Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

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Luis_Br
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:24 pm


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guitarrista
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitarrista » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:29 pm

amade wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:02 pm
Maybe start by asking what Tárrega indicated as the limits of the tempo in the two primary sources. He wrote Andantino or Andante in 3/4. So the pulse is the quarter note, although like most romantic music, it is "felt in one." It looks like several guitarists on the comparative list are playing it slower than Tárrega indicated. a bit closer to lento than andante (walking tempo). Yepes seems at the upper limit but he is not too fast for an Andante. Maybe he was just a fast walker ...
The only autographed manuscript I've seen says 'Andantino' - which could have meant slower than Andante to Tarrega (or not - the word should have meant slower than andante and does in the violin literature, but has been (mis)interpreted also as slightly faster than andante, probably originally by non-Italians, so this persists now.)

Recuredos-1-Partitura_title_page.jpg

While some list Andantino as a range from high 70s up to 108, we have to keep in mind that whatever the tempo, it has to be slower than moderato (and allegretto; and much more so than allegro). With that in mind I don't think it is plausible that the intended tempo was anything faster than 90-92 (equivalent to 180-184 per pami group) and likely as a bit slower than that. Also, musically, the tempo has to be slow enough to allow the ornamentations to be discerned and appreciated. Of course, the tempo has to be also fast enough for the tremolo to work well. All in all, probably not likely to have meant slower than 72 (144/pami) or faster than 90-92 (180-184/pami).

I personally find that 160-168 seems the ideal tempo to let the piece shine in every way. If I have a gun to my head and be forced to choose a single number, I'd probably say 168/pami, which would be MM84 marking.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Crofty » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:22 pm

Guitarrista

My own view has always been that the accompaniment pattern dictates the tempo. I wrote about this years ago.

Basically, if you play just the accompaniment then - for me - it starts to feel very rushed beyond about 70.

Like most people I tended to play RDLA faster than that but now play it slower.

When I listen to most versions around I hardly ever hear any attention at all being paid to the bass line or the inner voices; they all sound as though they are being played with an unrelenting and identical weight of thumb stroke, despite the fact that, in every bar, the six accompanying notes have different functions - bass, pedal, melodic plus, obviously, harmonic.

I'd be interested in your views

Paul

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Dofpic » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:27 pm

The beauty of David Russell's tremolo is that while fast around 170 or so it sounds so relaxed and even. His is by far the best IMO.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by amade » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:23 pm

The other source is the first print of the piece, dedicated to Alfred Cottin, and published by Vidal Llimona y Boceta in Barcelona, where Tárrega was living at the time. This slightly revised source has a new dedication and is marked "Andante;" it has all the authority of the earlier autograph manuscript (dedicated to his problematic student, patroness and admirer, Concha Gómez de Jacoby). Some would say it supersedes the manuscript version since it came later, but both should be regarded as primary sources. As for tempo, the Italian indications are only part of the story - the indicated meter also helps determine the tempo. When students think of the rhythm as defined by the quadruplet tremolo pattern, with 6 pulses instead of 3, they may be furthering muscle memory, but that is not what Tárrego wrote.
In any event, the tempo of andante/andantino (which could be faster or slower than andante, depending on the composer's personal practice) has a fairly wide range, but when it is so slow that it is heard in 6, it is certainly not what Tárrega indicated.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by amade » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:31 pm

It's great that Luis_Br shows the connection of the Recuerdos melody to Nadir's aria "Je crois entendre encore." Both pieces involve a deeply-felt memory. And we know Tárrega admired Bizet's music.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Juan del Bosque » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:46 pm

Thank you all for the insightful discussions. A few notes:

guitarrista, I agree that at 120 it sounds like tremolo, but at that speed I can't see the forest for the trees. I'm now at 130 and the view is opening up on the sweeping melodies. I'm thinking I'll stay on my acceleration program until 140, put the metronome away and relax.

Amade, I wholeheartedly agree that the bass notes should convey a three four "waltz". The guitar is after all a percussion instrument. I would go a step further and say each group of four 32nd's could have a four four microcosm, as when rock players occasionally do single-note tremolos with the pick.

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitarrista » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:58 pm

Crofty wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:22 pm
Guitarrista

My own view has always been that the accompaniment pattern dictates the tempo. I wrote about this years ago.

Basically, if you play just the accompaniment then - for me - it starts to feel very rushed beyond about 70.

Like most people I tended to play RDLA faster than that but now play it slower.

