Portuguese Guitarra Lesson (continued)

Fado Menor in D minor

8. Now I will present some variations based on a Fado Corrido in D minor (usually simply called Fado Menor) and, on the next page, variations on Fado Corrido in D major (usually simply called Fado maior). I have transposed these pieces from the original pieces which were in F minor and F major. I have made the transpositions because the original pieces were written in obsolete tunings. Whereas the Lisbon guitarra is now usually tuned D, A, B, e, a, b (6th to 1st course) at the beginning of the 20th century is was tuned in a number of other ways. The pieces I have transposed were written for an "F" fado tuning which was F, C, D, g, c, d.

These pieces feature traditional accompaniment patterns and typical sounding melodies. You should carefully study these arpeggio accompaniment patterns because they are still the most common pattern used by guitarists. There are only a few chords used in these pieces but if you learn them slowly your fingers will start to become accustom to the typical left hand finerging patterns. These pieces were set down in an 16-page method booklet published in the beginning of the 20th century--the author, publisher, date and exact place of publication are unknown.

Here are a few points about this first transcription. Please notice that the piece begins with 3 lead in notes and that the down beat (that is, the first strongly accented note) is the 4th note--the first note of the first full measure. It is very important that you learn and feel the placement of this first strong beat because it will give you an insight into the phrasing and structure of this kind of music.

I have made a few suggestions for the right hand. Take note of these suggestions because they may help you with the phrasing of the piece. Remember, the ease of playing is greatly affected by whether you use the index finger or thumb in particular places.

In the Lisbon style, "free" strokes would be used throughout for both the thumb and index. In contrast, a Coimbra technique for this piece would use rest strokes. A rest stroke is a technique in which the finger tip crosses the course of strings (a "course" is made of 2 strings) and comes to rest on the next "course". A "free" stroke is a technique in which the fingertip crosses the course of strings and does not come to rest on the adjacent strings. I have not indicated upstrokes (with front of finger) or downstrokes (with back of nail) because I am currently rethinking my own approach to these pieces. I would greatly appreciate comments from other players about how they think these pieces should be approached. For example, where should up and down strokes be used? Why should each type of stroke be used in particular places?


To continue Portuguese Guitarra Lesson, press here

To see Portuguese Guitarras for sale, press here

 Return to Table of Contents on the Home Page