Classical pieces by dobleA

I had been absent from the AVYOP section for a while due to some homework that sprung out from my previous posts. Now I am up for more.

I’ve found trying to play some short basic versions of classical music pieces very satisfying, enjoyable, and a good complement to JustinGuitar lessons on other genres. I know @SILVIA and @Jamolay are working diligently on the specific techniques required for this classical genre and I’m probably going to need to do the same at some point if I want to perform these pieces better and also try more challenging ones.

So far I’ve tried Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias, from the suite Chants d’Espagne, and George Bizet’s Habanera from the opera Carmen.

Asturias was in the finger picking section of a magazine I have. I had tried it before, but never sounded any good, maybe in part because I did not have access to a recorded version of the piece. No YT Music in the eighties :slightly_smiling_face:.

When I was setting my guitar learning goals, I embraced the idea of revisiting the piece. This time I could easily access not one but several recorded versions of the piece and even watch some guitar masters play it.

Encouraged by some success getting a recognizable sound playing it, I searched for tutorials in YT and found an enhanced but still looking within my reach version in the Skyguitar YT channel. I’ve been handwriting the piece using JustinGuitar Blank TAB and Manuscript paper. Eighteen bars copied so far.

Here are the first twelve bars of seventy that I can play decently now. Some day when I am able to flap my thumb like a hummingbird flaps its wings I’ll be able to play the score version of this piece at full speed. For now it is very satisfying being able to play these twelve bars at about half speed (60 b.p.m. Instead of 108 b.p.m an internet source informs). Although is not completely correct musically, when I practice with the metronome, I practice playing the time signature of 3/4 at 120 b.p.m for two bars as if each beat was an eighth note to get a beat on each sixteenth bass note.

The Habanera tutorial is in the same YT channel than Asturias. It’s just the main motif played twice, It’s marked as being easier than the easier version of Asturias, but for me it has been harder because of the different contrasting note durations, the inclusion of triplets and legatos (that I play as combined hammer-ons and pull-offs), and the bass accents simultaneous with some of the main melody notes. Although I may have go by just following my ear feeling, I worked with the metronome for a more accurate note duration. I followed the advice of my brother and worked first the main melody without the bass accents. I’ll later add them.

I saw my index finger getting extended when I flex my pinky. This had been brought to my attention with my Pink Panther Theme post, but I haven’t been able to fix it. My brother who worked as registered massage therapist while finding his way to live from his musical degrees told me is a muscle reflex. I have to work on that. I don’t have that reflex in my right hand.

It is my first time recording my guitar videos with an iPhone, my first time using an external microphone for that and my first time adding text to a video (technical minutiae in the YT video description).

Ana Vidovic in the following YT video provides some tips for playing Asturias that can be also useful for playing other musical pieces and songs:

Watch THIS before playing Asturias

Edit: YT link has been updated a couple of times because the video was reuploaded with some spelling typos in the titles fixed.


Thanks for the background, Andrés. I enjoyed both pieces.

The droning bass note against the melody notes sounded so good in the first.

You are probably aware, but in case not, I noticed your index finger has a tendency to point out in the second piece at certain moments. I’m not classicaly trained but imagine it would be good to work on keeping that finger tucked in with the others in those moments.

Look forward to further versions as you learn more.

1 Like

No warning needed at the beginning there Andres, both pieces sounding in very good shape, although Asturias sounded like it was farther along the line, a beautiful melody and as David mentioned that ongoing bass note adds a huge amount.

iPhone recording came across really well, you can be confident to use that again in my book. Can’t wait to hear your finished version of both pieces :+1:

PS - I love your surroundings for your playing space, having the greenery around you is very nice!

1 Like

Hello Andrés,
Nice to see another person attempting classical pieces. Asturias is coming along nicely, if there is anything, the right hand angle could be closer to 45 degrees and the “mi” fingerpicking alternate picking pattern can be used (something that I’m currently working on). Non of this is a must since you are just starting but worth keeping in the back of your head.

Anyway, :clap: for attempting classics :slight_smile:.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting David. Yes, the extended index finger, be it a reflex or a bad habit, needs to be retrained to stay tucked and readier to fret a string if needed.

Thanks for watching and commenting Mark. I’ll post an update whenever I reach another milestone or learn another fragment or short piece.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting Radek. Yes, I’m still finding my way with posture and technique for this genre.

Hello Andrés, I think you’re doing a great job! :blush: …Asturias is no beginner thing and it’s so fast! There’s a value in trying out challenging things as long as they keep you motivated and you can go as much slow as needed to observe yourself and question and try to understand how to improve…well done a double :+1::+1: from my part!

[quote=“dobleA, post:1,
I’ve found trying to play some short basic versions of classical music pieces very satisfying, enjoyable, and a good complement to JustinGuitar lessons on other genres.

The same happened to me! And I got so inspired!

Ana Vidovic :heart_eyes::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart_eyes: how amazing is she?! I could turn the volume off and just get mesmerised at watching the grace of her fingers! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

1 Like

A good start for sure and fun to listen to and watch. DavidP’s flying finger observation is a good one. I’ve got a fly-away pinky that I’m trying to tame. Bad habits can be difficult to overcome.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting Silvia. Yes, if something is marked level 3 of 5 of difficulty and looks doable, giving it a try doesn’t hurt. If I can somewhat do it is fine; if not, I can move to another piece and I would have learnt something in the process. For now probably staying in the 1 to 3 level of difficulty should be good for me. I may try the textbooks you’re using at some point.

What I found more interesting of Ana Vidovic is how accurate and clear she ring the notes while she also maintains a continuity between each section of a piece. No note sounds out of place.

Thanks for watching and commenting Dave. Good you had fun watching and listening it. I will have a talk with that unruly finger of mine.

They are coming along nicely Andrés. I do like a bit of classical.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting Stefan. I’m glad you like a bit of classical.

1 Like

Sounds like you’re progressing well Andres and are on your way to conquering those pieces.

1 Like

Really really nice start to both of these pieces, Andrés. I’m not familiar with Asturias but I particularly enjoyed that one, and went to take a quick look at the Skyguitar video. It’s quite a long piece, you’ll have to post some interim updates on your progress!

1 Like

Yes. Classical guitar study has a massive emphasis on technique for this purpose. It can be a little daunting as there is less emphasis on the fun stuff. I live somewhere in the middle, I like the technique focus some, but I also want to play music and enjoy. Perfection isn’t really the goal, but eventually I would hope a classically trained guitarist could listen to me play and say I didn’t suck.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting JK. Progressive improvement (and tons of practice) should lead me to conquer these pieces.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting Mari. Yes, the plan is posting updates on both pieces as soon as I reach a milestone with them.

1 Like

Thanks for watching and commenting Joshua. That’s the downside of some classical pieces. To be recital ready it may take a lot of work on the technique that can span many months and even years. But managing the challenge with a less ambitious goal can allow to get rewards that accomodate better for a not so advanced guitarist.

Great work Andrés. Not familiar with the 1st piece but it sounded nice. I had definitely heard the 2nd piece before (never knew it was called Habanera), and it looks like it would be a fun one to try some day. You’ve done really well with these, keep them going.

1 Like