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Important Guitar Insights

Important Guitar Insights

Common sense.  The word says it all... common. That means that everyone has it. Isn't it amazing how often our decisions are simply betraying this common-ality?

Guitar, education and faith have been the constant-s throughout my life by which I could make a "balance" every now and then. I would know where I was standing concerning my personal growth. The Classical guitar is a discipline, (discipline:1- the ability to control your own behavior and way of working 2-a method of training your mind to control your behavior) the guitar is life in miniature. In the constant pursuit of musical perfection, we put to work our whole self. The more we allow ourselves to do music for the wrong reasons, the more we are jeopardizing the path for those who do want to do music for the right reasons and the more likely it is that our work will not leave a path for future generations to follow. In a recent mail, a dear friend and a 30+ years guitar player  wrote me about his impressions on a concert he attended in Texas. These is part of his mail: " I am seeing what you are seeing in this world of guitar. The need for the public to hear recognizable music THEY can relate to is the way i want to go...I liked your updates regarding this! The concert music was 'over their (the public) heads' ...very techy pieces...a bit of a show off...".

In our world, and to be more specific, in the Western world, success has become something which has to be measured or that has to be at least measurable. What is worse, is that we are made to believe that success in life can be predicted on the basis of such faulty instruments as IQ or SAT tests. The real reason that these monsters have been created in the first place is that humans in general have a God complex by which everyone and everything has to be classified. Music and arts in general have always been the place, the refuge for free souls and creativity, and a place where people get a taste for less materialistic things. Musical talent and creativity are not detected by these  "faulty tests" because talent and creativity belong to a higher part of humans..the soul. This eternal part is being steadily suppressed and annulled.

Renato with Bellucci Guitars Master builder Rey

Renato with Bellucci Guitars Master builder Rey

For the past 30 years you must have heard the following two words associated almost as an inseparable unit: music industry. Now, being music: the arrangement of sounds made by instruments or voices in a way that is pleasant or exciting... and industry: the production of goods, especially in factories...can anybody tell me by what sick formula the two words can be associated ?! One thing is sure, guitarists have been pushed to "industrialize" their playing more and more and the pressures created by this insane mixture has pushed players to put out a huge amount of worthless playing belonging more to the circus industry rather than the music world. What you have as a consequence, is herds of guitarists being classified according to the amount of revenues that they provide to the in-dustry. Composers on the other hand, or to be more accurate, on the other side of the assembly line, have started pouring an enormous amount of unpleasant sounds that are being thrown at us in concert halls everywhere.

After Segovia's debut in 1910, a local critic wrote the following: 

"They laughed when Andres Segovia sat down to play the guitar. The nerve of the man, bringing a flamenco instrument into the hallowed precincts of the concert hall. That stupid young fellow is making useless efforts to change the guitar -- with its mysterious, Dionysiac nature -- into an Apollonian instrument. The guitar responds to the passionate exaltation of Andalusian folklore, but not to the precision, order and structure of classical music."

The critic was being  prophetic and ignorantly wrong. Segovia was clearly not part of an industry, especially in 1910, and he did not change the guitar, actually he was hyper conservative ( the name of Narciso Yepes should stand out when referring to "change"...). Segovia's talent actually created an enormous amount of mysterious sounds that andalusian folk players could not even dream of (and most players today) and when it came to precision and order, Segovia understood that the magic of music does not lie in precision but in artistry and what the piano and violin could not deliver the guitar could... an immense palette of colors, the "right amount of notes" and, most of all, an instrument that everyone could relate to. The man was being prophetic because he was describing contemporary players, with the exception of a handful. The concert player in Texas I quoted earlier enters this prophecy.

This is part of an article in the New Your Times: MUSIC REVIEW; A Guitar More Democratically Inclined By ALLAN KOZINN

"Guitarists tend to be tinkerers, both by nature and necessity. Their instrument, in its classic form, is comparatively soft spoken, even when played with full force, and its string layout and tuning make certain kinds of chord voicings and counterpoint more difficult to realize than on the more democratically constructed keyboard. Jazz and rock musicians have escaped the instrument's limitations by amplifying it and inventing electronic devices to sustain, distort and color its sound in every way imaginable. Classical guitarists have been more conservative: some use discreet amplification systems, and some have added strings, usually to the bass range."
Now,  isn't that word perfectly chosen ? tinkerers...

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