El Ultimo Tremolo (Una Limosnita por el Amor de Dios) by Agustin Barrios (1885-1944)
Exercise (pami) Tremolo
Barrios’s compositions can be divided into three basic categories: folkloric, imitative and religious. Barrios paid tribute to the music and people of his native land by composing pieces modeled after folk songs from South America and Central America. Imitating the compositional style and techniques of the Baroque and Romantic periods was another side to his craftsmanship.
El ultimo Tremolo is barrios’ swan song, he wrote this piece shortly before he died. The beat of the song was inspired by the rhythm of someone knocking upon barrios’ door! The knocks can be found in the first two bars of the piece and this motif runs throughout the entire work. Get fluid with tremolo (pami) before you tackle “the ultimate tremolo.” I have posted an easier tremolo song in my previous blog post, check out tarrega’s rescuerdos de alhambra. Lastly, don’t expect to learn this song in a week, so be patient. Dissect the song into parts. Focus on groups of measures say do 8 bars and move on to the next 8 bars. Good luck!
Like barrios’ la cathedral preludio saudade, this song has quite a lot of unique left hand chord positioning. If you find a certain chord impossible, look for alternative chord positions. Failing that, look at the previous chord and find it’s alternative chord position. By changing some chords around, you may handle these chords better and/or find an easier chord transition. To discover alternatives to the chords, explore along the guitar neck, find the the notes that sound the same. I normally try to ultilize open strings as much as possible. This tab fits best for myself. I encourage you to do some research on your own.
Tremolo and the melody
Right hand. Play All melody notes with thumb (p)
Left hand. Play tremolo with (ami).
Keep the right hand on auto-pilot since it play the same (pima) pattern. Focus on the left chords and think ahead! For instance when you are in the middle of playing chord A, think of the finger position for the chord B. 80 bars. Play straight with no repeats. Undulate the volume of tremolo to add emotions.Suspend first note of most measure for the full duration.
Bar The G string needs to be suspend by a full measure. Curl your pinky finger to play the D note (12fret) without touch the G string below.
Bar- Hold barre chord all the way while playing all the melodies. This chord has tight fingering. Wrist could hurt at first. It really takes practice.
Bar A weird barre chord at 11th fret. I use a cutaway in my video but it is not impossible on a regular cut guitar. This song goes up to the 17th fret.
While practicing the tremolo technique, use this simple right hand pattern (pi-pi-pi) as a cheap substitute. You’ll get the gist of the melody by doing so and thus allowing you to totally focus on the left hand.
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