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The Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos de la Alhambra and

the Tremolo Technique

By Karl Wohlwend

With contributions from Andrew J. Ruzicho, II

copyright 2006 Karl Wohlwend and Andy Ruzicho

About the author:

Karl Wohlwend is Columbus, Ohio's leading classical guitar instructor. He holds a


Master of Music Degree in Performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he
was a student of John Holmquist. He served for 10 years on the faculty of the Capital
University Conservatory of Music and at Ohio Wesleyan University, and is currently on
the faculty at Otterbein College. He has extensive experience as a performer, having
given solo classical guitar recitals throughout the United States. Karl is in great demand
in the midwest to provide classical guitar instruction at universities, workshops, and
clinics. He has been on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory
of Music Classical Guitar Workshop since 1996.

1
Forward This publication is not intended to be a substitute for the guidance that a
competent instructor can provide, nor is can it be a magic wand that will somehow enable
you to suddenly play this piece of music exactly the way you've heard it on recordings.
Rather, think of this guide as your practice companion, designed to help you focus your
thoughts and make your practice as effective as it can be. It is my way of sharing with
you the experience of my twenty years of playing and teaching, so that you may enjoy
your work with this incredible piece of music.

Approaching a new piece of music: the importance of formulating a plan

How many times in life have you just done something without thinking about it? We
have all had the experience of traveling to a new destination and getting lost only because
we didn't take five minutes before the trip to look at a map. Our time is valuable to us,
but we often squander it making up for lack of proper preparation. It is no different in
our work life, favorite sports, or with the guitar.

If nothing else, formulating a plan helps to focus your mind on the task at hand and
ensures that your first steps will be strong. The value of this creates momentum which
will carry on into all of your work.

How many times have you approached a new piece and started by picking up your guitar
and attempting to play from the beginning of a piece? This is a common way to begin
work, but is certainly not the most sensible. You will be much more successful in
learning the piece if you approach it with a plan. You will find that you will be most
successful with a plan that you determine on your own, however I will provide you with a
suggested plan to get you started.

You might find that using different colored pencils or highlighters could be helpful in
marking your score.

1- First, determine your long-term goals for the piece. Perhaps you just want to have
a rough idea of how the piece goes or perhaps you want to perform the piece in
public.
2- Without your instrument, look through the score. Try to hear the music in your
head as best you can as you look over the printed music.
3- Determine the key in which the piece is written and play some scales and chord
progressions in that key.
4- Determine the time signature, and identify any changes in the piece.
5- Determine the performance tempo and any tempo changes in the piece.
6- Can you divide the piece into sections? Try to describe how the sections differ,
using terms that make sense to you. Consider mood, if you are able.
7- Make note of dynamic markings, articulation marks (accents, etc), and other
indications. Look up any terms that are unfamiliar to you..
8- Find a recording, or have your instructor play the music and listen to the
recording with the your marked score in hand. Change anything that needs
revision upon listening.

2
9- Determine where you should start practicing the piece. The beginning is not
always the best answer, nor should you work on the entire piece at every practice
session. I like to start with the last phrase and work back from there, so that I'm
always playing into the more familiar material. If the piece presents a technical
challenge that is particularly troublesome for you, you might want to start with
that. Or maybe there is a section that you find especially dramatic and want to
experience that feeling, so you start there. Or maybe you just like a particular
section the best, so you start there. It doesn't matter, as long as you've thought
about it beforehand and that it makes sense for your plan. In any case, you should
allocate most of your practice time on the parts that are most difficult for you.
10- Make sure you understand the rhythms in your chosen starting point. Set the
metronome to half-tempo or less, and tap the rhythms accurately before you
attempt to play. Do this work in small sections.
11- Consider both left and right hand fingerings. If the printed ones don't make sense
to you, change them. Try to formulate at least a basic idea of fingering for both
hands before you attempt to play. Do this work in small sections.
12- Only when you are confident in your plan, begin to play. You might find it easier
to approach each section separately, going through all of these steps individually
for each one. With long pieces, this is absolutely necessary.

Feel free to modify these suggestions or develop your own plan to meet your own need.
What is important is to simply have a plan, even if it changes.

3
Recuerdos de la Alhambra - Francisco Trrega (1852-1909)

I. Notes on the piece

Trrega wrote this piece around 1899. The title of the piece translates to Memories of the
Alhambra. The Alhambra is a building located in Granada, Spain that originally was
built as a military fortress and later became the home of royalty. King Ibn al-Ahmar of
the Nasrid dynasty began construction in the thirteenth century and his successors
continued construction in the fourteenth century. As reflected in the piece, the Alhambra
is a place of great beauty and splendor. If you have not visited the Alhambra then just a
look at some of the many pictures of its grandeur may reflect Trrega's inspiration
(http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/The_Alhambra.html).

Trrega wrote several pieces that are still popular today including Capricho Arabe,
Lagrima, Adelita, and Mazurka en L. Recuerdos de la Alhambra may, however, be his
most popular piece. It certainly captures the imagination of many aspiring guitarists.

II. Recommended editions

Francisco Trrega Collected Works Volume I, Chanterelle Verlag 1001


The Library of Guitar Classics, Jerry Willard, AMSCO Publications, (AM 928950);
Stanley Yates - http://www.stanleyyates.com/scores/rdla.html

III. Difficulty of piece

This piece is recommended for the advanced intermediate student. It requires a


knowledge of the entire fingerboard, careful planning of left-hand movement, and
fluency with the specialized right-hand technique known as tremolo. In addition,
successful performance of this piece demands a high level of endurance and
concentration.

IV. Road map to Recuerdos de la Alhambra

The piece is divided into three broad sections. The first section, in the key of A minor
ends at measure 20. There is a key change to A major in measure 21, and a coda which
appears in for the third occurrence of measure 36. The first two sections are each
repeated, then there is a D.C. al Coda, which instructs the performer to return to the
beginning, playing through measure 35 (without taking the sectional repeats), then going
to the coda. The entirety of the piece is presented using the tremolo. Tremolo is a right
hand technique which features a rapid a-m-i repetition of the melody notes. Over
extended passages, a well-executed tremolo gives the impression of sustained notes, and
gives the guitarist dynamic control through a single pitch, in imitation of singing.
Receurdos is in 3/4 time and should be performed at a tempo sufficiently fast enough to
complete the illusion of melody and accompaniment. I suggest a tempo of around 80
beats per minute for the quarter note.

