Latest Lessons

Lagrima & Adelita

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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Advanced BeginnerAdvanced Beginner
  • 85 Min
  • 13 Videos
  • Edition 1

The word Lágrima means tear. Francisco Tarrega wrote this piece between 1889-1909, the exact date never having been catalogued. It is his most played piece and many times given as a beginner piece for people starting to play the guitar. However, as easy as the opening bars are, there are some quite challenging passages which involve bar chords and half bar chords that are not easily executed.

There are two stories that are said to have inspired the writing of Lágrima. The first: It is said to have been written while Tárrega was touring in London, and that the English fog and overall lousy weather were at the root of it. The second: It was written as an homage to his daughter’s passing. Either way, the melancholic and delicate characters of this piece is ideal for learning the fundamentals of romantic phrasing and rubato on the classical guitar. You will learn about tone production, sustaining the notes in a lyrical way and the right vibrato. If you are an advanced-beginner to an intermediate level guitarist, this is an ideal piece for you to have under your belt especially for entertaining friends at a party as well as a great encore in a concert.

Adelita and Lagrima have always made a perfect pair. They fall in a unique category of their own in the sense that they are both "simple" miniature pieces but are by no means on a beginner level. Adelita is slightly more challenging than Lagrima due to its tricky B section where we have some tough bar chords and stretches for the left hand.

A very poetic and romantic piece in nature, titled as a Mazurka, a Polish dance in origin, usually quite up-beat, is somewhat sending a mixed message by having the tempo marking set at Lento. Some believe playing it too slowly gives it a completely different meaning and feel, taking it away from the natural character of the Mazurka. This is also an ideal piece to learn about romantic phrasing and rubato. The guitar repertoire is hard pressed to find pieces that pay their respects to the great composers that did not write for the guitar such as Frederick Chopin, Piotr Illich Tchaikovsky and Franz Schubert. We can hear the echoes of these giants in Adelita but in an intimate setting transmitted with the natural poetry of the guitar.

In this lesson you will learn about phrasing, tone production and interpretation in the romantic style. Since the realm of interpretation is not a science, but an art form, this lesson will set you on the path of looking and thinking about romantic music in a way that will allow you to explore your own ideas, after having grasped the main principles. There are some challenging hammer-ons and pull-offs for an advanced-beginner level player that require diligent and patient practice, but they will pay off in the way of advancing your technique.

Tremolo Technique

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 93 Min
  • 16 Videos
  • Edition 1

The technique of tremolo whether a 3-note or a 4-note, is one of the hallmarks of a professional guitarist. Considered an advanced skill, it is a technique that demonstrates refinement, control and lyricism in one’s playing.

The classical tremolo is a 3-note tremolo i.e. p,a,m,i (not including the thumb) and is found in some of the most iconic and memorable pieces such as Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega, Una Limosna para el Amor de Dios and Sueño en la Floresta by Austin Barrios.

The flamenco tremolo is a 4-note tremolo (not including the thumb), i.e. p,i,a,m,i the extra note in the flamenco tremolo makes for a slower moving melody line and allows for a more rubato phrasing. Typically used in the slow and free forms of Taranta, Granaina, Minera, but also in a slower rhythmic form such as a Soleá.

In this lesson, you will learn how to play both the classical tremolo and the flamenco tremolo, where you will get very specific techniques and methods of how to develop your fluidity, accuracy, control and tone quality whilst playing a tremolo piece. If you’ve never done tremolo before, or have limited experience with this technique and have struggled with it for some time, this lesson is recommended before you get the lesson on Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

Capricho Arabe

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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IntremediateIntermediate
  • 81 Min
  • 12 Videos
  • Edition 1

Capricho Arabe is yet another iconic piece by Francisco Tarrega (1852 – 1909) that has captured the imagination of guitarists and audiences alike. A unique haunting melody full of poetic yet subtle drama inspired by the Moorish influence on the Spanish culture, it is drenched in a fair amount of European romanticism. A humble yet sublime melody caresses our ears after a rather dramatic and attention-capturing beginning. The first melody, being in D minor, is charged with melancholy and sadness that tugs at the heart. The second theme, which modulates to F major, and the third theme in D major, gives us but a brief respite and a momentary sense of optimism, climaxing into the inevitable pain of the first theme in D minor, challenging the performer to tell the same story one more time but from a different space in your heart.

