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Notes on Carcassi Op. 60 No. 1

David Raleigh Arnold

Adding the staccato marks which Carcassi left out might be a good idea.

Op. 60:1 is very unusual if not unique in the literature. I don't know of any other etude written entirely with the specific purpose of practicing staccato with right hand finger muting.

There are two proofs that all eighth notes which are not final should be staccato:

  1. Carcassi's marking: staccato. While there can be no doubt that staccato meant cutting the note in half as a practical matter, there could be doubt whether a dot or a wedge should be used as an indicator.
  2. The scale runs are in 8th notes, two per beat, which is twice as slow as you would expect for a non-beginner. Compare the Carcassi “scales” and No. 14.

The best RH fingering I have found is to alternate “i” and “a”, starting with “i”, on any of the 1st three strings and use “m” to move to a different string. Each note can then be muted by “i” or “a”. The thumb mutes its own notes except when descending from an open string, in which case “i” mutes it.

Arpeggio parts are fingered “tima”. The basses which are not 8ths or which are finals of course sustain, so it's “t” “ia” “mi” “am”.

This etude is very specialized and very difficult. If you're looking for something more typical, try No. 14. Both are excellent practice.

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