Strength and Accuracy for the Guitarist


Your Weekly Dexterity and Stamina Exercise

Updated October 28, 2004


There's Something Here for Everyone!

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx





Okay, so after last week's exercise, I got bitten by the bug to look through the standard repertoire for goodies. And you knew I'd find one!

One of my all-time favorite pieces is the d minor Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach. Albert Valdes-Blain told me that no guitarist should play this piece in a recital until they'd reached their fortieth birthday. He felt a younger man couldn't possibly have built up the emotional 'bank account' to successfully impart anything to the music. My personal opinion? I don't believe any player will successfully find, interpret and deliver the full range of emotional content Bach wrote into this piece. It is a masterwork, some argue the one of the brightest lights of Western culture.

The Chaconne is a set of variations stemming from a brooding, dark theme crafted from a series of three and four note chords. Originally written for the violin, the violinist dreads the chordal variations and runs through the scale stuff. The guitarist breaths a sigh of relief on the chordal stuff and sweats the scales! One man's poison... Well, about two pages into the Segovia edition we find the first brutally quick scale passages. Due to the complexity of the implied harmonies in these melodic runs, the guitarist must articulate every note. Each note is a gem set by a master. This is not a chance to show off chops, it is an opportunity to touch souls!

Please note the drop D tuning. Practice this passage slowly and with an open ear. The harmonies are simply spectacular. As with all exercises I've given you, practice slowly and cleanly with high articulation. Feel free to play with different fingerings and string voicings. A metronome will come in very handy!

You can see plainly that I've messed with Segovia's work. This is what works for me; it doesn't mean that's the way you have to perform the passage. Find a copy of the violin score and note the legato markings. You know, whenever you learn a piece transcribed from another instrument's repertoire, go back tot he original score and check it out. You may see something that the transcriber missed.

Once again, you can find a rendition edited by Eythor Thorlaksson of the Icelandic Guitar School on that website. [As I've written before, this is a great site for free sheet music downloads and other information of merit. Visit it!] Harry Pellegrin performs weddings and gallery openings in the Capital Area!

  LOW END  By Harry George Pellegrin.  The first in the Gary Morrissey series of mysteries.  Dealing with modern subject matter in the classic style of the 1940's Mystery Noire masters--think Raymond Chandler in New York in the 1980's...  LOW END is the story of a drug addict who is murdered after he believes he has found evidence of a major government conspiracy.  Is it only drug-induced paranoia?  Might be, except his paranoia could be considered justified: he was murdered, after all.  Friend Gary Morrissey takes it upon himself to find out just what happened and lands himself in the crosshairs.
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Classic Guitar Method  Composed, written, transcribed, edited and arranged by Harry G. Pellegrin: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.
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DEEP END: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz  By Harry George Pellegrin. A mystery novel. Involving a semi-professional musician and a Kreyol death cult, DEEP END takes the reader from the bottom of Long Island Sound to the steamy streets and Blues clubs of New Orleans. Alternative spirituality does battle with the common working man.  Published by PAB Entertainment Group in association with
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Reflecting Pools    Original Music by Harry G. Pellegrin:
Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track...

"...Reflecting Pools is a notable first album [for Mr. Pellegrin]. A dramatic sense of tonality and mood are propelled by exemplary musicianship and exciting compositional exploits."

Available through

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or

In That Zone, is now out! Please visit for details and to order.

See the info page on this site...

Enjoy these exercises and come back next week for more!.

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