Étude I - Right Hand Practice Variations

I recall John Williams comments about preparing for a concert tour by using the famous Étude I to condition his hands. We know it well but how often can it be repeated before growing stale beneath our fingers? This is a way to enliven and elaborate one of the foundation pieces of our repertoire during practice sessions. The concept requires using alternative patterns for the arpeggiated right hand fingerings and thus playing the entire étude in a new way. Hearing the new patterns reveals Villa-Lobos' genius because the chord harmonies and basic structure are preserved.

The first measure given below is the Étude I original pattern. For practice, substitute the second measure (variation) pattern through the entire étude; then the third, etc. Play original measures 24 and 25 as written; rubato may be necessary to bend the meter so the alternative pattern blends with "as written" measures. The same is true when approaching the last three original measures which are preserved to complete the practice étude. 

There are other ways to expand this exercise (aside from making up more patterns!): Begin a variation in the middle of the measure, and play from mid-point to mid-point before advancing to the next mid-measure/pattern. It's confusing at first but soon you'll catch the wave. In a similar spirit, since each measure is repeated, switch to another variation (or the original pattern) the second time through. There are many possibilities.  

This is intended for practice and amusement, not to replace public performance of Étude I in the published form. If anyone has other patterns or suggestions please email:  rogluthier@aol.com Above all else, have fun with these variations!

Roger Thurman

(This graphic was created by Richard Yates.  See links to his music site listed below.)

Special Thanks to Richard Yates for placing this in Finalé. Visit Richard's excellent classsical guitar sheet music site which has ample free downloadable transciptions as well as complete volumes for sale:  http://www.YatesGuitar.com

Click Here ...for Thurman Guitar Home Page.

© Roger G. Thurman 1998-2002

All material on this this website is protected under international copyright law and as such is prevented from being used for any other purpose without express written approval

Thurman Guitar & Violin Repair, Inc.
900 Franklin Av.
Kent OH 44240
Toll Free: 888-803-8693