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August, 2008:

Shanghai Impressions

recently I met a German man in the Internet, who loves the Chinese music and plays the Erhu, the Chinese violin. Because we want to know each other, I decide to show him one of my trials to reflex the modern Chinese Popmusic. In fact my pieces are not like “Chinese Popmusic”, but you can hear, that I am influenced from something  you may feel as “Chinese”. And this piece has another advantage: the guitar part is so easy, that my students already can play it. Because I don`t have an orchestra I used the computer instruments for the orchestra part. And of course I hope to find people who are able to do this instead of my computer!

And here is: Shanghai Impression Nr.1

Leo Brower: Etudes simples Nr.5 und 6

The best to know something about Leo Brower is to google or directly move to Wikipedia: Leo Brower, where you can find a lot of  links to other websites about this composer. The Etudes simples are technical not too difficult, but its beautiful music, rich of colours and fantasy. The number five I ve already published on my “kein illegales Tagebuch” some weeks ago, the number six is a “dutypiece” of the sixth level`s artist examination for not professional students in Shanghai. So I publish it here for my chinese students. 

Leo Brower: Etudes simples Nr.5

Leo Brower: Etudes simples Nr.6

How to practice your guitar

To know how to practice the guitar is so important and there are a lot of different opinions and discussions about how to practice an instrument. I tried different ways, but I am still searching. Here I want to write down some suggestions for my students. 

If you want to learn a new piece, it is easeful first to get an overview or an imagination how this piece should sound. In this early stadium of learning a piece it is helpful to read the whole piece at once. Most of you are learning with a teacher, who introduces the new piece. Later you have to try the new piece by yourself and search your own idea to play this piece. You can do that with reading the notes and “try”. But this “try” we don’t call practice!!!

After that first stadium you have to start with practicing and now it is not useful always to play the whole piece from the beginning to the end. It is much better to practice in small sections. If you just started, the much effective way would be: first to practice in two bar sections. The two bar section has to be practiced so, that you can play it five times in succession without any mistake and by heart. Then you can practice the next two bars. After that, you put the both two bar sections together and practice till you can play five times in succession without any mistakes and by heart and then you add another two bar section and do it in the same way. After practicing the first whole sentence in that way (normally there are eight or sixteen bar sentences), you have to repeat the whole sentence and to work on the dynamic and musically expression of this sentence. It is not necessary to learn a whole piece in only one day, so give you some time to improve everything you practiced. Then you can do the second sentence in the same way as you already did the first sentence before. Another good idea is to start at the end of a piece and first practice the last part – of course in small sections as I told you – that is good, because it is so important to be really sure with the end of a piece. Most of the people who listen to your performance will have more impression of the last and the first sentence as of the middle part of the music. So the most important thing is to practice the last and the first part very fluently.

Another important thing is, how to practice the two bar sections. You have to remember not only the music, but the fingering of both hands. I say both hands, because most of you only pay attention to the left hand and forget the right hand. But the right hand has to be clear, too!

If you already have some experience, you probably would like to look for the special difficulties of that piece and practice them first, and then organize your sections after the “choreographie” of your hands. Don`t forget to make good “links” between every single section! 

Normally I make a very short “warm up” every day before I start to practice pieces.
But I don’t like to practice technique pure. I know a lot of other guitar players spend a lot of time with such technical exercises. I prefer to practice the technique in context with music. Every piece has some technical specialties. So I use this to create my technical exercises. Even if I practice scales I like to practice musical phrases or create my own improvisations. At the beginning of my guitar career I couldn’t do this. May be that kind of practice the technique needs more experience. But you can develope this experience by doing and trying. Use your fantasy and enjoy what you are doing!

Holidays are over in Shanghai now

Holidays are over and I hope, everybody had a nice, relaxed time! The guitarclasses will start again next week. For those who are coming to Lakeside, the day will probably change from Wednesday to Tuesday. But the first time is on Wednesday the 27th of August.   Frome the week after it will be on Tuesday. The other students can call me to fix the time – if they not already did.

See you soon!

Hansel Gonzalez

may be it is already the first reaction of the new outfit of guitarshanghai, I received an email from Hansel Gonzalez, who I don`t know, with the following sentence:

guitarist, producer,asian tour now at beijing,to check more about click the link below          
Even if I personally prefer the wood guitar, I think I will do a favour to this guy and make his event more public here. Finally we are colleagues…..but next time I need a better language and correct grammar sentences….:)

Guitarcompetition Iserlohn

This year I participated on the international guitar competition in Iserlohn. It was a very good experience and I have to ask myself why I never did something like that during my students time at the conservatory of music. My generation in Germany has a difficult relation to competitions in general what is pity and not necessary at all.

The younger generation is much more relaxed and has a better point of view in that case.

There were a few really good players and the jury paid attention not only to the perfection and no mistake aspect, but also tried to find some special personality.

