classical guitar

I finally appreciate classical guitars, after all these years of being baffled by them. It’s about how wide the dynamic range is. You can change volume so much more easily on nylon strings than on steel strings that you can make volume changes a big part of your phrasing.

I hope this means I don’t start playing it. Classical guitarists are like tiny dogs with muscular asses. But I will probably lose that battle.

5 replies on “classical guitar”

Seriously, I don’t know what I feel about classical guitar. My feelings are complex, because it’s a topic that so close to what I do.

Yeah, there is a lot of great historical music. Though, a lot of it is by 2nd or 3rd tier composers like Sor. There’s nothing for guitarists as profound as Bach’s Cello Sonatas are for cellists. Guitarists play those cello pieces! But if you play them on cello you know how closely tailored they are to those instruments.

I’ve been listening to Douglas Back’s classical guitar playing lately and I’m really enjoying it. So that’s a data point.

I have some other classical guitar recordings on my hard drive that sound weenie.

This Magnatune lute playing moves me:

I like mariachi guitar.

I’ve been playing my parlor classical almost every day.

Whenever I chat with classical guitarists they seem full of themselves. Which I don’t get. But maybe that’s my insecurity.

I’ve been listening to Villa-Lobos guitar pieces, which amount to a melange of the folk choros and classical material, with that paradox between escaping the classical repertoire and being bound up in it that’s always part of his music. In so many ways the ability not to be ‘caught up’ in the classical tradition, but to be aware of it, seems to me a huge advantage when it comes to the guitar.

I always wonder why such a wonderful instrument gets so many people so calcified
into narrow little genres. I love folk guitar, but the “serious” folk guitarist who
disdains all but a very narrow range of styles seems to me to miss what folk music is all about.

Maybe in classical guitar the issue is some perceived desire to some “respect” different from the respect rock, blues, pop, soul, jazz, etc. guitarists receive. But I don’t get it at all.

But I can list out many things I like about many classical composers, whether of the 1st 2d or 100th rank:
a. the hegemony of long song length is not bound up with early classical guitar.
I love 1:41 minutes of the right sound rather than a noodle of 7 minutes.
To digress, I loved when I saw Dire Straits, and ‘Sultans of Swing’ has the line about “strictly rhythm, he doesn’t make it cry or sing”, and then Knopfler played an inexcusably boring 12 minute jam. I like Knopfler fine, but it was a “physician, heal thyself” moment.

b. I love that classical guitar can use refrains and still launch out in fun quick little places melodically;

c. I love that the sheer sonic experiment of the guitar was apparent to its composers in ways that delight.

So mark me down as pro-class-guitar.

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