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V. Preparation

Before beginning a practice session, it is recommended that the guitarist uses stretching
exercises to prepare the body and mind. This is especially critical for a pieces like
Recurdos de la Alhambra, which makes use of a demanding and repetitious physical
motion, the tremolo. Stretching and proper warm-up helps to clear the mind and body of
tension which accumulates through regular everyday activities.

I suggest the following series of stretches accompanied with deep breathing:

1 - Gently shake the arms and hands for several seconds, until they feel warm.

2 - Hold your arm out as if you were signaling to a car to stop and take the opposite hand
over the fingers of the outstretched "stop" hand and gently stretch the fingers of the
"stop" hand back towards your body. Hold this stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the
other side and then repeat with both hands again. Be mindful to not tense the shoulders
while performing the stretch.

3 - Keep the arm outstretched as indicated above but instead of making a "stop" signal
with the outstretched hand, fold the fingers the other direction (towards the ground) and
use the opposite hand to push them towards your body for several seconds. Repeat on the
other side and then repeat with both hands again. Be mindful to not tense the shoulders
while performing the stretch.

4 - Take the outstretched hand and turn your palm towards the sky. Take the opposite
hand under the outstretched one and grap the thumb of the outstretched hand. Pull the
thumb back towards your body for a gentle stretch. Repeat on the other side and then
repeat with both hands again. Be mindful to not tense the shoulders while performing the
stretch.

5 - Interlock the fingers of both hands and rotate your wrists to make figure eights in the
air for several seconds. Pay attention to what pinky finger was on the bottom (your right
or left). Release your fingers and place the opposite pinky on the bottom this time.
Rotate your wrists and make figure eights in the opposite direction for several seconds.

6 Place your right hand firmly on the top of your left shoulder, where it meets the neck.
Slightly lift your left shoulder up and down for several seconds, and rotate your shoulder
in small backwards circles. Release your left shoulder, and rotate both shoulders
backwards at the same time. Repeat with right side.

7 - Hold both arms in the air, above your head. Release all the muscular tension holding
the arms up, allowing them to fall towards the floor as if they were dead weight. Do this
several times, until the arms and shoulders feel heavy and loose.

5
8 - While looking straight ahead, bend your neck, as if trying to touch your ear to your
right shoulder. Hold for several seconds. Repeat several times and do the left side. Keep
the shoulders down during this stretch.

9 - Perform 2-3 forward stretches, bending at the waist and hanging towards the floor.
Keep the knees slightly bent, and only stretch as far as is comfortable. Hang for a few
seconds. Repeat until the lower back feels warm and loose and the breath is easy.

These simple stretches can be performed in five minutes or less. Consider doing them
again during and after your practice session. Keeping the body loose will significantly
improve your application of the techniques described below as well as speed your
learning of the pieces and its related technical challenges.

Take 10 minutes now and warm-up by simply playing a scale. Any scale will do. Set
your metronome to the setting, quarter note = 80 and play the scale in quarter notes.
Listen carefully to your tone and keep your attention focused on your breath.

Concentrate in silence on what you want to accomplish in your practice session. Write
down your goal and keep it in mind as you progress through your session.

VI. Secrets to mastering Recuerdos

The first secret to mastering Recuerdos is not mastering the tremolo technique but to
plan an efficient left-hand fingering. The priority in determining a left-hand fingering
should be ease of execution, so as to maintain a smooth transition from shape to shape.
This will ensure a coherent melodic line and control of phrasing. You may find that your
fingering might change as you become more familiar with the piece, but it is very
important to commit to a sensible fingering as early as possible. Play the piece in four-
measure bits, in time with the metronome, with the left hand alone to explore how to
move smoothly from one shape to the next.

The second secret to mastering Recuerdos is the development of the tremolo technique.
As previously mentioned, tremolo is a right hand technique which features a rapid a-m-i
repetition of the melody notes. It is a common misconception that the melody of
Recuerdos and other tremolo pieces is found in the notes played by the right hand thumb.
The melody in this piece is found in the repeated notes! Play these notes without the
thumb, striking each note only once, and you will hear the beautiful line. Tremolo
creates the illusion of a sustained melody on an instrument which cannot physically
create such a thing. It is similar to the rapid picking that mandolinists use. In order to
achieve this illusion, the repeated notes must be even and clean. With a repeated p-a-m-i
tremolo pattern, most guitarists tend to be early with m and late with p. It is also common
to find underdeveloped tremolo technique that has a lot of nail noise and clicking, or
randomly accented notes. An even and controlled tremolo will achieve the illusion of a
sustained melody at a slower tempo better than a choppy, or galloping tremolo at a
faster tempo.

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VII. Tremolo Drills

As indicated in the preceding section, Recuerdos presents significant challenges to both


the left and right hands. I recommend working on the tremolo technique separately from
the left hand chord changing technique before putting both together. Only when the
tremolo is smooth and somewhat automatic will it be useful when attempting to
negotiate the difficult left-hand movements.

Practice the tremolo pattern (p-a-m-i) on one string, using the metronome at a slow
tempo, set to click on every attack. Try to make each individual note sound the same,
and try to eliminate clicks by being precise in placing the fingers on the strings. When
comfortable, cut the metronome tempo in half, so that it clicks only p and m.

When you are able to play the pattern cleanly and comfortably on one string, move it to
each of the other five strings, always working with the metronome. If you are tense,
frustrated, or inaccurate, SLOW DOWN. The tip joints of the right hand fingers are good
barometers for tension. They should remain loose and flexible at all times.

With a-m-i on the first string, practice the pattern with the thumb on each of the other
strings. You might notice that as the space between the thumb and the fingers increases,
the pattern becomes more difficult. This is because the thumb has to travel greater
distances.

Experiment with using the fingers on the second and third strings as well.

Only when you are comfortable with using the tremolo in this manner should you
experiment with moving the thumb from pattern to pattern. Make up your own patterns,
or mimic those in the piece.

Use the following rhythms to explore coordination among the fingers in the pattern:

When you feel comfortable and your tremolo is smooth and easy, try these tricks to
give it that extra special polish:

7
Allow the note played by the i finger to ring over until the next attack with a. This will
be especially effective when the pitch changes, and the extra work for the left hand is
well worth the effort. This helps to achieve a sense of line in the melody.

