Lesson: Prelude No.1 by Villa-Lobos

Lesson: Prelude No.1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) for Classical Guitar – It’s a 30min video lesson so here’s the outline. The main thing I discuss is the form of the piece but my video lesson is laid out in this format:

  1. I give a brief overview of the piece in terms of a large two sections (A section and B section)
  2. I break down the A and B section into smaller chunks. For the A section: the three statements of the melody and linking parts. The B section is a bit more straight forward.
  3. I then give a walkthrough of every bar of the piece to discuss fingering, technique, and musical considerations. This starts at 8:05 in the video.

Sheet Music: Villa-Lobos Collected Guitar Solos (Eshig) via Amazon. I also encourage you to look up the facsimile in his hand which is floating around online. That said, the Eshig is how the piece is played in general so always good to have a copy of that. After close inspection the Zigante edition fingering is just not doing it for me. There is very little fingering in the Eshig, which is great actually but students might find the video helpful in this regard.

Prelude No. 1 is from a set of 5 preludes written by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. The piece is in is in E minor, and is the first of the five preludes, written in 1940. This piece follows a ternary form which consists of a slow, yearning A section in E minor. The B section is more upbeat and lively in the key of E major.

Level – I’d call this late-intermediate or maybe early-advanced. The RCM puts this at grade 8 but I’m going say grade 9 because it can really benefit from the extra technique a more advanced students can apply to it. That said, the majority of the piece is fairly straight forward and it’s easy to memorize the piece so I use it often to boost students to a new level.

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