This expressive formula follows the lines of the Romantic era, even though this piece was written towards the end of it. We can clearly hear the influences of the great romantic composers, especially Frederic Chopin, whispering in Tárrega’s ear, but in miniature and idiomatically adapted to the intimacy of the classical guitar.

It takes a certain maturity to play this piece with the required innocence and purity. In this lesson you will learn a lot about phrasing, rubato, articulation, expressivity and control. All the difficult passages will be broken down and explained in detail. Also, from a technical standpoint you will benefit from learning to play a melody with a rich and full sound whilst holding a solid yet melodic baseline.

Bulerias Studies 2

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
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AdvanceAdvanced
  • 104 Min
  • 21 Videos
  • Edition 1

Bulerías is arguably the most popular and beloved form in flamenco because of its exciting and fiery rhythm and feel. Jerez is considered the birthplace of the Bulerías and the Jerezanos are very proud of this marvelous tradition. Bulerías is the most played form in social gatherings known as Juergas; for the flamencos it is their sacred ritual of human and social expression.

This Bulerias Studies 2 features several new compás patterns, remates as well as five falsetas that you can perform as part of a solo composition or accompanying singers and dancers. These falsetas cover a range of technical difficulties and styles.

Falseta 1 is Adam del Monte’s personal view of a classic and famous falseta by Moraito Chico from Jerez who was a great Master of Bulerías. Falseta 2 is a perfect “safe place” to have under your belt ready to fire at any time. Played with all thumb, this falseta is fun, easy and enjoyable to play. It’s also a great way to practice your thumb-melody. It’s a traditional falseta that will never go out of style when played in Juergas, or flamenco party-jams, for a cantaor or as a solo. Falseta 3, is the longest and most complex of the falsetas in this study. This falseta takes advantage of many mechanisms, giving you a variety of textures and types of phrases. In this falseta you’ll have the opportunity to practice going from thumb-playing to semi-alza púa to arpeggio and rasgueado. This falseta is perfect for a solo in Bulerías. Falsetas 4 & 5 are inspired by Adamdel Monte’s teacher Pepe Habichuela. A simple thumb phrase but full of flavor, combined with some very cool alza-púa technique which help make this falseta a classic to have in your pocket. The remate is Adam del Monte’s own and it uses the chaflanes technique for extra power at the end.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra

By: Adam del Monte

New lesson
Recuerdos-de-la-Alhambra-0212_00_06_40_21-Small.jpg
IntremediateIntermediate
  • 75 Min
  • 12 Videos
  • Edition 1

Recuerdos de la Alhambra is without a doubt the most famous and popular tremolo piece ever written. The evocative magic by this haunting melodic line with the subtle yet eloquent baseline has become a classic amongst guitarists of all levels as well as aficionados of the instrument and the public at large.

The technique of tremolo is a succession of three notes (3-hit for the classical guitar and 4-hit for the flamenco guitar) played repeatedly on the same string preceded by a base note, thus creating the illusion of a sustained melody on the guitar. This is one of the more advanced skills and a great challenge for any guitarist. In recent years, Recuerdos de la Alhambra has often become a favorite encore piece due to its easily digestible melody and the romantic mood. The Granada composer and icon, Manuel de Falla once said that the only example one needed to understand and feel the beauty of the guitar would be to listen to Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

According to historical documents, Francisco Tarrega (1852 – 1909) was on a tour with his student Doña Concha Gómez de Jacoby, a wealthy aristocrat who inherited her fortunes and became an avid fan and a follower of Tárrega. It is said that at their visit to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, as the evening fell, he got the initial inspiration for the melody which he then later completed. In the original unpublished version of this tremolo piece that he dedicated to Doña Concha, Tarrega wrote “Since I can’t offer you a gift of greater value on the day of your saint, accept this, my poor little poetic note and impression of what my soul felt before the great marvel of the Alhambra we admired together in Granada”.

In this lesson you get an in-depth explanation of the interpretation and the phrases as well as the analysis of the dynamics. You are also given the keys and the solutions on how to get the difficult phrases to flow comfortably. If you are new to tremolo or you are not confident about your technique, we encourage you to sign up for Tremolo Technique first where you get an in depth study and a step-by-step set of instructions and exercises on both classical and flamenco tremolo techniques.

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