Recuerdos de la Alhambra (The Killing Fields) by Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909)
Exercise (pami) Tremolo
Tárrega is considered to have laid the foundations for 20th century classical guitar and for increasing interest in the guitar as a recital instrument. Tárrega preferred small intimate performances over the concert stage. Some believe this was because he played without the nails needed for volume. Others say this was related to his childhood trauma.
This is one of the most popular tunes of Tarrega. Mike Oldfield did an arrangement of Recuerdos de la Alhambra for the soundtrack of the film “The Killing Fields”. Recuerdos de la Alhambra” is globally known and it features the glimmering tremolo technique (pami). Tremolo is a musical idea that comes from the mandolin family of instruments. As the player plays the tremolo with the a, m and i fingers, the thumb plays a nostalgic melody in a contrapuntal style. There are not many tremolo songs around that i am aware of. Other than this brillant piece, I know Barrios has a couple of highly challenging tremolo songs: “Un Sueño En La Floresta” and “El Ultimo Tremolo” (Una Limosnita por el Amor de Dios). Tremolo songs are not only rare but are strictly made for guitar. It’s hard to duplicate the tremolo effect on the piano with the last 3 notes being the same. A piano tremolo will sound odd.
57 Bars. AABBC. Andante. Tremolo.
Play AABBC. Part A twice then Part B twice with different endings and finally Coda (C).
The song features the special tremolo technique (pami) for the right hand. Tremolo pattern P(ami): Thumb followed by the same 3 notes (ring-middle-index) played over and over again. Vary the volume during tremolo for a more expressive delivery.
Bar Whenever a LH stretch appears, it must be followed by a LH contraction. The left hand must always be evenly balanced. Both stretches and contractions are performed with the participation of the wrist arm and shoulder. Bar Part A. There is a series of shifting barre chords on the high frets.
Bar has a double barre chord. Hold Barre with index as usual while simultaneously flatten your pinky to barre the higher notes.
Give it some time to build tremolo speed. Start Slow and build speed gradually. To practice, I normally mute the strings and play endlessly watching television. After a while, your brain attunes itself and automatically you can play the pattern at will and with authority. Feel the string with every strike. To vary speed and sound evenness, experiment on planting the sweeping fingers differently on the string. Once you have acquired the tremolo skill, you can use it on any given chords providing an uplifting and glimmering melody.