** As featured in issue 22 **
In this fingerstyle guitar lesson we will be looking at another classical guitar composition of mine, simply called Study n. 12. This is a study piece based on double and triple-stops, but it also features extended chords, inversions and pedal tones. Double or triple stops have been mainly used to harmonise the main melody, using an arranging technique called parallel harmony.
As this melody should be executed in a ‘cantabile’ way, namely in a ‘singing-like’ manner, and since I wanted to make the most of open strings for a more ‘legato’ effect, I had to play most of double-stops in the A section on the first two strings. This is something to be aware of: choose our fingering carefully and in a purposeful manner is very important, as two different fingering will have different tonal and ergonomic repercussions. For example, the first section of this piece could have been played in a number of different ways. However, I wanted to make the most of an open G string as well as wanting the melody to be on the ‘e’ string, for a more consistent outcome. These consideration determined the fingering used.
The time signature is 2/4, and the rhythmic essence of the piece is not the most challenging aspect of this study. Consistency, tonal and dynamic awareness as well as notes’ length, are indeed the challenge within this piece and overcoming this challenges will help us becoming even-more aware of these salient issues.
As usual, our ‘p’ finger will play the bass line. Play this part in a relaxed and clear manner, making sure your thumb is a little forward compared to the i, m, a fingers, in order to prevent it from colliding with the ‘i’ finger. As always, focus on attack and tonal consistency.
The melody and the supporting harmonies will be played with the ‘i’, ‘m’ and ‘a’ fingers. Practise the picking-hand part with open strings and make sure the main melody is emphasised out of a double or triple-stop. For example, in the first section, the melody is on the first string. This should be nice and clear and slightly more prominent than the harmony on the ‘B’ string.
Next we are going to look at the left hand part:
(Please note E=low E string, e= high E string)
Pick up Bar: Index on fret 9 of B and middle f. on fret 10 of G. Same shape up a fret.
Bar 1: Thumb plays an open D. Ring f on fret 15 of B and middle f on fret 14 of e. Next, ring f. on 14th of B and index on 12th of e. Same shape 2 frets down. Middle f on the 10th of B and the index on the 9th of e.
Bar 2: Thumb plays an open G. Ring f on fret 8 of B and middle f on fret 7 of e. Next, ring f. on 7th of B and index on 5th of e. Same shape 2 frets down. Middle f on the 3rd of B and the index on the 2nd of e.
Bar 3: Thumb plays an open A. Middle f on fret 2 of B and open e. Next, Middle f on the 3rd of B and the index on the 2nd of e. Next, 5th of B and 3rd of 3. Finally, 8th of B and 7th of e.
Bar 4: Thumb plays an open D. Ring f on fret 7 of B and index on fret 5 of e. Index on fret 9 of B and middle f. on fret 10 of G. Same shape up a fret.
Bar 5: As Bar 1
Bar 6: As Bar 2
Bar 7: As Bar 3 apart from last double stop which features an open G and fret 2 of Bar 8: Ring f on fret 5 of A, middle f on fret 3 of D and index on fret 3 of B.
4th of G and 3rd of B followed by barre’ on fret 2 of G and B.
Bar 9: Open D, G and B and middle f on fret 3 of E. Barre’ on fret 2 of D, G and B. Third of E.
Bar 10: Barre’ on 3rd of D, G and B. 4th of E. Next, 3rd of D and G, little f on 5th of B, 4th of E.
Bar 11: Ring f on 7th of D, middle f on 6th of G and little f on 7th of B. Open A. Next, 7th, 5th and 8th of D, G, B with an open A.
Bar 12: 5th, 5th and 7th of D, G, B with open A. 4th, 5th and 5th of the same strings with open A.
Bar 13: As Bar 9
Bar 14: As Bar 10
Bar 15: As Bar 11
Bar 16: 10th, 8th and 10th of D, G and B, open A string and 10th, 8th and 12th of D, G and B.
Bar 17: Open E, little f on fret 5 of e, open G, open B and middle f on fret 5 of e.
Bar 18: Barre’ on fret 2 of E, little f on fret 5 of e. Index on fret 2 of G, middle f on fret 3 of B and index on fret 2 of e.
Bar 19: Index on fret 3 of E, middle f on fret 3 of B. Ring f on fret 4 of D, open G and B.
Bar 20: Open A, ring f on fret 5 of D, middle f on fret 4 of G and index f on fret 3 of B. Index on fret 9 of B and middle f. on fret 10 of G. Same shape up a fret.
Repeat section A, B and C, finishing at the ‘fine’ sign.
Congratulations, you have completed Study n.12!
As always, you will be able to download a transcription by selecting the menu option in this page.
I strongly recommend experimenting with a few picking variations, changing the chords as you wish in terms of voicing (higher or lower), as well as trying the same picking pattern on a different chord progression, or using a ‘capo’ on fret 2 for a brighter outcome.
When repeating any section twice or more, you may want to play ‘sul ponticello’, (closer to the bridge) or ‘sul tasto’ (over the frets) for more contrasting results.
Make sure you highlight the melody and the counter-melodies particularly in section C.
Please focus on minimum-movement approach, as this will help delivering the piece in a more accurate and consistent manner, while saving energy.
This will complete this fingerstyle and guitar composition lesson.
I hope you will enjoy playing this study piece and that this will give you some ideas on how to write your own solo guitar compositions.