm

Friends,

Thank you for dignifying my rant with your intelligent and thoughtful comments.

Indeed, the first question you ask is what was the composer's intention. With publishers, you never know. Leo Brouwer supposes that Eschig's nephew edited and fingered his editions (plus the copyist's mistakes). When you see Leo, ask him for the corrections to the Estudios, it's surprising which are the bad notes. With Eschig, if Segovia's name wasn't on it, no one would have bought it (even if it was the only edition at the time), especially Segovia. I guess the way to go would be to find a facsimile of the original score. Who knows if Villa-Lobos actually wrote "Allegro non troppo"?

And even if you find the facsimile, who knows how much of the edition was later approved by the composer? Have you ever seen the original, handwritten version of the Martin "Quatra Brevis Pieces"? Eliot Fisk got it and played it for us one year, he let me have a copy. The original is nothing like the published version; but the publisher and the artist that Martin worked with (Was that Karl Scheit?) put a real effort into collaborating with the composer -- putting it on the guitar and developing the composer's musical ideas. It wasn't some random event. You have to assume that the later, published edition is the final approved one.

And the Duarte "English Suite". Segovia made up his own version, even though he knew nothing about English folk melodies. Of course Duarte had to go along with it, English Suite was his ticket. But when the English hear Segovia's English Suite, they choke. Who do you believe? Better play the Segovia... Unless your teacher is English, from Manchester. Then, you better learn both.

With Villa-Lobos, you have to assume a certain level of respect. But, if you've ever been interviewed for a newspaper article, you know that you are lucky if they just get the spelling of your name right. Who knows where "Allegro non troppo" came from. Or if they even had a metronomic concept in mind: in 1920, rhythm was much more fluid (and sophisticated), a concept of time that seems strange to us now. These days, everything has to be note-perfect and beat-perfect; and virtuosic. They lived in a different world.

And who do you believe? I studied the Preludes with Rey de la Torre. The fact is, Rey was the only guitarist who ever played the Preludes for Villa-Lobos. You have to assume that what Rey plays is approved by the composer or in some way reflects the composers wishes. However, what they they say is: "Villa-Lobos didn't say anything when Rey played for him; so you have to just assume that he liked it".

I had the same experience when I played the Aranjuez for Rodrigo. He didn't say much (except, "more sound!", what every guitar player lives for: "put it on 11!"). But his wife was there, she liked it, that says something, he wrote it for her. So when I play Prelude No. 1, I am married to Rey's fingerings, articulations, tempos, dynamics and phasing: what I have to do is find these things in myself. With the Aranjuez, I have to assume that I was on the right track and not stray too far.

As noted, I made a slip and typed Prelude instead of Etude. In the old American Institute for the Guitar, in NYC, someone had put up a sign "Remember, NO PRELUDE 1!", a reference to the "Remember, NO STAIRWAY!" sign in Wayne's World. Personally, I like Stairway. It is an eighteen-page piece that takes about twelve weeks to teach, a page a week, more or less. I use the the original 1972 edition. And, a big plus, I don't have to think-- just count. You just get an extra stand or spread it out on the floor. [That is 12 weeks x $__/hr = ... a new set of tires! Good ol' Stairway.]

You try typing the complete sequencing to V-L Etude No. 1, see if you can remember your name by the time you finish. But, I think this makes my point:

1) the sequencing is continuous. I like the way flameproof divides it into beats, pipi pmia maim pipi. But don't just practice the beats, practice across the beat, connecting. If the fingers don't come out before they are needed, you are always behind the impulse, the attack is always late. This gives a very spooky and disturbing unarticulated sound that most guitarists don't seem to mind. I must be the only one who can't stand to listen to an unarticulated sound, namely most guitar playing. The top five players in the world seem to agree on this, why can't we?

2) the sequencing is so elaborate that we are almost better off playing p-i-p-i. But, for some reason, Villa-Lobos specifies, in the only fingerings given the entire volume, pipi pmia maim pipi. What was he thinking? What was I thinking?

