Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Uruguayan Classical Guitarist/Educator/Author is one of the premier interpreters/practitioners of J.S. Bach. He has written two outstanding books: "Understanding J.S. Bach: for guitarists but not only)" available on Kindle for $11.00 and "Technique, Mechanism, Learning," published by Chanterelle Verlag which is a must for any serious, accomplished Classical Guitarist(not lower level) as well as "Guitar Music from South America." He also has numerous CD's showcasing his brilliant artistry. Here's Eduardo playing Bach's Prelude in Dm, BMV 999 which aside from it's beauty is also an excellent arpeggio study for intermediate/advanced CG students. I hope you enjoy!
    Play live . . . Marinero









  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Great player and pedagogue, a rare combination. Beautiful interpretations.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Bach's Prelude in Dm, BMV 999- I played this Prelude in music school about 45 years ago - great music.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Great player and pedagogue, a rare combination. Beautiful interpretations.
    Hi, RJ,
    Yes. Thank you! And, "Technique, Mechanism, and Learning" as I said previously, is a great "tune up"-- even for advanced players. My copy is, sadly, in storage in another part of the country. If you don't have it. . . it's a great addition to your library or a great resource if you do any CG teaching.
    Play live . . . Marinero.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    This was either the first or second classical piece I learned. I had played for 10 or 12 years, lots of finger picking, and an old band mate turned me on to classical and showed me a couple of pieces and I was hooked. At some point, I went through the music for this prelude and analyzed the chords, IIRC made a nice progression when played swing style. I still have it somewhere, but not sure which edition as I've got several of them.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    BWV 999 was the first Bach piece I learned on the classical guitar, when I was about 14. I remember thinking what a great piece it was compared to the fairly basic things I had been playing up till then, I loved the harmonic intricacies it contained. I still play it occasionally, it seems to be permanently memorised (not many things I can say that of nowadays!).

    I have Eduardo Fernandez’ later (2000) recording of the lute suites, I like the way he adds some improvisational touches here and there. At the time I was looking for a good modern recording of all 4 suites (I only had the 1970s John Williams recording) and his was the one I liked best.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    BWV 999 was the first Bach piece I learned on the classical guitar, when I was about 14. I remember thinking what a great piece it was compared to the fairly basic things I had been playing up till then, I loved the harmonic intricacies it contained. I still play it occasionally, it seems to be permanently memorised (not many things I can say that of nowadays!).

    I have Eduardo Fernandez’ later (2000) recording of the lute suites, I like the way he adds some improvisational touches here and there. At the time I was looking for a good modern recording of all 4 suites (I only had the 1970s John Williams recording) and his was the one I liked best.
    Hi, G,
    Although, on the surface, the entire piece is ,in Jazz terms, "playing the changes," I think the most difficult part of BMV999 is to not allow notes to ring beyond their written value which is something everyone who studies this piece(and others by Bach) must accomplish to stress clarity and avoid a muddy, incorrect presentation. That was the difficult task for me with this piece and Bach, in general: silencing the arpeggiated 1/16" notes in the chords after playing to give them their proper time value. This, as you know, is done in two ways: 1.) simply lifting a finger after the note is played in the chord or silencing it--usually with the "a" finger. When approached from this perspective, it takes quite some time to master this piece and is why it is commonly used in Classical Guitar pedagogy.
    So, speaking of the Lute Suites and Bach, are you familiar with the Scottish CG Paul Galbraith who plays an 8 string Brahms Guitar set up like a cello with a resonance box and designed by himself and luthier David Rubio? His Lute Suites BMV 995-998(Delos 3258) are some of the finest interpretations, IMO, of the literature--with all due respect to Senor Fernandez. And, the depth of the 8-string Brahms guitar is very impressive. Here's an interesting video of the Brahms guitar. Enjoy.
    Play live . . . with only 6 strings . . . Marinero


  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    It’s a figuration prelude isn’t it? like the first prelude in the well tempered clavier, which is to say it’s purely based on one pattern, in this case a broken chord (pretty much.) I remember hacking through this one years ago. It would be nice to revisit and try to learn properly.

    So ive been studying FPs for my own classical improv studies. Here’s a cool link
    J.S. Bach Teaches Us How to Compose: Four Pattern Preludes of the Well-Tempered Clavier - College Music Symposium

    Obviously other Bach preludes can be much
    more complicated, including imitative counterpoint etc, and then you have things that have elements of figuration and elements of more linear writing like the prelude from the first Cello suite.

