Who would of thought that voice-leading is present in a piece like Study No. 1 from Carcassi's Twenty-Five Melodious and Progressive Studies, Op. 60? After all, isn't it just a bunch of scales and arpeggios? That is what I thought going into this analysis and was surprised to find an underlying linear structure that holds this piece together. Open the pdf below and we will get right to it.

Notice how the first note of the descending scales (after the bass note) in the opening three measures outlines the tonic arpeggio C-E-G (dotted slurs in reduction staff). Bar four is V/V preceding the next (dominant) arpeggio in measures five through eight (G-B-D) before the return to the C in measure nine.

So far Carcassi has laid out the tonic and dominant arpeggios with intervening scale passages. Now the most interesting linear motion begins in measure nine.

Beginning with the C in the upper voice in measure ten, trace the descending and ascending lines shown in the reduction staff.

MM. 10-14

Upper voice C moves step-wise down to A introducing relative minor key of A minor by way of its dominant (E7) in measure eleven.

MM.  14-17

Upper voice A returns to C as well as returning to the home key of C major with the G7 harmony implied in measure fifteen and sixteen. I consider the F# a chromatic lower-neighbor to the G as the F-natural sounds at the end of measure sixteen giving us the true dominant (G7) harmony.

MM. 17-21

Upper voice ascends to E introducing key of E minor (iii) conclusively with the B7 chord in measure twenty resolving to E minor in measure twenty-one.

MM. 21-27

Upper voice first ascends to F-natural in measure twenty-two (G7) before descending to A in measure twenty-five through the descending sequential line and linear intervallic pattern 3-5-3-5-3 shown. This is the first and only occurrence of the subdominant (measure twenty-five) in the entire piece.

We then ascend back to D in measure twenty-six and twenty-seven (ii-V) before returning to tonic (C) in measure twenty-nine.

The next five measures are problematic in terms of the voice-leading. We can see that Carcassi connects the triads G to C to G in measures twenty-nine and thirty (as well as in measure thirty-three) moving all the voices in parallel motion, as he outlines the tonic C major arpeggio shown with dotted slurs. This results in parallel fifths and octaves as shown, which was verboten. He could have corrected this easily if he had written mm. 29-31 like this for example:

Alternate measures 29-31 

The only reason for this that I can figure is he possibly ignored proper voice-leading in favor of working on the technical issue of shifting smoothly. It's not like he didn't know what he was doing and as if to prove it, writes perfectly fine voice-leading in the following four bars (mm. 34-37). This is one thing that distinguishes Carcassi from Fernando Sor. Sor would never sacrifice voice-leading for technical reasons. The music always came first with Sor.

Once again I have found structures that went completely unnoticed in a piece I have played for decades. I guess that doesn't say much for my power of intuition.







March 20, 2014 @04:24 am
Tony Hyman
Great work John. I couldn't wait to to climb in on this one with you.The age old "Oh I know this one" springs to mind. The sub-dominat F bar 25 I feel lends itself to a colourful campanelas(bell-chimes) effect with the B ringing over the root C ,allowing for natural over ring.I suppose the B could be a passing note or possible a the chord of F aug 4 ,for want of a funky name. Very nteresting as you say regarding the comparison between the the approaches adopted by Sor and Carcassi pertaining to harmony in from bar 29 with those rather "non permisible leaps " Lovelock Harmony point of view adopted by Carcassi. I think Carcassi used those particular voicings as a mere marketing angle to establish common ground between accompaniets who played or played chords by name as most of us jammers do today involuntarily merely pressing chords as we see them regardless of the fine harmonic detail.Kieth Richards no disrespect intented, comes to mind Imagine Satisfaction done any other way , worrying about concecutive 5ths and 8cts and all that.Any piest seasoned rocker worth his salt would agree with Kieth ,Im sure. What Im saying is that Carcassi is merely making accompaniests feel at home in the cg world with the "I can dooo this approach"Gummy Bears .Letting the player not getting to hung up about reading standard notation , but rather moving from the known to discover the unknown at the price of forfitting harmonic rules as an introduction. Sor's perspective, from his Method on this matter he explains as follows his reasons regarding accompaniment. "At first Itook up this instrument merely as an instrument of accompaniment but from the age of sixteen years I was shocked to hear it said by those who professed to have but little talent, 'I only play accompaniment.' I knew that a good accompaniment supposes in the first place a good bass, chords adapted to it, and movements as much as possible approximating those of an orchestral score or those of the piano forte.' Carcassi also knew all that as you say John but I believe Carcassi merely wanted to sell his stuff like any person would in a hurly burly dog eat dog world of fair compitition.Lts face it Carcassi dose make any player feel at home and under the fingers thats why he still sells today I believe, whether for official grading or merely having fun on the guitar, purposes.The same gose for Sor from his perspective.Once again thanks John.

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