Try to play the thumb as softly as possible. Because of its strength and its placement on
the beat, it will always be present. De-emphasizing the thumb will help the melodic
content to sing.

Accent the a finger ever so slightly, being careful not to alter the rhythm! This will give
a nice sense of movement from one pattern to the next.

VIII. Helpful Hints

The left hand fingering is often presented so that the melody stays on the second string
through the first eight measures. This does minimize string crossings which might be
difficult, but I recommend keeping the melody on the first string throughout the piece as
much as is possible. It is easier to play the tremolo accurately on the first string, which is
a big help, especially at the beginning of the piece.

8
Leave out the ornamental triplets in measures 11, 15 and 19 until you are able to play the
section at something close to tempo. They will be easy to insert later.

Instead of

Sing the melody. This will give you a natural sense of where to use crescendos and
decrescendos, as well as showing you where the music should breathe. Look at the
piece in four-measure groups.

For the big dramatic shifts in measures 25-27, keep the first finger down on the first
string. A little bit of slide will sound good. This is one of the biggest moments in this
piece, and slowing down a little bit will both serve to highlight its importance, as well as
making it easier to execute.

IX. Avoiding Traps

- Keep your nails as short as you are comfortable with and keep them smooth. This will
make it easier to achieve a smooth tremolo without having to compensate too much.

- When first learning the piece and for sometime thereafter, use a metronome. 10-15
minutes of practice with a metronome is more worthwhile than an hour of practice
without one. Play as slowly as you need to to be comfortable and accurate.

- Record your practice often, so that you can objectively hear yourself. The first step in
improvement is being honest about your playing.

- Stretch and warm up before every practice session. Avoid skipping this to save time.
The 10 or 15 minutes this takes will insure that the next 20 minutes of your practice will
be as effective as possible.

- Take a short break every 20 minutes, stand up, walk, and stretch. You will be more
efficient during three 20 minute sessions as opposed to one 60 minute session.

9
- Concentrate on comfort and accuracy. Speed is only achieved as a result of good work
combined with incisive awareness.

- Focus on the musicality. What makes this piece so compelling is the languid, flowing
melody line. Dont become entrenched in the technical issues at the expense of the
expression of musicianship. Vary the dynamics and tone color with the ebb and flow of
the piece.

- Be patient and play within your limitations. Take your time both working out left-hand
fingerings as well as developing your tremolo before you try to play the piece. Consider
the time you take to do this as an investment in being able to play the piece as beautifully
as you can hear it in your imagination.

X. Video lesson contents

Consider viewing our video lesson on Recuerdos de la Alhambra where we go over each
of the points outlined in our guide. Video lesson available June 1, 2006 and located at

http://www.columbusclassicalguitar.com/video_lesson.html (underscore between "video"


and "lesson")

XI. Further Questions

If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to post them on our classical guitar
forum.

The internet address is

http://www.ohiolandlordtenant.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=20

and the password for posting messages is

classicalguitar

You may need to register to post messages.

XII. Other Publications

- Secrets to Mastering Albeniz's Rumores de la Caleta found here:

http://www.columbusclassicalguitar.com/rumores.html

- "Learning to Play Music on the Guitar" found here:

http://www.columbusclassicalguitar.com/guitar_instruction_method.html

10
11
Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Francisco Trrega
ed. Karl Wohlwend
Andante

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2006 Karl Wohlwend


www.columbusclassicalguitar.com
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2006 Karl Wohlwend


www.columbusclassicalguitar.com
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2006 Karl Wohlwend


www.columbusclassicalguitar.com

42


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2006 Karl Wohlwend
www.columbusclassicalguitar.com
APPENDIX I - MY JOURNEY TO RECUERDOS DE LA
ALHAMBRA

I am a student of Karl Wohlwend and I've included my progress towards


mastering the tremolo technique and Recuerdos de la Alhambra in this
Appendix. I hope that you will find it useful in your own journey. For
updates, please visit my blog at recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/blog. I look
forward to your contributions to the blog as well.
recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

recuerdosdelaalhambra.com
Guide to mastering the tremolo and Recuerdos de la Alhambra for classical guitar

Progress report on Recuerdos and the tremolo technique for


classical guitar
February 7th, 2007

I am a student of Karl Wohlwend and helped out in the publication of Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos and
the Tremolo Technique. I thought it would be a great idea to relearn Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I first
worked on Recuerdos de la Alhambra three years ago and performed the piece. Since that time, I have not
reviewed the piece and wanted to spend some time relearning it. Now that I have Karls ideas on paper, Im
using them as well as other ideas concerning learning the tremolo technique from other classical guitar
resources and taking my own journey to Recuerdos.

I started my original blog at this address and continued it here. My journey began on December 29, 2006
and it was originally intended to be a 60 day trip. Since then, Ive realized that my journey may be 2 to 3
times longer. Thats fine because Im really in no hurry. I figured keeping a blog would motivate me on my
journey and see it through completion and that it would help others who are attempting to learn the tremolo
technique, the piece - Recuerdos de la Alhambra, or both. By the end of this, I hope to have evaluated the
numerous tremolo drills and suggestions offered by my instructor as well as suggestions that I have found
elsewhere.

In my first 40 or so days with the piece and the technique, I have the following to offer:

1 - An even, steady, rhythmically straight tremolo is what you should strive for. See my February 6 post for
a great drill to determine if your tremolo is even and, if not, what part needs work.

2 - Dont get caught up in constantly increasing your speed. Make sure your tremolo is even at a particular
tempo before clocking up the metronome.

3 - Your metronome is your best friend when it comes to learning the tremolo technique. Use it religiously.

4 - Begin by working on the right hand technique separately from the left hand technique.

5 - Learn to listen to yourself objectively. If you cant do that then record yourself and listen to your
playing.

6 - The majority of your tremolo practice should not be done on the first string. Move it to the second or
third string.

My progress - I feel much more comfortable on the second, third and fourth strings with my tremolo
technique. I also am hearing a steady, even tremolo and am vigilant as to maintaining that. As I said before,

http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/blog/ Page 1 of 7
recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

I feel my journey is going to be closer to 180 days than 60.

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Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos de la Alhambra and the Tremolo


Technique
February 7th, 2007

Search inside book!