    I actually think a pure figuration prelude is deceptively difficult as a composer, performer or improviser, probably a bit of a flex on the part of the composer…. the polar opposite of a complex fugue… Easy to do, hard to do well. To get so much drama and story from a bunch of broken chords is kind of incredible. It might seem like the sort of thing it would be easy to improvise from a figured bass but actually I found myself getting bored of broken chords very quickly and putting in scalar lines and other variations.

    Plus on the guitar the arps are not an insignificant challenge, it’s not just pimami, and it’s that thumb line that makes it work of course… so you would probably end up writing something more than improvising unless you got VERY good at arpeggio patterns through chords. Maybe take the BWV999 pattern and put through one of the Wtc basses… hmmm

    Anyway I’m thinking of this one as a cross picking study haha
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 09-13-2021 at 09:44 AM.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller View Post
    It’s a figuration prelude isn’t it? like the first prelude in the well tempered clavier, which is to say it’s purely based on one pattern, in this case a broken chord (pretty much.) I remember hacking through this one years ago. It would be nice to revisit and try to learn properly.

    So ive been studying FPs for my own classical improv studies. Here’s a cool link
    J.S. Bach Teaches Us How to Compose: Four Pattern Preludes of the Well-Tempered Clavier - College Music Symposium

    Obviously other Bach preludes can be much
    more complicated, including imitative counterpoint etc, and then you have things that have elements of figuration and elements of more linear writing like the prelude from the first Cello suite.

    I actually think a pure figuration prelude is deceptively difficult as a composer, performer or improviser, probably a bit of a flex on the part of the composer…. the polar opposite of a complex fugue… Easy to do, hard to do well. To get so much drama and story from a bunch of broken chords is kind of incredible. It might seem like the sort of thing it would be easy to improvise from a figured bass but actually I found myself getting bored of broken chords very quickly and putting in scalar lines and other variations.

    Plus on the guitar the arps are not an insignificant challenge, it’s not just pimami, and it’s that thumb line that makes it work of course… so you would probably end up writing something more than improvising unless you got VERY good at arpeggio patterns through chords. Maybe take the BWV999 pattern and put through one of the Wtc basses… hmmm

    Anyway I’m thinking of this one as a cross picking study haha
    Hi, C,
    Figuration prelude . . . I suppose so. However, there's two ways to approach music in my world: 1.) academically/theoretically, or 2.) artistically. Since I am a player, first and foremost, I'll give you my approach to any piece of music which falls under #2. The first thing I want to know is the melody since it is the vision of the composer. In the case of BMV 999, it is basically a statement/response dialogue with variations. One cannot play this piece properly without this simple understanding. When I first learned this piece over 30 years ago, I decided to set the tone and play the opening statement(1st six bars) closer to the bridge for absolute clarity and projection while the response was more subdued and played close to the sound hole. This follows, appropriately, throughout the piece. This, for me, sets the mood/animus for the entire piece and brings more color to the music than would be possible when played robotically . The second thing, for me, is what is the chord progression/structure/foundation? How does the harmony flow and how does it react with the melody(expressed/implied)? How through tempo nuances, dynamics, and general flow does the piece come to life? Lastly, does the physical/artistic execution of the piece reflect an imagined perception of the composer's vision? Once I have fulfilled these elements in a piece of music, I usually don't get bogged down with the Science, so to speak, unless there is an important reason that directly related to its performance such as how the piece was probably played during its time period and to decide if I want to repect that concept or use my own. As I mentioned earlier, this piece is an excellent learning tool for intermediate/advanced players and is in no way, for me, an elementary lesson for a beginning to a mid-level guitarist. It is easier to play poorly than to play well and Fernandez's playing is a good example. This is because it is much more complex musically and technically than it first presupposes and to master this piece takes considerable work--technically, since it will become muddy and lose character unless every note gets its true value and uses proper fingering to avoid clumsy transitions of sound and muffled execution. That was the lesson for me when I first learned this piece. Thanks for your serious response.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Some other great "figuration preludes" to ponder:






  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    The first video above is interesting as the tuning of the theorbo is re-entrant, the first two strings are down an octave from where you might expect. So, the performer can choose to use the same right-hand pattern throughout, which means the highest note is sometimes the last of four notes, or the third, or the second - or the performer could change the right-hand pattern so that the highest note is always the last. The composer, Kapsberger, specifies this technique in his preface, but does not indicate one or the other method specifically for this piece.