When I listen to most versions around I hardly ever hear any attention at all being paid to the bass line or the inner voices; they all sound as though they are being played with an unrelenting and identical weight of thumb stroke, despite the fact that, in every bar, the six accompanying notes have different functions - bass, pedal, melodic plus, obviously, harmonic.

I'd be interested in your views

Paul
Oops missed this first time around ([grumble on] no one quotes anymore so I don't get notified [grumble off]).. :sage:

Right; I just remembered that I made a similar comment some time ago about RDLA having something like 3 layers, not just two. If you take the tremolo bit away it is still a complete etude-like piece. So we have to pay attention to all the layers when deciding on optimum speed. 140-144/pami sound lovely as well.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Crofty » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:02 pm

Will remember quotes in future Konstantin.

Though, actually, one of my pet hates is people who quote entire conversations including multiple repeats of the same videos and, when one eventually scrolls down to the bottom of all of that, one is treated to:

"I quite agree".

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Crofty » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:04 pm

Oh.... just realised I didn't quote your complaint so you may never read my apology.

I guess I tend to assume that if you contribute to a thread then you would normally follow it...

Paul
Last edited by Crofty on Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Crofty » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:11 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:58 pm


Oops missed this first time around ([grumble on] no one quotes anymore so I don't get notified [grumble off]).. :sage:

Right; I just remembered that I made a similar comment some time ago about RDLA having something like 3 layers, not just two. If you take the tremolo bit away it is still a complete etude-like piece. So we have to pay attention to all the layers when deciding on optimum speed. 140-144/pami sound lovely as well.
There you go: a quote. Responses above this post.

By the way, if a guitarist played the RDLA accompaniment to a sustaining solo instrument playing the melody [flute or violin for example] I would hope that they would pay a great deal more attention to all it's component parts and functions that they do when it is integrated into a solo piece.

I know it isn't easy - but just thumping out six, equally weighted thumb strokes per bar is really not great musicianship in my view.

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitarrista » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:20 pm

Crofty wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:02 pm
Though, actually, one of my pet hates is people who quote entire conversations including multiple repeats of the same videos and, when one eventually scrolls down to the bottom of all of that, one is treated to:

"I quite agree".
Haha yes, the other extreme is not very nice either :D

No worries about quoting, Paul. As a result of this I will now pay more attention! :cafe:
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by amade » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:40 am

In the 1899 manuscript the title is "Improvisation / A Granada / Cantiga Arabe." Thus the piece is an Arabian [influenced or styled] song - a clear reference to a vocal style. Not a machine-gun delivery but a lyrical, exotic song.

In the later print where the title Recuerdos de la Alhambra appears for the first time, Tárrega has added accents over the second and third beats, clearly emphasizing three pulses in the measure.
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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by guitareleven » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:25 am

It needs to be played at a tempo sufficiently fast enough for the notes of the accompaniment to emerge with a coherency of pattern, and not so languidly that they sound as isolated events. Most importantly, the upper notes of the accompaniment have to be heard to connect with each other so that they create an inner voice. In the beginning, and for much of the piece, this will be an inner voice line in parallel thirds with tremolo melody.

amade wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:40 am

"...In the later print where the title Recuerdos de la Alhambra appears for the first time, Tárrega has added accents over the second and third beats, clearly emphasizing three pulses in the measure.
This does emphasize the meter, but as these are the notes of this inner line, I think this linear aspect is what he was trying to convey as salient.

Exactly what tempo is the minimum for this in terms of a metronome setting is subjective; there are various means available to a good player to direct the listeners attention to the inner line, so-- your milaeage may vary. But certainly tempo is a factor.

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Re: Minimum speed for Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Post by Crofty » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:01 am

I agree absolutely with guitareleven and, in fact, the analysis of the inner line and bass, and it's importance in the composition as a whole, is something I have mentioned a number of times previously.

The accent signs almost certainly don't mean "accent" but, combined with the dynamic signs are there to suggest that the inner voice gently subsides from the c to the b, in bar one and then rises from the a back to the b in bar two. I can't say I hear this done very often, if at all but it seems obvious harmonically even without the accompanying signs.

I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting to understand the piece fully should re-finger the accompaniment so that it works as a solo in itself, and then either sing the melody, whilst following all the implied dynamics or, if you know a flautist, violinist etc work on the piece as a duet.

It's also necessary to treat the bass notes differently to the inner voices. It should go without saying but they are supposed to have enough weight to last throughout each bar, in full. For me that means a gentle rest stroke with p but the "how" is not so important as achieving the right balance in volume.

Paul

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