I had a chat with guitarist Doug De Vries about what Brasilian choro music is. Here’s an excerpt from our interview: Doug: Choro is a bit like jazz, it’s all-encompassing. It includes Samba and other Brasilian styles. Sergio: What would be a good Choro to start with? Doug: I got into it with the music […]
To create more focus and mimic some of the pressure you will feel when performing I suggest trying the 4-Times Rule. It’s a simple process: 1. repeat the passage 4 times without making a mistake 2. If you make a mistake, restart the process 3. If you get stumped and can’t get 4 times in […]
Spain is a Jazz Latin piece written by Chick Corea inspired by the second movement Rodrigo’s Concerto Concerto De Aranjuez. It features a syncopated melody that is played in unison and also includes a flamenco-inspired circle of fifths: the chord progress Gmaj7 – F#7 (b9) – Em – A7 (b9) – Dmaj7- Gmaj7 […]
Here are some practice patterns for the first three strings in the first position. These form part of my beginner guitar course in the membership section (Latin Guitar Masters)Latin Guitar Masters. Many guitarists are not great readers. The guitar is an instrument you can learn by ear and through playing with others, reading music generally […]
I recently did an interview with Adam Del Monte. Adam is a grammy award-winning flamenco and classical guitarist. He teaches at USC Thornton School of Music and alongside his busy touring schedule has written a flamenco guitar concerto, collaborated with artists such as the LA Guitar Quartet and written and recorded for numerous films. In […]
This is the first part of a Rumba that I wrote recently and perform often. It is in the Rumba style which is a flamenco form of medium to slow pace characterized by a 3 – 3 – 2 pattern. This pattern is strummed in a certain way to bring out the accents on beats […]
Title: Malagueña Key : Am (E Phrygian Mode) Time : 3/4 Style: Flamenco Dance/Folk The Malagueña is a spanish folk song that originated in the town on Malaga. It was derived from the Fandango and grew to become a popular flamenco dance of the 19th Century. Cuban composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona also popularized this […]
Title: Besame Mucho Key : D minor Time : 4/4 Style: Bossa Nova Composer: Consuelo Velazquez Notes Originally written as a Bolero, this piece is one of the most famous Mexican songs. I have arranged it here as a Bossa. Two sections – Binary form Melody and Bossa Nova accompaniment. Chromatic chords and triplet […]
This piece is called Recuerdos De Mi Pago (Memories of my home town). It was composed by Juan Buscaglia who was an Argentinian guitarist/singer/composer. It is in the style of Milonga which is a slow Tango. The piece is at an intermediate level with some playing in higher positions, octave scales and arpeggiated chords in […]
Title: Black Orpheus (Manhã De Carnaval) Key : A minor Time : 4/4 Style: Bossa Composer: Luis Bonfa (1922-2001) was a celebrated Brasilian guitarist famous for this particular song Manha De Carnaval which was featured in the production of Orfeu da Conceição also known as Black Orpheus. Bonfa worked alongside the likes of Jobim, Stan […]
One Note Samba is a famous Bossa Nova by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The pattern requires you to keep the 1st string open for the first section, while the bass (played on beats 1 and 3) is moving down chromatically. The chords are: Cm7 – C7 – Bm7 – Bflat 7 (flat 5) Followed by: […]
This is an iconic and popular guitar pice that uses 4 main techniques: Position Changes Bass plus Treble notes arpeggio style accompaniment Barre Chords In this video, I’ll take you through each element of technique and give you suggestions on how to practice this piece.
Chrystian Dozza is a Brasilian guitarist/composer living in Sao Paolo.I saw Chrystian last year at the Adelaide Guitar Festival and also attended his guitar workshops. He has an infectious appetite for music having performed around the world and written a solid body of work and is developing a strong a devoted following. In our […]
This is a simple Rumba in E minor suitable for intermediate players. It features an arpeggio style accompaniment alternating with melodic passages. The final strumming can be used to solo over by a second guitar.
Astor Piazzola is one of Argentina’s most iconic Tango composers. He was a virtuoso Bandoneon player and arranger. Many guitarists play Piazzola’s music which has mostly been arranged for guitar. Some of his most famous works include Libertango, his Four Seasons, Oblivion and History of Tango. I was asked last year to perform at a […]
This is a great way to start your practice or lesson. These are simple exercises which allow you to concentrate on what your hands and fingers are doing. The first two exercises focus on right hand walking, then left hand position and synchronisation. The finger ladder will help you develop strength and independence in […]
Today I’m going to do a follow up video of Concerto De Aranjuez, the previous video was on the rasguedo opening passages. This is the following 8 bars. Let’s discover it together. The end of the introduction, which includes some thumb work and scale work. I’m going to use my thumb to play the […]
This is part one of a new Bossa Nova guitar piece called Pensiero. It has some embellished Jazz chords and effective voice leading while still being at an intermediate level.