    The most frustrating part of this video is how the last few seconds fade out as someone else joins into improvise over the chord changes!

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller View Post
    Anyway I’m thinking of this one as a cross picking study haha
    I included it in my forthcoming "Favorite (spelling!) Lute Pieces arranged for Plectrum Guitar" for Mel Bay. That means I'll be practising it for the sound files...eek!

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Some other great "figuration preludes" to ponder:





    Thanks, some nice pieces...

    Toccata L'Appegiata - is that one of those preludes are written out as a set of chords and you just improvise arpeggio patterns on them in free time, or am I thinking of something else? Kapsberger is in a world of his own harmonically ....

    I like the big rock vibrato Dai does on that dim7 chord just before that final cadence in the Weiss. Is that a thing?

    The Villa Lobos sounds like it's almost a tribute to the Bach piece.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, C,
    Figuration prelude . . . I suppose so. However, there's two ways to approach music in my world: 1.) academically/theoretically, or 2.) artistically. Since I am a player, first and foremost, I'll give you my approach to any piece of music which falls under #2. The first thing I want to know is the melody since it is the vision of the composer. In the case of BMV 999, it is basically a statement/response dialogue with variations. One cannot play this piece properly without this simple understanding. When I first learned this piece over 30 years ago, I decided to set the tone and play the opening statement(1st six bars) closer to the bridge for absolute clarity and projection while the response was more subdued and played close to the sound hole. This follows, appropriately, throughout the piece. This, for me, sets the mood/animus for the entire piece and brings more color to the music than would be possible when played robotically . The second thing, for me, is what is the chord progression/structure/foundation? How does the harmony flow and how does it react with the melody(expressed/implied)? How through tempo nuances, dynamics, and general flow does the piece come to life? Lastly, does the physical/artistic execution of the piece reflect an imagined perception of the composer's vision? Once I have fulfilled these elements in a piece of music, I usually don't get bogged down with the Science, so to speak, unless there is an important reason that directly related to its performance such as how the piece was probably played during its time period and to decide if I want to repect that concept or use my own. As I mentioned earlier, this piece is an excellent learning tool for intermediate/advanced players and is in no way, for me, an elementary lesson for a beginning to a mid-level guitarist. It is easier to play poorly than to play well and Fernandez's playing is a good example. This is because it is much more complex musically and technically than it first presupposes and to master this piece takes considerable work--technically, since it will become muddy and lose character unless every note gets its true value and uses proper fingering to avoid clumsy transitions of sound and muffled execution. That was the lesson for me when I first learned this piece. Thanks for your serious response.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    Well I'm never going to be a very good classical guitarist... that ship as sailed for me...but that's OK, you have to bank the time early in your life to that end... I am capable enough to be able to play pieces technically (mostly) but I'm not going to be doing that stuff in public any time soon. As much as I enjoy playing classical, this is an amateur thing for me, I learn a lot, but I'm not going to inflict this on others (aside from maybe family.) I'm not an interpreter. Which is not to say the advice here isn't valuable for working on the piece.

    But my perspective is as someone who writes and improvises music.

    So bearing in mind that the OP was concerned with interpretation and apologies for going a little off-piste, it's most important for me to draw lessons about composition and improvisation from this music. You can set Bach up on a pedestal, put him in a museum and he suits it, those are some beautiful musical objects to admire and be affected by. But aside from just playing great music, the practical aspects of the figuration prelude, being a thing that's very natural to the guitar seems a natural portal into classical improvisation on the instrument. There's nothing academic about it for me.

    One interesting thing about BWV999 is how it wears its construction so plainly on it's outside, and yet it works as a piece. This is also true of the pieces Rob posted... I always feel music works as a give and take between pattern and variation, and yet those preludes are so repetitively patterned on the surface texture (in a way which fugues or contrapuntal preludes for instance are not) that all the architecture is coming from the chords really (including the top note melody and the bass of course)

    Anyway Rob posted a really nice video of a (classical) guitarist taking a bass to Bach prelude and using it to improvise and aria. I'll track it down. Prelude/chorale/aria might be a good way to approach standards playing too, Lage Lund does this in solo sets... But I digress.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Ha, Dai does what's called a bebung. It comes from clavichord technique. The clavichord is said to be Bach's favoured instrument, possibly because wide vibrato is possible on it, and not on the harpsichord.



