• E.M.G.

Estudos de harpejos n° 3

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2018

Listen to Study n° 3: https://youtu.be/E2YHtoKQsj8

Read the score: http://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/3/31/IMSLP273547-PMLP224198-HVL-Estudos-Eschig1953.pdf


In this study in the D major key, Villa-Lobos uses plated chords on the first beat of each measure and approach notes or embellishment of each chord tones on the others. Unlike the studies 1 and 2, this one is written in a ¾ measure. Another difference with the 2 first studies is that, although that is not clearly recognizable, this one possesses a melodic (or motivic) speech. Maybe it is why it’s not written in continuous eight notes.


This little piece may be built in 3 parts: A from measure 1 to 8, B from 9 to 18 and C form 19 to 23.


Measure 1 shows a tonic plated chord (DM) on the first beat and chromatic upward approach notes of each chord tones from root to root. The B may be considered as a major 6th of DM.

Measure 2 is a 2nd inversion of a IVM7 chord (GM7). E# is approaching the major 7th. 2nd and 3rd beats are downward arpeggios.

Measure 3: the G and B of measure 2 become a 5th and a minor 7th of a C#-7b5 chord.

Measure 4 may be understood as a CM GM F#-7b5 B7 progression. Note that from measure 3 to 5 the bass is more and more present.

Measure 5: Em and D7 create an ambiguity between the G major key and E minor, especially after the BM in measure 4. Note that measures 3 and 5 have the same melody with a different harmonization, since measure 5 has a stepwise downward bass. The beginning of measures 2, 3, 4 and 5 uses almost the same soprano.

In measure 6, the G#-7b5 (or E7) chord sounds like an avoided resolution of D7. There are approach notes like in measure 1 but this time they go downward.

Measure 8: a A7M13 chord followed by a A#°, dominant of the relative B minor key.


Measure 9: there is a modulation to the B minor key (the relative key). It is the same pattern as in measure 1 except that this time it begins with the approach note of the 5th of the chord. Note that measures 8, 9 and 10 are not repeated.

In measure 11 the “E7” may be a IVth degree of the B melodic minor key. There are both a downward and upward approaches of the B, 5th of the chord. This downward motif on the first beat may come from the 2nd beat of measure 4.

Measure 12 is built on the F#7 chord and the B- chord.

Measures 11 and 13 have the same pitch contour. Compared to the 2nd beat of measure 12, measure 13 is a stepwise motion.

Measures 14, 15 and 16: are built on C#°7 which can play the role of the dominant of B-. Measure 15 uses the same process as in measure 1.

Measures 17 and 18 are built on B-. Note the similarity between 17 and 6. Measure 17 may be the climax.


In measure 19 the change of rhythm and the fact that this time approach notes are played by the bass announces the end. From 19 to 21, the bass follows a chromatic downward movement till the A, dominant of the D major key.

In measures 19 and 20, is Villa-Lobos using the two 2nd degrees (II-7b5 chords) of the B minor and D minor key?

In measure 21, the dominant chord is paving the way for the D major key return. Measure 22 makes us ear a BbM over a G# bass. This sounds like a Bb7 chord, which is a substitute of a V/V.


Measure 24 is the same as measure 1. Note that measures 25, 16 and 18 use repetition of a motif an octave lower or higher.

Measure 26 uses a BbM chord, which sounds like a minor subdominant thanks to the Bb.

Finally, this study shows many interesting processes like: tonal ambiguity (measures 4, 5, 13) hybrid chords (measures 13, 27) and repetitions to “enlarge” a motif (measures 10, 16, 18, 25).

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