A thorough understanding of the higher positions of the guitar is essential for playing more advanced repertoire. Unfortunately, this is often one of the last things guitarists work at improving… The main difficulties to be encountered in this piece are the many chords in unfamiliar positions. 7th-, 8th- and 9th-position barres occur frequently, especially in the major section, and will take time to master.
Chords and progressions beyond the fifth fret are fairly uncommon in beginners’ pieces, so this area of the neck receives a lot less practice and remains largely ‘uncharted territory’ for many classical guitarists. Lack of familiarity with
There are many things that you can do to improve knowledge of the higher positions.
Try to develop an understanding of where the same notes lie on different strings – for instance G# on the 4th fret of the 1st string is the same pitch as G# at the 9th fret of the 2nd string and the 13th fret of the 3rd string. The notes at the 12th fret are the same as the open strings. Notes on the 6th string are the same as those on the 1st string only two octaves lower. I’m sure most people who have started learning the guitar have noticed these and other relations between the notes on the guitar, but it is
one thing to know them and another to apply them. A full understanding of these points will improve your grasp of the fretboard and enable you to navigate it with much greater ease.
This lovely miniature, a mazurka entitled Adelita by Francisco Tarrega, is a romantic character piece and affords the perfect opportunity to explore some of the upper reaches of the fretboard. Tarrega was a master at providing fingerings that produce truly astounding sonorities on the guitar. Even if at first glance they seem strange, illogical or awkward there is always reason for them: to help with chord changes, to separate different voices or perhaps just for the sound quality of a particular note on a particular string.
Often in classical guitar music you find ‘hidden fingerings'; these are difficult to notate in the score, but arc generally a preparation for what comes next and are intended to make things easier. Photo 1 is a good example of a hidden fingering. Here, in the 1st beat of bar 1, the 4th finger is on the 12th fret of the first string, the 3rd finger is on the 11th fret and the 1st finger is on the 9th fret. The 1st finger is not required to play the 9th fret C# but placing this finger on the first string makes finding the 7th fret B, which it plays on the 2nd beat, a lot easier. Photo 2 shows a similar idea. Again in bar 1, this time the G on the 2nd string and E on the 3rd siring are placed during the 2nd beat in preparation for when they are played on the 3rd beat. The chord change between bars 19 and 20 is probably the most difficult part of the whole piece. Photo 3 shows the chord on the 3rd beat of bar 19. Photo 4 shows the second half of the 3rd beat. Here it is important to play the C# on the 9th fret of the first string with the 3rd finger. This will make the move into the chord on the 1st beat of bar 20 much smoother – note also the first finger moving to cover the 6th string, again preparation for the next chord, see Photo 5.
See you next time.
Tarrega also composed a “Mazurka in G” and one entitled “Marieta”. These are very similar in style to “Adelita” and all three are often performed together.
Photo 1 – Hidden Fingering
Photo 2 – Be Prepared. Fret G and E in preparation for the third beat
Photo 3 – Beat Three. Fretting the chord in bar 19
Photo 4 – Second half. Play the C# on the 9th fret with the third finger
Photo 5 – Covered. The first finger should move to cover the 6th string
It’s a part of Francisco Tarrega Adelita sheet music and guitar tab.
Through the link below you can download a full transcription of
Francisco Tarrega Adelita with full track
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