My both favorites are Thomas Csaba from France, who won the forth price and Sabrina Vlaskalic from Serbia, who won the second price plus the Sarvaez special price for the best interpretation of a piece of J.S.Bach. But there were other very good players too, who didn`t go into the final like Patrick Vena from Finland and a lot of other people I can not remember the names. And of course the first price winner Irina Kulikova from Russia was fantastic!

Besides playing the guitar we had a lot of nice communication and exchanges. Next year there is no competition in Iserlohn, but a big guitar symposium with a lot of concerts and master classes. The next guitar competition in Iserlohn will be held in 2010.

Song de la Campanellas

This piece is from the shanghai artist level examination book: the first piece of the sixth level:

 Araujo,Song de La Campanellas:

The fingering is possible, I didn`t change. The song is written in D major, the middle part in the subdominant G major. The form is: A1A2 B1B2 A2. The Harmonic is:

Part one, D major:

A1: I |II-| V7| I |; I |II- |V7 |I

   D|E-| A7| D|, D|E-|A7|D

A2: I |II-| V7| I|, VI7| II-| V6/4V7| I ||

   D|E-|A7| D|, B7 | E-| A6/4 A7| D||

Part two, G major:

B1: I| V7| V7| I|,  I| III7 VI-| II7| V7|

   G| D7| D7| G|,G| B7 E-| A7| D7|

B2: I| V7| V7| I|, VI7| II- II7| V6/4 V7| I||

   G| D7| D7| G| E7| A- A7| D6/4 D7| G||

Part three is like A2.

First you can practice the scales of bar 13 , 22/23 and 30.

The Jazzsamba

To show you a typical Jazz Samba I choosed the Chega de Saudade from Antonio Carlos Jobim. I recorded that piece two times. First I played the chords and the next time I played the melodie. To make sure, that I am always using the same speed, I ve recorded with metronom. That you can hear in the backround. With the audacity software I put melodie and chords together. I ve only recorded the part one of the piece, without part two and improvisation:

Chega de saudade MP3

Typical for the Jazz Samba are the Chord patterns (see my instructions about Samba) and the form. The Song is written as a leadsheet. That means the melodie is written exactly and in notes, but the chords are written in chord symbols . So its up to the musicians what they are making with the chords. There are different possibilities and if you listen to different recordings from different artists you will see, that the same song every time sounds very different.

The Form: The thema has two parts a 32 bars. The first part is in C minor with 32 bars: 8 + 8, 8 + 8. Part two (a bridge a 8 + 8 and the theme in C major with 8 + 8 (+2) bars) is in C major. After that, the form should come again with the improvisation. After the improvisation it should turn back to the original. I am saying “should”, because that deepends of the decision of the musicians. For example: Dizzy Gillespie:   he don`t play part one again at the end. He only repeat part two. But during the improvisation he used the whoole form.

The Jazz and Popmusic like the old classical music use very clear and strict forms which can be divided in eight bar parts. So we have 32, 16, 8 . That is, because the music originally is written for dancing.

The Samba from Jorge Cardoso

There are a lot of Latinamerican pieces composed for the accustic guitar. I want to introduce the Samba composed by Jorge Cardoso and compare it with the Samba for Jazz guitar. 

First you can listen to the music: Jorge Cardoso:Samba.mp3

The Samba is a group of dances in Brasilian, but took its rise from Afrika and was originally a dance of the Bantuafrican to celebrate the inauguration

of the soldiers. It was danced between burning torches and broken glas. As ballroom dance the Samba was known in Europe after the first world war.

The Samba is played quickly and in 2/4 rhythm.(Riemann, Musiklexikon) 

The Samba is quicker than the bossa nova, but the rhythm patterns of the bossa nova can be used in the samba, too. Here are some patterns for guitar, if you want to accompany in a band you can use them:

 Rhythm Patterns

(These patterns are from the book of Frank Haunschild, ”modern guitar styles”) 

Now to the Samba from Jorge Cardoso:

 The Form: 

The piece has 53 bars, is divided in two parts A and B. A is 29 bars, B is 24 bars. (Normally one part is 32 bars, every part is divided in 8+8+8+8.) The first part`s theme is a sequenz over four bars with a small four bars cadenz as well, so it has eight bars as usuall. Then the repetition of this eight bar theme get a change and comes in the subdominant, what is pretty speciall. And it only uses the first part theme with the sequenz what comes now over eight bars. The third eight bars only uses the sequenz part as well and goes further in the quint circel up to G major. So it is impossibel to separate the form from the harmonic context. The last “eight bars” are only five bars and make a cadenz back to the tonika (E major). So you can understand why this Samba only needs 29 bars for his first part. Its not so unusual as it seems at the first. 

As the first part is in E major, the second part starts in the paralell key C#minor. Here we have the opposite  appearance: The second part starts with a unregular 6 bar introduction  then be followed from the theme which is nine bars and is repeated without variations (except the last chord, what don`t count.).

 The Harmonic: 

The first part mostly use the dominant connections, so it drives very strong forward. The second part also use II – V – I constructions and a lot of b5 and b9 extentions what is typicall for minor parts. Here you can take a look

on the harmonic plan