I was thinking that there is a concept called "Latin American". Villa-Lobos' is considered "Latin American". Latin America does not exist on the map. It is what happens when you combine a European instrument with classical traditions with indigenous Indian sounds and rhythms of the African Diaspora. In religion, this is called "voodoo", when you combine religions. The film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro), directed by Marcel Camus (1959), from the play Orfeu da Conceição by Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, which retells the Greek story of Orpheus during the Rio de Janeiro carnival -- sort of a Halloween when the world and underworld are closest and the door sometimes opens -- combines elements in this way. And whoever composed the title song knew of the music of Villa-Lobos.

[I had an idea for a Master's thesis on the music of Ginastera, the Latin American effect in terms of this sort of voodoo, how the three cultures form the Art of the Fantastic. There is a wonderful pianist, a Ginastera student, in town. But they wanted me to take more guitar lessons, like I hadn't had enough guitar lessons, nine summers with Oscar Ghiglia, seven years with my teacher. I thought the music was more interesting. How you play it on the guitar is just an overlay. But they thought I needed more lessons. Like a Bachelor's with 150 credits on it isn't worth anything. What do I need a Master's for? I can hire Masters. I have eighteen of them, even some Julliard's.] But, I digress...

Villa-Lobos came from a normal family that wished he would go into a normal field of work, like doctor or lawyer. It was the fourteen year-old Villa-Lobos (correct me if I'm off, this is a parable that I use to get my students onboard with Villa-Lobos; we call these "Kevin-factoids", at my house) who ran off to learn guitar from the gypsies. I expect when they gave up on the doctor-lawyer thing, he had to learn his counterpoint, but it was overlaid on the native sounds, sounds found "in nature". Villa-Lobos could actually play the Etudes, slowly, an accomplishment for anyone. In Latin America, there exists what is called "The Art of the Fantastic", something that could be but seems impossible. This is found in the literature, fine arts -- and in the music of Villa-Lobos.

Etude No. 1 in Em seems to incorporate the impressionism of Debussy (listen to La Mer, waves of sound; the unifying device is that each wave repeats) with folk sounds, I-IV-V7 harmonies as well as gypsy/jazz sounds, and African drumming sounds -- interesting cross-rhythms set against the four-four counting. AND THEN, overlay these sound ideas on top of the guitar right hand -- with its quirks and seemingly overcomplicated kinesthetic tendencies -- and you come up with a real can of worms. If you had to learn the fourteen steps of the articulated sound I outlined above, you would take up the banjo. [See, the banjo joke isn't even funny anymore.] That's why, by the time you get to Etude No. 1, you hope to have learned your sequencing. So the only time you have to look down there is when you start missing notes. And, lastly,

3) it is so much fun to play, who cares.

I had a Brazilian student, a seventeen year-old named Luciano, who played the Fourth Lute Suite of Bach for me. I never told Luciano how to play his music. In the conservatory, they never tell you how to play. You are expected to be a mature adult and do your job of applying the unwritten conventions of articulation, dynamics and phrasing as implied in the score. And if you are someone like me, who "plays from the heart" [Thank you, Dr. Paranov.] they respect the music too much to try to bend you from your path. But when I drove Luciano to Hartford to take a lesson from my teacher, when I thought he was ready, Luciano came out saying, "He told me that I was playing my samba rhythms and that the secret of Bach was free counterpoint played in four-four time." Oscar calls these "handfuls of jems", free counterpoint outside of time, played in time. That was a lesson for both of us, but it was not my job to tell Luciano how to play, just to get him ready. Besides, I had to leave something for the next guy. And Luciano was having so much fun, I didn't have the heart to take wind out of his sails, left that for someone else.

What I find interesting in this discussion is the references to Diaz and Carlevaro. That sort of legend will be lost to the next generation. Who cares about what I have to say, let's hear more about them.

I have to get some lunch now, will attack this post again later. Thanks for listening.

