FER­NANDO SOR

Study In C

Guitar Techniques - - NEWS - NEXT MONTH: Brid­get ar­ranges Pre­lude In D Mi­nor by JS Bach

Brid­get Mermikides ar­ranges and tran­scribes another of this great Span­ish com­poser’s etudes for solo clas­si­cal guitar.

In this In­stal­ment of Gt’s clas­si­cal guitar se­ries we tackle the de­light­ful study In C (Op.6, no.8) by the span­ish gui­tarist and com­poser Fer­nando sor (1778-1839). sor might not be a house­hold name to­day and is per­haps con­sid­ered a mi­nor com­poser among the pan­theon of the ‘greats’ of his time, but in terms of the clas­si­cal guitar world he is a fig­ure of enor­mous im­por­tance and in­flu­ence. He was, in fact, the first great guitar vir­tu­oso, a tour­ing solo per­former and a com­poser of many works for a wide range of in­stru­ments and gen­res (in­clud­ing two op­eras, nine bal­lets and three sym­phonies). Fur­ther­more, sor was a con­sum­mate ed­u­ca­tor who wrote over 100 stud­ies, lessons and ex­er­cises for guitar stu­dents at all lev­els, and was a highly-re­spected teacher in both lon­don and Paris.

sor’s guitar stud­ies man­aged to achieve the per­fect mar­riage of ped­a­gog­i­cal in­struc­tion and mu­si­cal charm and study In C is a per­fect ex­am­ple of such a bal­ance. Com­posed in 1815 (the year he moved to lon­don), this piece is the 8th of his book of 12 stud­ies (Opus 6), each of which fo­cuses on a par­tic­u­lar guitar tech­nique with char­ac­ter­is­tic cre­ativ­ity and el­e­gance. study in C is in a slow three-four me­tre and fo­cuses on three-part writ­ing – the si­mul­ta­ne­ous flow of three in­de­pen­dent melodies – through an en­gag­ing har­monic pro­gres­sion. It works so well as a rel­a­tively for­ma­tive study (and as a piece in its own right) that it is in­cluded as the first of 20 Stud­ies that An­dres Se­govia se­lected and pub­lished in 1945. this fan­tas­tic vol­ume of stud­ies has been owned, an­no­tated and worked through by thou­sands of clas­si­cal gui­tarists over the years.

Pos­ture

When play­ing clas­si­cal guitar, pos­ture is ex­tremely im­por­tant in or­der for both hands to work ef­fi­ciently. The tra­di­tional method is to sit up straight on the front edge of an up­right chair and raise the left knee (right handed play­ers) by plac­ing a footstool un­der the left foot. The guitar sits on the left thigh and the head of the guitar tilts up­wards. For long hours of play­ing, many peo­ple pre­fer to have both feet on the floor keep­ing the pelvis level. Good al­ter­na­tives to the footstool are the Dynarette guitar cush­ion, the Gi­tano guitar rest and the Er­goPlay guitar sup­port.

I highly rec­om­mend this piece to all play­ers, re­gard­less of level, but it is par­tic­u­larly use­ful to the de­vel­op­ing clas­si­cal gui­tarist as it al­lows one to fo­cus on clar­ity of tone, con­sid­er­a­tion of in­de­pen­dent voices, and sus­tain­ing melodic lines in an a very id­iomat­i­cally writ­ten and mu­si­cally pleas­ing con­text.

the tab cap­tions will help you through the de­tails, but re­mem­ber to take your time to learn it thor­oughly as it will be an im­por­tant com­pan­ion to your clas­si­cal guitar jour­ney for many years to come.

Sor was the first great guitar vir­tu­oso, a tour­ing solo per­former and a com­poser of many works for a wide range of in­stru­ments.

Fer­nando Sor: a lead­ing light for the guitar

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