This opening section features arpeggio style chords in C sharp minor. I’m utilizing the open E and B strings to get a nice Spanish dissonance and I have also added some chords in the higher positions.
Here is my arrangement of Luis Bonfa’s classic bossa nova hit. It was also performed on a film called Orfeo Negro and was originally called. Maha De Carneval.
Here are the lessons covered in this introductory course: Sitting and Hand Positions Guitar Notation Basics The Rest Stroke Rest Stroke Exercises Parts of the Guitar Rhythm Exercises Overview of First Three Strings E, F, and G Exercises B, C and D The B to G Scale Summer Bossa Fuego Available in the members […]
Rumba’s can be strummed or plucked. It can be played as an arpeggio style pattern with the bass taking precedence and the chord tones filling in the rest of the beats. In this Example we have the chords Am and E with the 3-3-2 pattern being played in the bass part. Start off slowly and […]
Alirio Díaz (1923 – 2016) was one of the most prominent Venezuelan composer-guitarists of his country. He studied with Andres Segovia and had international success as a soloist. I had the privilege to study with Alirio Diaz in 2003 in Brisighella. We spent two weeks taking masterclasses from the old master during the day and […]
Useful Bossa Nova Pattern Using the chord following chords, you can create auseful Bossa Nova Pattern: Am – AmM7 – Am7 – Am6 There is an internal line which is descending chromatically. Follow the video to learn the finger and right hand pattern. Some examples of this pattern in pieces include: Besame Mucho Girl From […]
This piece, written by Paco De Lucia, was written in 1973 and is featured on is album Fuente y caudal. As told by his sister on the documentary Light and Shade Paco improvised this piece as a filler for the album. Ironically it was a runaway hit and helped Paco break in to the […]
Rumba Strumming is a very useful tool for performing flamenco music. This video will take you through the Rumba technique as used by Paco De Lucia and Gipsy Kings (and many others). The chord progression we are using is Am – G -F – E . We start with a thumb down and […]
The Four Times rule is something you can use to improve the quality of your practice and eliminate small and annoying mistakes that can creep into your playing. Sometimes mistakes do happen when practicing or performing and thats ok but we can definitely minimise them through methods like this one. One often finds that under performance […]
Here is an example of incredible guitar skill and mastery. The great Paco De Lucia performing on Parkinson in the UK. The piece is Almoraima which is a Buleria. Amazing rhythmic control and depth.
Alzapua is a flamenco technique involving the thumb. the term comes from the word alzar which means to raise. It is usually payed as a fast flourish of notes in quick sequence. The thumb plays all notes using down and up strokes. Played accurately and fast it can sound fantastic as a high point of a falseta or […]
Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) was a Spanish guitarist composer who lived in the latter part of the 19th Century. He composed some of the best known pieces for the Spanish guitar. Born in Castellon, Tarrega took lessons in guitar and piano as a boy. He studied composition at Madrid Conservatory and by his Twenties was performing […]
What is the circle of fifths chord progression? Well, chords and tonalities have various relationships to each other. For example, the chords C, F, and G7 are all part of the key of C. They form the chords I, IV and V7. Put another way, they are the first, fourth and fifth chords in that […]
Performance nerves can be a real issue for guitarists, especially because of the nature of how we create sound on the guitar. Nerves can manifest themselves as shaking of the hands, sweating, memory slips, loss of focus and more. There things can amount to technical breakdown, buzzing, wrong notes, and many more unwanted effects. There […]
Today I’m going to shaw with you an authentic flamenco scale. Its also used a lot in jazz as well. Its the Lydian mode. A lot of guitarists have confusion about what modes are, it took me a long time to get my head around how to use them. The best thing you can do […]
Here is an exercise working on G7 arpeggios shape. This arpeggio is move-able and therefore quite versatile. You can also practice this in all positions. Arpeggios are an important part of technique and improving. In jazz, the notes in an arpeggio are known as chord tones, that is, arpeggios can also be looked at as […]
Here’s my first video blog; Rumba Strumming is a flamenco technique. It has been used a lot by artists like the Gipsy Kings and Ottmar Liebert. Its an excellent technique to learn especially if you want to play with other guitarists. Rumba Strumming – Full Score
Here are 4 Bossa Nova exercises, each exercise uses the same 2 chords : Am6 and Am7 with voicing on strings 2 to 4. Its a good idea to practice with a metronome at a comfortable tempo. Note that the bass part is always on beats 1 and 3, while the chords vary between begin […]
