Slur Exercises, Trills, and Chromatic Octaves.
Slur Exercises, Trills, and Chromatic Octaves, by Andres Segovia and revised and edited by Larry Snitzler. Columbia Music Company, Inc., 2014. www.presser.com; 14 pp., $9.99.
Slur Exercises, Trills, and Chromatic Octaves is a collection of technical studies for the guitar, which were used by Maestro Andres Segovia (1893-1987) in his own personal practice. Last published in 1970,
Larry Snitzler's 2014 revised edition relates the story of how his teacher, "Sophocles Papas asked Andres Segovia what kind of legato (or slur) patterns he practiced," and he "dashed off a few examples and handed them over to his friend. These became the basis of this publication."
The original Slur Exercises and Chromatic Octaves has long been a valuable supplement assisting the advancing student toward "greater strength and fluency in his fingers," stated Segovia. His explanations were sparse and straightforward, and they comprised less than a half page of text at the very end of the book. The slurs utilized neighboring tones in half and whole steps in duple, triple and quadruple groupings. The trills section was not included in the first edition and the chromatic octaves section, which he deemed as "excellent for achieving independence of the left hand," were offered as diads in first position only.
Snitzler adds biographical information and anecdotes in this edition, which serve to clarify the intended usefulness of the exercises. Sophocles Papas was an influential pedagogue and publisher in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. He was a contemporary of Aaron Shearer, and together, they were a formidable influence on the development of collegiate programs for classical guitar when Segovia's popularity in the United States was at its height. Snitzler was a student of Sophocles Papas. Snitzler was also included in a tour group of young guitarists who traveled with Segovia for a time.
While the first edition featured page numbers only, the revised version goes beyond, including measure numbers and numbering the exercises. In addition, Snitzler gives instructions on how to implement the studies, which clarify a little more of what Segovia was saying in his minimal explanation. One example is the re-arrangement of Study #4 in the sequence as well as the addition of Study #7 as an enhancement of what might have been a mistake in the list Segovia hastily wrote down all of those years ago.
A series of trills used by Segovia appear for the first time in this set. They add more challenge for the advancing guitarist to the slurs and chromatic octaves that were part of the original publication.
Snitzler's updated and revised version of Segovia's Slur Exercises,
Trills, and Chromatic Octaves breathes a second wind of freshness into a time-proven staple of classical guitar technique.--Reviewed by Andrea Cannon, NCTM, Spring, Texas