We are pleased to bring you another tutorial from our friends at EliteGuitarist. The Allegro Solemne is a toccata-style fast movement that demands the highest amount of focus, agility and technical prowess. In this tutorial Ines Thome seeks to take away the intimidation factor that guitarists may experience before tackling this piece. She breaks down the entire piece bar by bar and provides detailed instruction on right hand arpeggio techniques, left hand fingerings, and the overall musical direction of the various sections in the piece. Whether you are an advanced player or a an aspiring advanced player, there is something for everyone in this tutorial.
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I have always enjoyed playing it. In order to understand this piece a bit better I decided to do a harmonic analysis. As is always the case I discovered harmonic relationships that I did not notice in the read through. I would like to discuss in more detail some of the more interesting features. The piece is in B minor and other than the slight excursion into the relative major D in measures and measures with a cadence in D major, the piece pretty much stays in B minor.
I think I expected more in the way of harmonic development for some reason. The harmony is quite traditional and straightforward using a rather conservative approach for the period which may have been intentional as the piece was inspired by J. Not to say that Bach was conservative with his harmony in any way; it just seems as if Barrios avoided some of the more adventurous Romantic harmonic tendencies.
Section one mm. Note how he sometimes approaches the dominant F major chromatically from below in this section with the fourth degree E ascending to E and then to F dominant.
He accomplishes this with two different harmonies. First with the traditional secondary leading-tone diminished triad as in measure seventeen and with the augmented sixth chord in measure forty-seven, although in this case only the interval of an augmented sixth is present in inversion. At first I assumed these two were the same until I took a closer look. Since many of these harmonies are implied I thought the presence of the G natural along with the E strongly implied the augmented sixth chord whereas in the other instances, where the G is not present, the E bass along with the other tones seemed to imply a diminished triad.
Section two mm. The resulting succession of first inversion triads are usually not considered a chord progression and so were not indicated as such. The important feature is the parallel descending tenths that connect the tonic and the dominant. Again we get that brief chromatic approach to the dominant in measure seventy-nine and again in measure eighty-three with both the secondary leading-tone and augmented sixth chords as we had in the previous section.
Section three mm. Section four mm. The use of the German augmented sixth chord mm. It was this that caught my attention on first hearing this piece and I had no idea what it was at the time.
Barrios uses this harmony, as it has been used traditionally, as dominant preparation. It usually precedes the dominant or the tonic chord. The interval of an augmented sixth contained in this harmony resolves in contrary motion to an octave, which in this case is the root of the dominant harmony.
We have discussed this chord in detail in previous articles. Please refer to the Sor Op. There is also a very nice circle of fifths progression which begins in measure on the dominant F and works its way back to the dominant, completing a circle in measure Of course there is one diminished fifth in this sequence in order to remain diatonic and not leave the home key. The final section mm.
Harmonically this creates a series of chords which include a secondary dominant, a borrowed major IV chord and an augmented sixth chord as shown in the analysis. The idea of borrowing chords from the parallel major in a minor key is less common than the other way around. This E major triad can also be thought of as a diatonic IV chord generated by the ascending B melodic minor scale.
The chromatic voice-leading is what is most important here and not so much how we rationalize the scale source. The chord is simply a bi-product of the voice-leading. This is an important thing to realize especially when dealing with nineteenth and twentieth century harmonic practice. Once again I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I have and find it useful in better understanding this great composition. The pdf file below contains the score and the analysis for your use. More to come with the analysis of the Preludio and Andante religioso.
Click here to support this site. Thank you John John Imust disagree with bars 14 and 82 in your score. I see both as C m7b5 which is the natural 7th chord in both major and relative minor scales of Dmajor. The C m7b5 flows well as a leading note chord in quartal harmony from the D in bar I cant hear or see the A7 as written. The same notes happen again in bar 82 where it is written as a dimished in your score.
I see and hear a distinct difference between the F 7b9 and the C m7b5 which I am convinced it is intended to be.
Once again thanks for your efforts John. Influences, 21 Intermediate Etudes for Guitar. Back to all posts. Thanks for posting these. Have you done one with the middle movement? Add comment.
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