Secrets to Mastering
Recuerdos de la
Alhambra and the
Tremolo Technique
by Karl Wohlwend

List Price: $11.95

Your Price: $5.98

You will receive download


link via email

ISBN number - 0978899628

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Tremolo in flamenco music


February 6th, 2007

I was listening to some Gipsy Kings music and am amazed with the speed they can play melodic phrases.
This made me think of flamenco music in general and its staple, the rasgueado. Another staple is, of course,
the tremolo technique. Youll see more of p-i-a-m-i and p-a-m-i-m-a but youll also find p-a-m-i, our old
friend. Ive read that the rasgueado technique helps develop the extensor muscles of the fingers. These
muscles help the fingers extend out from the palm. Ive also read where developing the extensor muscles
helps with playing scales quickly as well as helps with the tremolo technique. Moving your fingers out away
from your palm is required when playing scales and when playing the tremolo, so I can see how this might
help. Then again, the movement of the fingers in the rasgueado technique is quite different from the
movement of the fingers in playing scales and tremolo. I havent reached a conclusion on this but will keep
you posted on my continuing thoughts concerning the matter.

http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/blog/ Page 2 of 7
recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

update February 8, 2007 - After discussing this with other guitarists, I agree with them and consider working
on rasgueado to improve tremolo technique or overall speed in playing scales is not the best use of your
time. Developing strength in the extensor muscles to somehow balance them with other muscles of the
arm/hand is probably not necessary to execute the tremolo technique well. If you want to play great
rasgueados then practice rasgueados. Incidentally, you never hear anyone say to play better rasgueados you
should work on your tremolo technique. It should work in reverse right? Or for that matter, to play better
rasgueados, you should work on your grip strength? Bottom line - if you want to improve your tremolo then
practice the tremolo.

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Applying the tremolo technique to a tremolo piece


February 3rd, 2007

Learning the tremolo technique for classical guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

General thoughts on applying the tremolo techique to a tremolo piece of music -

1 - With a metronome, determine at what tempo you can maintain a steady and even tremolo on a string
other than the first string. Your tremolo will get choppy and uneven on the 2nd or 3rd string sooner than it
will on the 1st string. Determine the tempo you can play the piece at on the 2nd or 3rd string rather than the
1st string.

2 - Pay attention to your right hand. If it gets tight or tired then take a 5 minute break. Your tremolo
technique will get worse with right hand fatigue.

3 - Try to play more on the very tips of the fingers and sweep the string. Too much flesh and your tremolo
will bog down.

4 - Work out the left hand fingerings - you dont want your right hand to wait on your left hand.

5 - Above all, use your ears. Objectively listen to what you are doing. Tape record yourself. Listen for an
even and steady tremolo and dont worry about speed.

Obtain our complete guide to mastering the tremolo technique and Recuerdos

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More on William Foden


February 3rd, 2007

A friend of mine, Eugene Braig, agreed to share his thoughts/observations on the Foden method (mentioned
below) -

http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/blog/ Page 3 of 7
recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

Another older name for wagging finger tremolo (usually i), a term that was used by baroque-era
guitarists and is still used by flamenco players, is dedillo. Yamashita did some treble dedillo with c and
played full chords below with his other fingers in his Pictures at a Exhibition transcription: thats nuts! In
vol. 2 of his method, Foden doesnt use the term but he describes using multiple fingers to play individual
strings in harmonized dedillo passages: thats nuts too! The Foden tremolo technique that I cant even
imagine bringing to tremolo speed because of the back-and-forth opposed motion of the fingers is that to
sound the bass and tremolo on the beat in multi-finger punteado: p/i-m-a-m-p/i-m-a-m-etc. Man! Good
luck.

Thanks Eugene

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Percussion to develop tremolo technique


February 3rd, 2007

One way to really hear the evenness of your tremolo in terms of rhythm and volume is to make your guitar
into a drum. I know it sounds odd but its really simple. Take your fretting hand and mute the strings
somewhere over the fretboard. I like to do it near the twelfth fret. Now practice your tremolo with a
metronome and notice how much easier it is to hear the volume of each note as well as the rhythmic
evenness between notes without the ringing caused by playing fretted notes. Learn to listen for the space
between each note as a way of gauging the evenness of your playing.

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Left (fretting) hand pressure and its effect on the right hand
tremolo
February 3rd, 2007

Learning the tremolo technique for classical guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

One thing I try to do on a consistent basis is moniter the force Im exerting to fret notes on the guitar. One
reason is that you can injure your fingers if you use too much force to fret notes. Another reason is that
over-exertion of the left hand can detrimentally affect your right hand technique, especially with a
technique like the tremolo. Ive noticed my tremolo get choppy as a result of too much force being applied
with the left hand.

A good way to back off is to play a scale and fret the notes without the left thumb pressing against the back
of the fingerboard. Your left thumb just hangs in the air as you fret each note of the scale. This will give you
a better idea of how much force you need to use to actually fret a note, where that force should come from
(not the thumb but the weight of the left arm) as well as make you realize how the left thumb can destroy
left hand technique. When working on a right hand technique such as the tremolo, dont lose sight of how
both hands work together.

http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/blog/ Page 4 of 7
recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

Obtain our complete guide to mastering the tremolo technique and Recuerdos

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Tremolo exercise to break up the monotony


February 1st, 2007

Learning classical guitar tremolo technique through Recuerdos

Heres one that will throw you for a loop. I like to practice my p-a-m-i tremolo with the metronome
sounding on every other stroke, and I do this on the first and second strings with the thumb moving from
string to string from 1st string to 6th or from 2nd to 6th if I tremolo on the 2nd string. Using the metronome
this way results in a regular beat on the thumb and middle finger. To mix it up, I chose to try a p-i-a-m-i
tremolo with the metronome sounding every other stroke. The trick is that the beat switches fingers each
time you cycle through piami. This will grab your attention fast and make you really concentrate. Try it the
next time things get stale.

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William Fodens Grand Method for Guitar Book 2


January 31st, 2007

A friend let me borrow William Fodens Grand Method for Guitar Book 2 (dont ask me how he stumbled
on this gem). I was interested in it for its 9 page section on the tremolo technique. Foden was one of
Americas Pioneers of the Classical Guitar who lived from 1860-1947. He was known as the first American
born guitar virtuoso. He teamed with mandolinist Giuseppe Pettine and banjoist Frederick Bacon (each
considered leading performers on their respective instruments) to form what later became known as The
Big Trio. Foden was especially remarkable for his tremolo technique.

