Problem to Solve - Villa Lobos Mystery Harmonics

Dear Selina

I have a problem the solution to which evades me, and I'm hoping that you can shed some light on it. I'm attempting to learn Villa Lobos' Suite Populaire Bresilienne, No. 2 - Schottish-Choro. I'm ok until bar 80 where the two consecutive harmonic triads are encountered. Where on the fingerboard are these harmonics to be found? I'm using an old Max Eschig edition of this piece, and either I've developed a blind spot and am missing something obvious, or this edition has some serious mis-printing in it. I've attached the relevant section of the piece below, and circled the problem harmonics.

The first triad - the G natural/E/G natural combination - is written as a natural harmonic, and I'm assuming that the three small circles above the triad confirm this. However, I can't find a playable combination of these notes anywhere on the fingerboard. The second triad - the A/C/A combination - is written using normal notation so I'm assuming an octave harmonic is required here, but again the three small circles are present (why?), and I can't find a playable combination anywhere.

I hope that you can help with this as I've come to a dead stop. If you require a fee for your assistance, no problem, just name it and I'll mail a cheque. By the way, I'm very pleased with the Cashimira - we seem to be getting on very well so far.


Dear Richard

I certainly appreciate the problem that you are having with the Villa Lobos. I have found that there seems to be no consistent way of notating harmonics in these editions and a lot of indications that are confusing, for example the little circles. The best way of working it out is to ignore the way it is written and look for the harmony. Firstly I am sure that these are all natural harmonics, for both chords, they are notated with the notes that you hear if you play the notes normally.

Taking the second chord: ( natural harmonics) A - 4th string, 7th fret - sounds A
C# - 5th string, 4th fret - sounds C#
A - 6th string, 5th fret - sounds E
when played produces an A major chord.

Taking the first chord I think that there is a miss print and that the low G should be written as a G#.
Obviously this would look wrong when written but makes sense with natural harmonics G - 4th string, 5th fret - sounds D
E - 5th string, 7th fret - sounds E
G# - 6th string, 4th fret - sounds G#
when played produces an E7 chord
( if you do a natural harmonic on string 6 fret 3 for G it sounds B.
Still an E7 chord but without a 3rd and so less likely)

These 2 chords E7 - A form a perfect cadence and also fit very comfortably under the fingers, something for which Villa Lobos is famous! Just in case you were wondering the following 3 Es are marked with the letters C A D. I think that this is also a misprint and should read E A D indicating a change of colour for each note by changing the string and position.

I hope this is of some help.

If further explanation is needed please feel free to e mail.

Good luck!