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GF Hendel Passacaille

GF Häendel, "Passacaille"

Fingering: Renato Bellucci

Handel is in my opinion Bach twin on all fronts. Let alone that they were contemporary and knew of each other, both hand an intimate personal relationship with our Lord and their music reflect this in every measure that they composed.

I can still remember the day I first heard this marvelous work. I was a newly wed driving near the Paraguay River with my wife and I put the CD in the car stereo... the masterworks played by David Russell followed each other in an endless procession of beauty but it wasn't until I heard the marvelous Handel's Passacaille that I was totally taken with joy and beauty. Learning the piece has since been on my "to do list" and I decided to work it in this past Summer while vacationing in Uruguay. Today I decided to finally make videos, animations and develop the online masterclass for the work. I just uploaded the first staff with video and David Russell's amazing rendition of the work from 1989 (Baroque Music 1989 GHA, Belgium - 126006) A perfect work in the hands of a true master of the guitar.

Passacaglia (In Spanish: Pasacalle; Italian: Passacaglia) derives from the Spanish pasar -to walk- and calle -street-. It first appeared in the 17th century. It is a interlude between instrumentally accompanied dances or songs. Despite its Spanish roots, the first Passacaglias are found in Italy around 1600. These pieces, are simple, brief sequences of chords outlining a cadential formula which is the best scenario to embark on a variational project.

One of the Greatest Variations ever Written

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Staff and Video 1

The slides with finger 1 and finger 4 in measures 1, 2 and 3 will help us secure the left hand in the swift changes of position. The F chord in measure 2 is prepared in the air as you approach the third position. A Lever will help you list C1 momentarily in measure 3 (More on Pivots & Levers here) and I encourage you to use the base of finger 1 for the F-G change at the end of measure 3. Relax the left hand prior to lifting the fingers off the fingerboard and use fijación (fixation) to lift the fingers perpendicularly off the fingerboard and avoid all string squeaks. More on Fijación here.

Animation: Relax & Make the Chord in the Air
GF Hendel Passacaille Animation Relax  Make the Chord in the Air

2 essential elements of playing are brought about here: 1) Relax the left hand so as to release tension and lift the left hand fingers perpendicularly from the fingerboard so as to avoid string squeaks. 2) Prepare the chord in the air as you approach the new position of the fingerboard.

Animation: Lever
GF Hendel Passacaille Animation Lever

Pivots & Levers are essential elements of guitar playing that you will see me mention over and over through the masterclasses on mangore.com. They allow us to use fijación more efficiently thus allowing us to minimize string noise and make the best use of the playing apparatus by allowing us to use more efficient muscle groups. More on Fijación here.

Animation: Use the Base of Finger 1
GF Hendel Passacaille Animation Use the Base of Finger 1

It comes in very handy to use the base of finger 1 when bending the finger in the traditional manner creates unnecessary tension or waste of time. See finger 1 as having 2 tips: one is the conventional tip and the other is the point where the finger is attached to the palm of the hand.

Video 1 With Slow Motion
Asunción, June 16, 2014
Updated: Asunción, June 26, 2014
Updated: Asunción, June 27, 2014 (Finale)

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