In his method, Foden writes of the regular one finger style of tremolo, a one finger style of tremolo where
the thumb is placed across the first finger and the finger strikes the string up and down in a plectrum style,
the two finger tremolo, the double tremolo (two strings at the same time), the three finger tremolo, the four
finger tremolo, and the combination of the tremolo and the trill.

Here are his words on the tremolo trill: The tremolo and trill are performed simultaneously: that is, the trill
is played in the usual manner, while the tremolo alternates from the principal note to the auxiliary note of
the trill. It is important, of course, that the tremolo be rapid and uninterrupted for the time value of the note
that is trilled; and regardless of the number of notes played tremolo, on either the principal or auxiliary.
When occuring on a pause, or the time is retarded, both the tremolo and trill are prolonged, in accordance
with the effect desired.

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Classical guitar tips - use common sense when you practice

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January 30th, 2007

Learning the tremolo through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

I read a post on a classical guitar forum where a classical guitarist was frustrated with his progress on
learning Recuerdos and the tremolo technique. He indicated that he had put in three hours in one day (he
didnt say whether he did this everyday or not) on the piece and the tremolo technique and felt he wasnt
getting anywhere. Boy, thats a lot of time to spend in one day working on the tremolo technique. My right
hand gets pretty tired after 30 minutes and then I need to move on to something else. As with the guitarist
that expressed his frustration in the forum, we are all guilty of wanting too much too soon. Look at your
time with Recuerdos as a journey that will last several months if not longer. Slow and steady is the way to
go and dont expect noticeable changes in your technique on a daily basis.

I would recommend anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes a day on Recuerdos and the tremolo technique
depending on your level of ability. And, most importantly, practice on a regular basis. Practice sessions that
last much longer than 45 minutes (on a single piece of music and/or single technique) are generally not
productive. Determine what you want to do in your session before you start practicing and work towards
accomplishing what you set out. Practice with a purpose and use your common sense. Try to be objective
about what you are hearing. Consider studying with a classical guitar instructor if you feel you are not
making progress on your own.

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Guide to mastering the tremolo and Recuerdos de la Alhambra for classical guitar

Maintain your poker face - classical guitar tips


January 29th, 2007

Oftentimes when we are learning a difficult piece like Recuerdos de la Alhambra or a difficult technique
like the tremolo technique, its easy to let frustration show itself through our facial expressions. How many
times have you found yourself grimacing when you muddle through a difficult section of a piece. Why do
we do this? Does this actually help?

I believe it only makes the difficult passage more arduous and impedes the learning process. Grimacing or
other facial expressions also create tension that radiates to the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. This tension
further slows the learning process. Make it a point to maintain your poker face when working on the tremolo
techique, Recuerdos, or any other piece. Doing so will facilitate the learning process by reducing unwanted
tension and come in handy during performances. If you dont give a mistake away or let on that youre
having difficulties, your audience may never know either.

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Yoga and its application to classical guitar


January 28th, 2007

I generally make it to my yoga practice once a week. I would like to go more often but I notice that I take
less for granted when I only go once a week. I continually notice just how important total body awareness is
in the practice of yoga, and every time I realize this it hits me over the head like a completely new
discovery. For instance, we were practicing head stands today, and its easy to completely forget about the
rest of the body and to only concentrate on the forearms and how much pressure is being put on them to
hold this pose. The instructor came over to me and asked me to push my feet up into her hands, pull my
sternum and sacrum towards each other, and make some other adjustment which I cant remember now.
What amazed me was the total body awareness that was necessary to successfully perform this pose and any
other pose. I had focused in on only one of several areas of my body.

How does this apply to classical guitar? Lets say youre working on your tremolo technique in preparation
for playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra. Isnt it amazing how we can practice a technique such as the tremolo
and, at the same time, lack being focused or mentally aware of what we are doing or how our bodies are
reacting? Are we practicing or just wasting time? I caught myself going through the motions today and then
(thankfully) brought my mental awareness around to what I was doing and what my body was doing. It
seemed like I was running through deep sand when working on the tremolo technique. So I adjusted my
hand and played more on the tips of the fingers. It seemed that trying to produce a loud sound created a
choppy tremolo so I played softer. I noticed a lot of tension in my right shoulder, so I relaxed it. Playing

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recuerdosdelaalhambra.com 02/10/2007 10:15 AM

softer resulted in less tension as well.

The point is - pay attention to what you are doing: focus in on your practicing. Ask questions, make
adjustments, observe what is going on, and pay attention to your body. Otherwise, you are just wasting your
time.

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Learning the tremolo for classical guitar through Recuerdos de la


Alhambra
January 25th, 2007

Please feel free to leave your comments/questions about your own experiences with learning the tremolo
technique and/or Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I look forward to participation from others and am interested in
your participation. Check back on a regular basis as I add new material almost every day.

Obtain our complete guide to mastering the tremolo technique and Recuerdos

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Practicing the tremolo technique when you dont have much time
January 19th, 2007

For those new to this blog, this is a continuation of my first blog on mastering Recuerdos de la Alhambra
and the tremolo technique (located at http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.blogspot.com). In it, I am tracking my
progress on Recuerdos and the tremolo technique. So far, Ive been at it about a month now and wanted to
continue my notations on my daily progress here.

I generally like to practice the tremolo technique for about 20 minutes a day and then spend another 20
minutes on Aaron Shearers Reminiscence (a simpler tremolo piece that Im using as a stepping stone to
Recuerdos). Today, I didnt have as much time so I spent 10 minutes working on the tremolo technique. I
spent all my practice time on the 2nd string. I set the metronome to 125 and had it beat on the p and m
strokes. I used my thumb on the 6th string to create the largest distance between my thumb and fingers. At
first, I concentrated on evenness of my tremolo by accenting the m finger in my p-a-m-i progression. I then
switched it up and did a p-i-m-a progression. I then finished with some speed bursts (all still on the 2nd
string - see my January 9 posting on the old blog for discussion of speed bursts) and paid particular attention
to the regularity/evenness of my tremolo. If you dont have much time, I recommend doing something on a
daily basis even if only for 10 minutes.