Here is an excellent documentary about Andres Segovia and his life. Filmed in 1968 when Segovia was 75, the documentary features interviews with the Maestro and a number of performances. Segovia plays beautifully and has an amazing tone, there is a nice quality to this film. This is an informative and inspiring video about Segovia. […]
Here’s a video I came across in which Sharon Isbin talks about how she uses and applies vibrato. Vibrato is given to a note by applying and relaxing pressure to a string in a lateral direction. Lateral direction along the line of the string. The pressure towards the bridge with the hand motion coming towards […]
Here are a couple of nice guitar arrangements of the popular Brasilian Bossa Novas: Girl From Ipanema and Mas Que Nada performed by Milos. Milos has exploded onto the classical guitar scene in recent years helped by heavy promotion by Deutsch Gramophone. Much of the music he plays is Spanish and South American and his […]
Many players are taught to keep their left hand thumb in a fairly stationary position behind the neck of the guitar whilst playing. In some ways it makes sense that in order to stay in position you need to have a reference point which is usually the thumb. The reference point refers to the lateral […]
Rodrigo’s Concerto De Aranjuez is an very well known spanish guitar work, though it’s the Adagio theme which people are most familiar with. Today we are going to be looking at the into to the first movement. The concerto starts with a series of rasguedo chords which are played in a 6/8 and 3/4 time […]
Here are the main major chord shapes you can play on the guitar: Root 6 (Tonic on the 6th String) Root 5 (Tonic on the 5th String) Root 4 (Tonic on the 4th String) There are other major type chords with can often also be used like 6, maj 9, 6/9 etc depending on the […]
Here is the next instalment of the Segovia Guitar Scales, G major and E Harmonic Minor (3 Octaves). There are many ways to practice these scales, I would recommend a variety of Right Hand fingerings. Here are some suggestions: im, mi, am, ma, ia,ai, ip, pi, imam Rest Stroke or Free Stroke
Matteo Carcassi Summary Born in Florence, and lived in Paris, and Germany. Virtuoso guitarist and composer. toured Europe extensively Friend Meissonnier published many of his works. Wrote an important method The Carcassi Method Op 59 (Paris 1836) Op 60 : 25 studies are popular classical etudes. Contemporary of Carulli, Sor and Giuliani.
Batucada has been around for some years now having been written by the great Brasilian teacher/guitarist Isaias Savio. I first heard the piece at a Milos concert last year. Here is a great version by Brassilian born guitarist Carlos Barbarosa Lima. A Batucada is a Brasilian dance often played in a group and forms part […]
The music Girl from Ipanema (also known as Garota De Ipanema) was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim in the 1962. This song became an international hit by the mid 1960s after it was recordeed by Stan Getz with Joao Gilberto on guitar and his wife Astrud on vocals.
The Phrygian mode is one of the main flamenco modes. It basically consists of the notes of the A minor scale starting on E. To add tension I also play G# on the 3rd string. This is very common in Spanish guitar. What are modes? A scale will generally consist of seven notes. There […]
The Soleares is one of the fundamental flamenco forms. Here are some basic facts about about the Solea or Soleares: Compas 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (accent on bold numbers) Originated in the mid 1800s Share the same compas as Allegris and Buleria Use the Phrygian Mode in E major […]
I spend a lot of time explaining my take on correct right hand classical guitar technique. In truth there is no one correct way but here we can go over the basic ideas. I will also show some examples of different players’ right hands and what I like about them. 1. The arm sits on […]
It’s as important to think about how to practice is what to practice. You will become efficient at learning new guitar music if you follow a simple and effective process. I have outlined below the one I use with many of my guitar students. Be sure to have a metronome with you and give yourself […]
We’re going to talk about how to hold a classical guitar, I prefer to use a footstool though sometimes you can get a device that will help you hold the guitar in a certain way, the main thing is that you should get the neck of the guitar reasonably high. this will assist your […]
Documentary about Paco (Parts 1 to 6)
Here’s my ultimate guitar practice breakdown. These are the things you should cover when you practice. I have also included a rough percentage of time that you should spend on them. I find that it’s easy to get into bad habits when practising. These can include overplaying, poor technique, practising too fast, and avoiding some […]