Learn Villa-Lobos’ Etude 6

Villa-Lobos’ Etude No. 6, from his opus of 12 etudes, is a short chordal exercise with only 2 rhythms. It will improve your RH chord mechanism, barre technique, note separation, and shifting. Along with improving your LH & RH coordination.

It is a fun study that neatly rounds off the first half of this epic set of twelve. It is also the first etude that most guitarists should learn from the twelve, but never do. Why? Well it will introduce Villa-Lobos’ language, it is not too taxing technically, and it is a great approachable workout for both hands.

This course, which will be the briefest in the series, is designed to help you dive into and learn this fantastic piece of music through micro studies. You will tackle the piece in small chunks, successfully completing each one’s technical focus, and then adding that new knowledge back into the piece. This method is proven to get the piece up and running faster than wrestling with the dots straight away and slogging through the stems to find the notes. All at your pace.

There are 3 stages to learning this piece and they are:

  • The first step will be understanding the underlying structure, rhythmic patterns.
  • Learn the chord shapes.
  • And finally the end few bars, slightly different to the rest of piece.

Once these main stages are under your fingers you will be able to play this piece with confidence. Making it music is a whole other story, and one that will be personal to you. One final note. Do not expect to being able to play this in a few days. Each one of these stages will require time, to get into the nervous system and muscle memory before being performed up to anywhere near full speed.

So have patience.

One thing to note, even though the printed page seems to imply there is only 1 voice, you need to be able to separate the bass, melody and accompaniment voices. The first two in particular. And Villa-Lobos has created variations on the first bar’s melodic material, so keep an eye out for them.

There are few RH suggestions, unless deemed essential for clarity, as for the most part you will be playing P I M A fingers, all the time.