    Yes, there were a few theorbo and archlute chordal preludes, where it's up to the performer to find a path through them. I can't recall off hand if Kapsberger gave an example for one bar, some do, some don't. So, Bach was really coming in at the end of this tradition, giving a nod to it, and it should not surprise us that a version of the "Dm Prelude" (actually Cm) survives for lute.

    Villa-Lobos loved Bach, and quite a few of his pieces are in homage to him, not least the first study and third prelude for guitar.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Ha, Dai does what's called a bebung. It comes from clavichord technique. The clavichord is said to be Bach's favoured instrument, possibly because wide vibrato is possible on it, and not on the harpsichord.



    Yes, there were a few theorbo and archlute chordal preludes, where it's up to the performer to find a path through them. I can't recall off hand if Kapsberger gave an example for one bar, some do, some don't. So, Bach was really coming in at the end of this tradition, giving a nod to it, and it should not surprise us that a version of the "Dm Prelude" (actually Cm) survives for lute.

    Villa-Lobos loved Bach, and quite a few of his pieces are in homage to him, not least the first study and third prelude for guitar.
    I went to hear a clavichord concert once, It was the quietest thing ever. Quite transcendental in a way....

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Indeed, very quiet.


  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Back to Fernandez. I saw him live twice. In the first he played two of Sor's biggest sonatas each lasting twenty minutes, for a lunchtime concert. The second time he played vihuela music by Narvaez in the first half, then all 12 studies by Villa-Lobos in the second. If I'm honest, I was bored. A great player, certainly, but the recital program for each was a stretch even for guitarists. I heard quite a few sighs from the large audience each time.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Can't seem to find a YouTube the piece on the Lautenwerk, you'd think it would be an obvious one...


  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Agreed. Not many of them around.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Back to Fernandez. I saw him live twice. In the first he played two of Sor's biggest sonatas each lasting twenty minutes, for a lunchtime concert. The second time he played vihuela music by Narvaez in the first half, then all 12 studies by Villa-Lobos in the second. If I'm honest, I was bored. A great player, certainly, but the recital program for each was a stretch even for guitarists. I heard quite a few sighs from the large audience each time.
    Hi, R,
    Better leave "The Ring of the Nibelung" alone . . . if you have a short attention span! I'm actually quite surprised that an accomplished musician/educator like yourself struggled through some serious music. However, I did walk out of a CG concert once by a locally famous CG in Chicago who played "The Romantics" in his first set and Contemporary Latin composers in his second set. His execution was technically flawless but his playing was lifeless, dead, and deeply academic . . . however, he received three standing ovations at the conclusion of the concert according to one of my associates who stayed until the end. Go figure audiences, huh?
    Play live . . . Marinero

  23. #22
    "So bearing in mind that the OP was concerned with interpretation and apologies for going a little off-piste, it's most important for me to draw lessons about composition and improvisation from this music. You can set Bach up on a pedestal, put him in a museum and he suits it, those are some beautiful musical objects to admire and be affected by. But aside from just playing great music, the practical aspects of the figuration prelude, being a thing that's very natural to the guitar seems a natural portal into classical improvisation on the instrument. There's nothing academic about it for me." Christian

    Hi, C,
    And, I wasn't contrary to this notion but rather wanted to provide my take on BMV 999 and performance pieces, in general. Thanks for your reply. We all have our own portals into the Magic Kingdom.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, G,
    I think the most difficult part of BMV999 is to not allow notes to ring beyond their written value which is something everyone who studies this piece(and others by Bach) must accomplish to stress clarity and avoid a muddy, incorrect presentation. That was the difficult task for me with this piece and Bach, in general: silencing the arpeggiated 1/16" notes in the chords after playing to give them their proper time value.
    \

    Sorry, that is just silly. I have never see anyone play or teach that. The decay on the guitar is so short anyway its unnecessary. If Bach wrote the piece on Lautenwerck, as many think, there would be no way to stop the notes.

    You claiming this is incorrect because the chord tones are ringing over?


  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Fernandez is a great guitarist - this is my favorite album