Purchase the score for this lesson:
This study was one of my all time favorites when I was a young whipper snapper. There is something very exciting about the driving harmonic rhythm and the moto perpetuo writing for the right hand. Etude 7 doesn’t have to be played fast to sound good because there is a lot of interest that can be generated by bringing out the voices and making use of dynamics, but of course, there is a certain energy and excitement that comes with speed and precision.
The Right Hand
Originally, the repeated notes found throughout the study were meant to be played by i and m which would create groups of pimi, pimi etc. However, this study lends itself to strengthening the very common pami movement in the right hand. This movement is most commonly associated with tremolo technique but it also helps balance the right hand as a whole and can be very good arpeggio training. In general I would recommend using pami as indicated in the score and for the arpeggios, use either pimi, or piai.
The Left Hand
There are not too many demands on the left hand in this study, as it is predominantly a right hand study. There are some slurs at measure 16 and 18 that should be worked on independently (they are just like the ones from AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”!). Also it is important to give all of the bass notes their full duration throughout the piece. The bass voice often carries the melody so it is important to keep your left hand fingers down while the upper tremolo or arpeggio is sounding.
The first section of the piece (from measure 1 – 8) is one long phrase that can be divided into two equal four bar phrases (1-4 and 5-8). Each of these four bar phrases are in sentential structure (as in a sentence, like we use in writing) This structure simply consists of a 1 measure idea, followed by another 1 measure continuation then resolved by a 2 measure conclusion. The equivalent of this in writing would look like this:
“I woke up, had some coffee. then jumped in the car and went to work.”
In classical music this sentential structure happens all over the place so its good to keep a look out for it!
Here it is with some phrase marks in the music:
In the second section, the even division of phrases gets a bit less obvious, Carcassi has done this to create more excitement and less predictability in the music. Starting out in the relative major (C Major) the second section (or “B” section) introduces some new material and throws in some very beautiful harmonies at m.23 which can be furthered by inventive use of tone and articulation.
Dynamics and Articulation
Creative use of dynamics in this piece will really make it come alive and it adds a lot of excitement to the performance. I have added in several of my own dynamics on the score as well as a tone color change at measure 23. On the repeat of the second half, try and come up with some of your own ideas on how to vary things with dynamics, and articulation.
Throughout the piece there is an interplay between the upper and lower voices. Sometimes the bass has the melody (which is most often played by the thumb) and sometimes the melody is in the upper voice played by ami. Make sure you know what voice is the most important at any given time so you can bring it out strongly. For instance, from measure 1 – 4 (as in the image above) the bass line has the melody, but in measure 2 there is a nice little interplay with the upper voice playing a descending scale – F E D C – if you bring out this little scale it will sound really interesting and create a series of tenths with the bass.
I hope this lesson was helpful to you, and I hope you enjoy working on the piece. Start slow and try to get the right hand working evenly. Once you feel comfortable with the piece start cranking up the tempo to get this study really flying!