Cheers,

Kevin
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

millroy
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Re: Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by millroy » Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:52 am

I love your considered "rants" Kevin so don't stop. Carlevaro specifically says in his preamble to the 'masterclass' book on the HVL etudes that in chatting to him HVL was very adamant that the tempo be as described and that the repeat of each arpeggio was to be an 'echo' with quieter very relaxed right hand. So it seems we have more indication than just a publisher adding his own stamp. Carlevaro also says that HVL was so impressed with his (Carlevaro's) solution for the rapidly alternating section (not moving fingers 3 and 4 in the left hand up and down until near the end of that section (if you get what i mean) ) that HVL gave him the original manuscript for etude 1. So it would seem fairly 'safe' to listen carefully to what Carvelaro says. It is certainly fascinating background isn't it?

Regards John

André LM

Re: Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by André LM » Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:40 am

Hi! I,m from Brazil, and sorry for my terrible english (very very terrible) but i can't belived in what i read in the "conception" from KevinCollins. This shock me. Don't you know were the location of Latin America?????????????? Very Good your knowledge! But i'll help you: Brazil is located in Sul America; with language portuguese from brasil; voodoo don't exist here (the black religion here is macumba and no voodoo, and no so black); don't take Black Orfeus with example of our culture, please, this type of attitude is very estupid from who estuded in one contry so rich in quality schools; the "gipsyes" that you say is wrong, the right term is "chorões", gipsyes is a thing and chorões another, in culture, in music, in continent,etc; the father of villa-lobos plays violoncelo and teatch to him violoncelo, clarinet ,teory , perception , etc every since little years; your student Luciano is not the best representant of us...students of classical guitar from Brazil, lessen our greats interprets for this; you know nothing about Villa-Lobos, nothing from Brazil, nothing from us, imagine from Europe, Asia, etc. Don't forget: every culture in some moment "drink" for another...popular from classical and classical from popular, don' be prejudice and obtuse, be like us, open for others cultures. And here don't exist only "monkeys" or "indians" ok? Open your eyes an mind: i can play estudo nº1 in allegro non tropo and this is not a "wave", is a arpeggio...TWO arpeggios in sequency. In partiture is written "arpeggio exercice".

Obrigado!
Last edited by André LM on Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:32 am

Welcome to Delcamp, Andre LM!

Please don't worry about your English. It's very good and quite charming, in fact. Would you tell us more about yourself in the "Introduce yourself" forum? I'm sure you have a lot of knowledge to share with us.

I'm sure dear Kevin meant no offense to you or your wonderful culture. One of the best things about forums like this one, is that we get a chance to learn from people of all cultures, ages and playing levels.
millroy wrote:Carlevaro also says that HVL was so impressed with his (Carlevaro's) solution for the rapidly alternating section (not moving fingers 3 and 4 in the left hand up and down until near the end of that section (if you get what i mean) ) that HVL gave him the original manuscript for etude 1.

Regards John
Interesting post, John. I'm afraid, however, that I DON'T get what you mean...

Are you talking about the section where it deviates from the arpeggio for a moment and does that half-step-up-to-the-notes-in-the-e minor-chord-thing?

I hate that part. My uncle used to call it "turning the corner". If Carlevaro has come up with a solution for that passage, I'd be most grateful if you could clarify...

Obrigado!

Alan

ashbridg

Re: Villa-Lobos Etude No. 1 in Em

Post by ashbridg » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:02 am

KevinCollins wrote:Who knows if Villa-Lobos actually wrote "Allegro non troppo"?
He didn’t. He marked it “animé” in the original manuscript. The folks at Eschig changed it to “allegro non troppo.”
Leo Brouwer supposes that Eschig's nephew edited and fingered his editions (plus the copyist's mistakes).
The origin of the Eschig editions remains a mystery. The original 1928 autograph manuscript turned up in the mid 1990’s at the Villa-Lobos museum in Rio. It includes detailed fingering for both hands as well as extensive expression marks. V-L even used different size noteheads for structural and accompaniment parts.

Nicholas Ciraldo contacted Eschig about the new manuscript discovery. They said they had a copy of it. When he asked them about the version they used for their published editions, they said they didn’t have that one any more. So they didn’t use the one they had, and they didn’t have the one they used.

The original manuscript differs dramatically from, and is far superior to, both the 1953 and the 1990 Eschig editions.

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