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RECUERDOS DE LA ALHAMBRA
GUIDE TO MASTERING RECUERDOS AND THE TREMOLO TECHNIQUE FOR CLASSICAL GUITAR

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2007

Staccato tremolo drill re-evaluated Lynn Harting-Ware guitar


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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007

Classical Guitar Tremolo drill evaluated


Learning the tremolo technique through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

I've read in a few places where practicing the tremolo technique in a


staccato fashion can be beneficial, but I've never seen any explanation
of why this is. So I gave it a try. The idea is to practice p-a-m-i with a
metronome at a slow tempo and after each stroke - plant the next
finger so that it mutes the sound.

Something like this -

Play thumb - plant ring - play ring - plant middle - play middle - plant
index - play index - plant thumb

The real benefit is you will immediately hear how even your tremolo is
from finger to finger. I realized that my ring finger was getting back to
the string too quickly after my thumb had played. This became
apparent because the thumb stroke was caught off too soon by the ring
finger planting.

Anyhow, sometimes you have to try things out before you realize their
benefit. Give this drill a try and you will discover how even your
tremolo really is.

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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2007

Quick update on Recuerdos and the tremolo


technique
My daily posts are on the other blog but I'll continue to update this on
a weekly basis. It's been over a month and I'm still taking a gradual
approach. Mainly working on right hand tremolo technique focusing
on evenness of tremolo over speed. I'm still doing speed bursts. I'm
still concentrating on evenness of tremolo by setting metronome to
sound on every other stroke. I've added pima tremolo practice to mix
things up. I recommend spending at least half of your tremolo practice
on the 2nd or 3rd string rather than the 1st.

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2007

Blog is moving to new location


Continue this blog here
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TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007

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MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Update on Recuerdos/Tremolo Progress


Right now, I'm working at 120 bpm on metronome and setting
metronome to sound on p and m of p-a-m-i or p-i-m-a. I'm also doing
speed bursts at 120 bpm. I practice equally on 1st and 2nd string. I've
noticed my tremolo improving on the 2nd string which I'm very happy
about since playing tremolo on all but 1st string is noticeably more
difficult. I'm working about 20 minutes a day on tremolo technique
(right hand only) and another 20 minutes with Reminiscence.

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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

Originally, I had limited this blog to 60 days but the journey is


probably going to be closer to 6 months. Important lesson I've learned
is evenness is more important than speed.

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2007

Aaron's Shearer's "Reminiscence" as a stepping


stone to Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

A nice starter piece before entering the full blown Recuerdos fray is
Shearer's Reminiscence - copyright 1965 by Franco Columbo, Inc. Not
sure if you will find it in any of Shearer's methods as it is marked as a
Guitar Solo. It's a great piece to enter the world of tremolo as it does
not require a lot of work for the left hand (you can concentrate more
on your tremolo technique). The melody is in the bass line rather than
in the tremolo in contrast to Recuerdos.

I started it yesterday and today it sounds much better as I have


worked out the left hand fingerings. If you can find it, give it a try.
Others have suggested a tremolo version of Romanza.
POSTED BY AN D Y AT 7 : 2 5 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2007

How aware are you of what you really sound like?


What separates good players from average ones may be as simple as
differences in self awareness. How aware are of you of what you are
playing? I bring this up because I'm currently working on Bach's
Fugue from BWV 998. At a recent lesson, it became clear that I had
been skipping over trouble spots in practice. I had taken the attitude
that these trouble spots would work themselves out over time. Instead,
I had been practicing them into the piece so that when I came to the
spot(s), there would be a break/pause in the music until I could grab
the chord and move on.

My instructor brought up a helpful analogy. In teaching students to


strum chords, he would tell them to never let their right hand
(strumming hand) slow down so that the left hand could catch up with
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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

(strumming hand) slow down so that the left hand could catch up with
the next chord. Your better off slowing down the tempo of the entire
chord pattern or piece to the point where you can play it without
breaking the rhythm.

I mention this so that when you add the left hand to the mix in
learning Recuerdos - don't create breaks in the tremolo so that you can
take time to grab a difficult chord or left hand fingering. If that's the
case then slow down to where you can get the chord/fingering without
pausing or breaking the tremolo. Otherwise, you risk learning the
piece with the breaks/pauses you are taking.
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2007

Mixing it up: confusing the right hand


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos

I decided to really mix it up today in working on my right hand


tremolo technique. With the metronome set at 120 and playing with
the metronome beats to sound on the first and third strokes, I tried
every possible combination I could think of for playing the tremolo -

pami

paim

piam

pima

pmai

pmia

(You can also start on other fingers besides p as well)

After that, I tried piami, and pamimami

If your practice is getting stale, throw in a few of these to test your


right hand coordination. pami should seem much easier afterwards.

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2007

More links discussing Recuerdos and the Tremolo


Technique
Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

http://www.classicalguitarnews.com/content/view/2042/62/

http://www.dcguitar.org/wgs/articles/good_tremolo.htm

http://www.guitarramagazine.com/GoodTremolo

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 9 : 5 5 AM 0 C OM M EN TS

Get Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos and the


Tremolo Technique
Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

For a short time, buy Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos and the Tremolo
Technique now on ebay.

Don't want to sight read the sheet music?

Here it is in tablature.
POSTED BY AN D Y AT 2 : 2 0 AM 0 C OM M EN TS

MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2007

Recuerdos journey continues


Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

I continued on with the exercises set forth in January 13 post. Tremolo


seems to be evenning out a bit. It's important to listen closely to what
you are doing. Don't just do the drills mindlessly.

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 6 : 2 1 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2007

The Danger of Wanting Too Much Too Soon


Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la Alhambra

When I first was learning Recuerdos, I wanted to learn it as soon as


possible so that I could play it. At that time, the piece was probably
beyond my level of guitarmanship (is that even a word?). Okay, how
about beyond my proficiency level. But I slogged through it and
performed it after "learning" it. I never really mastered the tremolo
technique the first time through so here I am working through it
again. This time I'm in no hurry to learn the piece because I've been
there and kind of done that before, but I also understand the amount
of time and effort necessary to devote to learning the tremolo
technique. I'm probably looking at 6 months or so.

I wish I had taken that attitude the first time through. If so, I probably
wouldn't be relearning it now. Don't get in too much of a hurry. Don't
make my mistake. Take your time and do it right the first time.

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2007

Journey to Recuerdos de la Alhambra


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I read Douglas Niedt's site on learning the tremolo and it reminded me


of a point that we bring up in our publication concerning evenness in
the tremolo. We suggest setting the metronome to beat on the p and m
strokes. I've noticed in my own practice that my tremolo gets uneven
between the a and m fingers. Setting the metronome to beat on both
the p and m strokes really helps forge an even tremolo.

