Monday, August 25, 2008

Sor's Etude Number One can still teach a few things after a century and a half or so

Fernando Sor's Etudes

I use it with good reason.  Everyone has the notion that if it wasn't written in the 20th century, then it must be quaint, old-fashioned and probably useless for pedagogical uses.  Fernando Sor was probably one of the greatest lights of the guitar firmament.  In fact, Sor, Giuliani and Carcassi stand to me as the trinity of the guitar canon.  Yes, Tarrega, Coste are BIG as well, but the other three were earlier.  Him that hits first with the most...  These guys blazed the trail.  Everyone else broadened the way.

What sets Sor up as a demigod of pedagogical excellence is the fact that he covered so many technical aspects of the guitar with his Etudes -- and he made these Etudes pleasant for the student.  They are musical as well as helpful.  High art? Naw, go to Sor's recital pieces for sumptuous classical period composition. 

The rendition below comes courtesy of The Guitar School of Iceland.  This is a must-visit website of free sheet music downloads. The student can visit this site and download just about anything from the standard repertoire and pedagogical library.  One can go from novice to recitalist with the music available here.

The Study shown here is useful for a couple of technical skills.  First, I feel that Sor is trying to get the student to listen to the voices in chords and how they should be brought forth.  The melody begins in the bass in measure one, going to the middle in the second measure.  Look at measure six, seven and eight.  Try accenting different notes in those measures. The last two lines contain a couple of nice finger twisters.  You should make sure that his or her fingerings allow the notes to ring for their written values.

When played correctly, this is a very nice little piece.  High art?  Probably not.  Enjoyable for the new student?  Yes. It's a pleasant way to learn some good technique.  Hey, that's what studies are all about!

1 comment:

dhvibe said...

Segovia places this at the start of his Sor collection. When I bought that collection I was frustrated. It is hardly a progressive ordering. It is a lovely piece.


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