Study In C
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.
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