With that in mind, I concentrated on that today with the metronome


set to 120. I also accented each m stroke and tapped my foot on each
m stroke at the same time in order to try to ingrain my sense of pulse.

Niedt's article is a good read. Check it out at the link below.

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 5 : 5 6 PM 1 C OM M EN TS

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2007

Recuerdos de la Alhambra - tremolo links


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

Nothing to exciting today. I'll just reiterate some tremolo basics -

1 - Breathe normally when playing

2 - Observe, recognize and dissipate tension in left arm, hand and


shoulder

3 - Once you feel comfortable on first string spend most of your time
practicing tremolo on second string

4 - Don't overdo it - be prepared to double or triple the months you


have set aside to learn this technique

Here are some good resources for tremolo advice:

http://www.recuerdosdelaalhambra.com/

http://www.guitarramagazine.com/goodtremolo

http://www.stanleyyates.com/articles/tarrega/recuerd.html

http://philiphii.com/articles/tremolo.html

http://www.delcamp.net/forum

http://www.douglasniedt.citymax.com/MasteringtheTremoloRevised.
html

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2007

Recuerdos de la Alhambra - find the melody


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I've added our video on recognizing the melody line to start out with
future posts on incorporating the left hand. Enjoy!
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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

future posts on incorporating the left hand. Enjoy!

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2007

Speed bursts on the second string


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

Once you feel comfortable with the tremolo technique on the first
string, move it to the second string. I employ the speed burst method
on the 2nd string as well. I also came across another neat way to
practice tremolo on one string or with the thumb on another string.

If, for example, you are practicing the tremolo on the first string (with
the thumb playing the first string as well) consider using another
finger besides the thumb to play the downbeat.

For example, instead of

p-a-m-i-p-a-m-i (with "p" falling on the downbeat) try

a-m-i-p-a-m-i-p (with "a" falling on the downbeat)

Change it up and start with the "m" and "i" as well

Example of speed bursts on 2nd string

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 6 : 4 5 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

Speed bursts captured on audio


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I recorded myself doing some speed bursts as described in Day 6 just


so everyone gets the point. Sometimes, it is difficult to express in
words exactly what I am doing. As you listen, you will hear
progressively longer and longer speed bursts which is what you should
build up to. When I get to the point where I am doing really long
speed bursts at a decent tempo then it will be time to add the left
hand.

http://recuerdosdelaalhambra.blogspot.com/ Page 9 of 17
Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

Click here to listen to speed bursts

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2007

Day 9 - Recuerdos video


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

Recuerdos De La Alhambra - video powered by Metacafe

This player does an admirable job of playing Recuerdos. Listen to him


play without watching the video. He has the ability to play the tremolo
well, but, gradually, you will hear the thumb and the a-m-i become
more and more separate. Especially around the 3 minute mark of the
video. This emphasizes the amount of endurance as well as conscious
relaxation needed to play the piece. I would suggest a bit more rubato
and some more dynamic changes in the piece to really bring the
performance up a notch or two. Overall, though, a very good job.

With the smooth integration of the thumb and fingers in mind, I


began my practicing today.

1 - A great technique for really being able to determine what you are
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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

1 - A great technique for really being able to determine what you are
doing is to mute all the strings with the left hand while practicing
speed bursts (see day 6 for more info on speed bursts). By muting the
strings, you can really hear whether your rhythm is even during the
speed bursts. Remember to hear (in your head) an even rhythm before
each speed burst. If you can't produce an even rhythm then slow down
your tempo or take a break in your practicing.

2 - Yesterday, I spent some time doing speed bursts with the flamenco
tremolo or p-i-a-m-i. I may incorporate this into my practice more
later to see if that makes the p-a-m-i tremolo easier.
POSTED BY AN D Y AT 1 2 : 2 4 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

Day 8 - Recuerdos de la Alhambra


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

1 - Learn Recuerdos by learning the right hand tremolo technique first


- learning the left hand fingerings first will result in attempts to try to
integrate both hands to soon.

2 - Get in a nice, relaxed frame of mind and body before practicing.


Try yoga to loosen up.

3 - Speed bursts (see day 6 for more info on speed bursts) - right
before you do the burst, hear an even separation of the notes (an even
rhythm) in your head. Example - while you are playing each note on
the beat, hear the even tempo of the speed burst tremolo right before
you actually do the speed burst.

4 - Listen for spaces in between the notes as well in order to develop


an even tremolo.

5 - If you can't play even tremolo during a speed burst- quit playing
the speed burst and go back to playing every note on the beat, hear the
even, speed burst tremolo in your head and then try again.

6 - for more volume - don't play on tips of fingers so much, get more
of finger involved.

7 - speed bursts on 2nd, 3rd strings can be very helpful

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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

8 - Practice tremolo often with the thumb and fingers as far apart as
possible (span of 1st to 6th string)

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 5, 2007

Day 7 - continued on with speed bursts


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I've become a big fan of the speed burst exercise and have been doing
many of the drills on page 7 of our publication with them.
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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2007

Day 6 - Journey to Recuerdos - speed bursts


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I added a drill to the tremolo practice - speed bursts. I started at 120


bpm with metronome and played a note on each attack (thumb on
open 6th string and a-m-i on open 1st string).

After awhile, I began alternating p-a-m-i on each beat (one beat per
stroke) with p-a-m-i on a single beat (four strokes per beat). After
doing that for awhile, I then would alternate between p-a-m-i on each
beat to p-a-m-i on a single beat to p-a-m-i on a single beat and back to
p-a-m-i on each beat. I worked up to three consecutive speed bursts in
a row. Basically, your speed bursts get longer. This was a great, little
drill.

I'll lay it out just so no one is confused

p----a----m----i
beat-beat-beat-beat (hopefully this keeps the formatting)
This designates a beat on each stroke.

speed burst =

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p-a-m-i-p-a-m-i
beat-----beat
This designates a beat per tremolo stroke (pami)

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 6 : 1 9 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2007

Day 5 on journey to Recuerdos


Learning Tremolo for Classical Guitar through Recuerdos de la
Alhambra

I made some recordings of some of the drills and hope to have them
up tomorrow!

