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TECHNICAL HANG-UPS

by john Arran
Before I begin my topic this month I would juSt like 10 clarify
one point from my December anicle. The photograph of
Segovia which ap3rcd on the same page had no rdation 10
my article.
US! mOllIh we deal! with a couple of points in the second
Pre/llde ofVilla-Lobos, several people have asked if I can help
with various sections in the other Preludes by the same
composer.
I'll tTy and hdp with one section in particular, the middle
seclion of Prdudc no. I. Now we have all heard how Ihis
should sound 3S many of us have hcrrd numerous
performances of this delightful piece. Should )ou be lucky
enough 10 come 10 this piece without any preconceived ideas,
you will be able 10 Hike in much more from the printed page,
without having 10 contend with other players' concepts. There
are three essemial things to notice, the new key signature,
three sharps; a new time .signature, two four; and thirdly the
piu mosso marking. Now as far as I am concerned, this piu
mosso is the key to this section. S if your aim is to break the
sound barrier - fine, but do remember that Villa-Lobos
wanted piu mosso, assuming that he knew how to spell allegro
or vi\'ace that is.
The right hand fingering is quite sHaighlforward,
p.p.p.i.m.a. Over the six semiquavers which begin Ihe bar,
followed by p. playing the 1st and 2nd strings simultaneously.
The last note in the ba{ (8) is slurred with the fourth fnger.
The OClave B which begins Ihe next bar, is played with p.
across both strings. I use i. on the following A, playing this
with the 2nd finger and hammering down on to the 8 with
finger 4, pull ofT on to the A to complete the ornament. P then
plays again across the tOp two strings, to cominue the rhythmic
sequence, i playing the single E'which follows. The fve note
chord B.E.t.C. sharp and F sharp again used the thumb 10
strum all notes (remember the top note nL"ds to be heard) as
before the decor:lion which ends the bar is played with i.
That gives you the idea of how to approach the mechanics of
these bars, of equal inlportanct is the rhythmic approach.
Let's forget other performances and try 10 put the music
together from the primed copy.
We need to establish some son of rhythmic order for the
notes, and the only way is to hear the rhythm in your head, in
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faci I will say that you will never play any piece until you can
do this. Remember that the instrument simply mmslates Ihe
sounds from your head, if there is nothing there, then thaI is
exactly what comes OUI of the instrument.
Rack 10 Villa-Lobos: if you've not done this before, thcn
expect to spend some time thinking, away from the
instrumem. I think a metronome is essential [0 Ihis type of
work, set the metronome to 60 to give a quaver or eightnote
pulse and try to hear the rhythm of the piece with this beal.
\hen you think you can do this, then dap the rhythm with
the metronome at the same speed, and then graduall)' increase
the speed with the metronome. 'f you can't manage to do this
then please don't expect to be able to get it right on the guitar.
When this betomes easy then lurn to the instrument, but
remember I would insist on the speed going right down,
perhaps to 60 for the scmiquaver or sixteenthnote beat. The
reason for the insistance on the metronome is of course that
each note retains its correct rhythmic relationship with the
other nOles in the piece, quavers, crotchets or whatever rcmain
as such, whate\'er the tempo.
To conclude, I would memion three personal points; the
ornaments in the middle section are not written as triplets so
do think carefully how you should play this rhythm; check that
the chord which ends the sequence of barre chords at the end
of page three (the last bar of three eight time) has the correCT
noteS in, so many people assume that it is simply as F sharp
chord, it isn't.
Finally do look 3t the time signature of each section, it is a
most beautiful piece if it's played in lime, the opening really is
in three four time.
\Ie apologise to John i\rr;m for the intrusion of Ihls
photograph. We thought the arlclc looked a bit sparse. \'\'e
accepl John Arr:tn's e>:planation thai Stgo\'ia himself ha
admitted that tOO many years (and dinners) h:\'e Illude hl
pla)'ing po!ition perhaps best SUIted to himself - Ed.
P
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