Strength and Accuracy for the Guitarist


Your Weekly Dexterity and Stamina Exercise

Updated December 23, 2004


There's Something Here for Everyone!

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx


As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit and rebuild America!


Keep an Eye on My Cows

(Guardame Las Vacas)

A Brief Diatribe on the Performance of Transcribed Music

Another practical app. discussion actually, but it does highlight the importance/desirability of a decent apoyando technique. Written for the Vihuela de Mano by Luis Narvaez sometime around the formation of the earth, this little piece is another encore staple, often used by Segovia in his later years as an early music selection for his program.

Guardame Las Vacas translates from Spanish to English as "Watch the Cows" and in format is a theme and variations. Once again, this transcription from vihuela tablature to standard notation was photocopied for me by Albert Blain back in the early 1970's. Julio Prol did the transcription (as you can easily see.) I do not know who the publisher was or if this edition is still in print.

Please note Sr. Prol's right hand fingering. I usually start on m and alternate from there as my m is a bit stronger than my a. I apoyando the e in measure one, the d in measure two and the c,b,c,d melody in measure three -- to me, those are the pitches that deserve a stronger accent. I achieve this by using apoyando on these notes and free stroke on the rest. It is a nice subtle accent, not a jarring earthquake. Try the theme this way, using apoyando to accent the notes YOU feel are worthy (as I am not pushing my ideas on interpretation here, just trying to help the player realize his or her interpretive ideas.)

In the days of my youth, many of the 'brighter' lights of academia frowned upon using apoyando when playing lute and vihuela music on the guitar. It was espoused that as the technique did not exist (or remained unreported) during the period of popularity of these instruments. I can understand the mechanics of why these people made this type of claim, but I didn't and still don't see any validity in it. Hell, if you can't use guitar technique to play a lute piece on the guitar, why play it on the guitar? If you can't use the guitar's techniques, then don't play it on the guitar, play it on the lute! Ridiculous! Next time I play Bach's Chaconne, remind me to use a bow!.

Now with that said, I find I must be very careful when playing my lute to avoid using apoyando on my first course. When playing the lute or vihuela, use the proper technique. Likewise, when playing the guitar, use guitar technique. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Anyway, enjoy this little piece, as overplayed as it's been, it is still a nice diversion.

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


The Classic Guitar Method: 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.

With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

Published by PAB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2369 Scotia, New York 12302

Please go to to order.

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