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MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2007

Day 4 on my journey to Recuerdos de la Alhambra


I probably should offer a recap of what I'm doing. It's been years since
I learned Recuerdos, and, I thought for purposes of our publication, I
would relearn the piece using the methods and teachings set forth by
Karl Wohlwend in our guide to Mastering Recuerdos de la Alhambra.
I've started by focusing on the right hand as I am familiar with the left
hand fingerings for the piece as we set forth in our publication. The
point is to work on each hand separately before bringing them
together. This will really help speed up learning the piece (that way,
the development of the tremolo technique won't suffer as a result of
uncertainty over the left hand fingerings and vice versa).

We pick up learning the tremolo technique at page 7 of our guide book,


"The Secrets to Mastering Recuerdos de la Alhambra and the Tremolo
Technique." We offer a number of suggestions for learning the
technique.

1 - Practice the tremolo pattern (p-a-m-i) on one string, using the


metronome at a slow tempo, set to click on every attack.

2 - Move this same pattern to each of the other five strings, always
working with the metronome.

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3 - With a-m-i on the first string, practice the pattern with the thumb
on each of the other strings.

4 - Experiment with using the fingers on the second and third strings
as well.

5 - We offer a number of drills using different rhythms to emphasize


the working relationship between the thumb and the fingers.

A brief summary of my daily progress - began with #1 at 120 bpm but


set metronome to click on p and m attacks. Continued this pattern on
each of other strings. Followed #3 at same tempo at first but then got
daring and did #3 above with metronome set to click on the p attack
only. Tried #4 at same tempo but moving to 2nd and 3rd strings at
that pace wasn't working so slowed down to half that tempo. Worked
through each of the drills at this new tempo and moved drills to 2nd
and 3rd strings as well.

I hope to record this sort of practice session soon and listen to it to see
how things are sounding. We often hear things differently from behind
the guitar. Until tomorrow, keep on truckin'!

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 8 : 5 8 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006

Day 3 towards Recuerdos de la Alhambra


I started out playing every other attack (p and m instead of p-a-m-i on
each beat) at 120 bpm - so twice as fast as normal. It felt fine so I did
all the tremolo exercises on page 7 that way.

I also added a few more exercises to the drills listed at the bottom of
page 7. I played the tremolo on 2nd and then 3rd string in addition to
1st string.

I really like the four drills at the bottom of page 7 of our guidebook
(guidebook can be found at recuerdosdelaalhambra.com). All of which
make you focus on relationship between the thumb and the fingers of
the right hand when executing the tremolo.

I may start to add the left hand to the right hand soon.

Happy New Year!

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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

Happy New Year!


POSTED BY AN D Y AT 6 : 3 2 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2006

Day 2 of the journey


Pretty much followed day one routine. Still at 120 bpm. I forgot my
metronome but found this handy online one at -

http://www.metronomeonline.com/

I plan to continue on same schedule for the first week. I'll either
videotape or audiotape one of my practice sessions and put it online. I
did try to focus on my breathing today and did notice some shoulder
tension still. I took breaks and tried to loosen up the shoulder when I
noticed tightness.

I also tried some of the drills with a p-i-m-i tremolo. I may try to
develop that at the same time and give you my opinion on how that
compares with p-a-m-i.

See you tomorrow.

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 4 : 3 4 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006

My 60 day journey to recuerdos


Having not played Recuerdos for quite some time, I thought I'd take
my guide book and work my way through it again in order to share my
experience with others who are trying to learn the piece. I hope to
spend about 20 minutes a day on the piece and see where that takes
me.

I began with the tremolo drills listed on page 7 of our guidebook as I


believe I still have a pretty good working knowledge of our left hand
fingerings. As we suggest, I begin practicing the tremolo pattern (p-a-
m-i) on one string using the metronome to click on every attack. I
chose 120 bpm which turned out to be comfortable for me. I focused
on trying to make each note sound the same, keeping my right hand
relaxed, my right arm and shoulder relaxed, and watching/listening to
my right hand. It's easy to drift off and stop paying attention. But I

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Recuerdos de la alhambra 02/10/2007 10:10 AM

think it's important to focus by watching and listening to what you are
doing. This is easier to do if you aren't using the left hand. My tip
joints stayed loose and flexible throughout. Shoulder got a little tight
as did arm. It's amazing how much tension we can bring to the
tremolo. Perhaps I stopped breathing. Remember to breathe next
time.

I took the pattern to each string at the same tempo. Some think that
you have to change your hand position or wrist angle when you move
from the first string to others but I believe you should maintain that
same hand position/wrist angle.

From there I practiced a-m-i on the first string while moving the
thumb from string to string. I did notice that as my thumb went to the
5th and 6th string some difficulty as the thumb does have to travel
much farther. Still at 120 bpm, using the metronome to click on every
attack.

I performed the same as above but with a-m-i on 2nd string and then
on 3rd string.

I then tried the patterns, we suggest on bottom of page 7 of guidebook.


I kept the metronome at 120 bpm and coordinated with an attack on
the p and m fingers.

So far so good. Got to remember to breathe more next time.

Time spent 20 minutes.

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 6 : 2 3 PM 0 C OM M EN TS

Things to consider before starting Recuerdos


Difficulty of the piece

This piece is recommended for the advanced intermediate student. It


requires a knowledge of the entire fingerboard, careful planning of
left-hand movement, and fluency with the specialized right-hand
technique known as tremolo. In addition, successful performance of
this piece demands a high level of endurance and concentration.

Road Map to the Piece

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The piece is divided into three broad sections. The first section, in the
key of A minor ends at measure 20. There is a key change to A major
in measure 21, and a coda which appears in for the third occurrence of
measure 36. The first two sections are each repeated, then there is a
D.C. al Coda, which instructs the performer to return to the
beginning, playing through measure 35 (without taking the sectional
repeats), then going to the coda. The entirety of the piece is presented
using the tremolo. Tremolo is a right hand technique which features a
rapid a-m-i repetition of the melody notes. Over extended passages, a
well-executed tremolo gives the impression of sustained notes, and
gives the guitarist dynamic control through a single pitch, in imitation
of singing. Receurdos is in 3/4 time and should be performed at a
tempo sufficiently fast enough to complete the illusion of melody and
accompaniment. I suggest a tempo of around 80 beats per minute for
the quarter note.

POSTED BY AN D Y AT 1 : 4 0 AM 0 C OM M EN TS

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