What better way to start a blog about the guitar than with a wise words, written by one of the greats of the guitar world. John Williams, considered one of the most important classical guitarists of the world and to which Andrés Segovia called “the prince of the guitar”. If you like classical guitar and you do not know it we invite you to read a little about it in wikipedia.
Let’s write in full the “prologue” that this guitarist and composer made for a magnificent book titled: “THE GUITAR: A guide for students and teachers“. Guitar has always been a popular instrument, but it had never been more relevant until well into the twentieth century. John Williams in this prologue gives us a very brief tour of it.
The main reason for the post is to highlight two main points. The first is to use the authority of someone indisputably famous to learn from his wise words by demonstrating that one can reach the highest level of the effort of the instrument and the second is the subject of which is written in the book that prologues. The learning.
The Spanish guitar, being a popular instrument, is everyone’s responsibility, to enhance it as it deserves. Both students, teachers, amateurs and professionals. It is a work of all to whom we are passionate about this instrument.
I would like to place special emphasis on the responsibility that teachers have in the first approach of a person to the world of the guitar, since the difficulty of the instrument makes the beginnings difficult for the apprentice guitarist.
Being a teacher is a means by which knowledge is transmitted to the world through another human being, to be a teacher is to get the best that others have, while learning to be more human.
Finally I highly recommend reading this book that, of Anglo-Saxon culture, gives us some really interesting guidelines to get into this, our world of the guitar. I put the prologue without further ado and in full. Enjoy it.
“Years ago, an estimable English composer of a clearly traditional tendency made me realize the magic of the sound of the strings in the air of a guitar, when I heard a young man strum it on the platform of a station. How ironic and ironic it is that this same observation must serve to highlight the problem of the guitar as a musical instrument; its sound has a fascinating extra-musical charm that can so easily disguise a mediocre composition!
In “old” times, from the sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century, guitar and vihuela had musical and technical styles more akin to laud, but the six-string guitar of the early nineteenth century was actually a different instrument .
It evolved in the days of Boccherini and Paganini and, just as these composers exploited the cello and violin technique, so did Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani and many others with the guitar. They composed almost all their music for a single guitar, because of the weak sound of this one and because the majority of such executors / composers did not know how to write music for other instruments (at least not with the mastery of the great composers). Even Giuliani had to turn to Diabelli and Moscheles to write his music for string and piano.
The guitar would contribute little to the musical progress of the nineteenth century, for these reasons and because the composers who did not know how to play it did not understand its tuning and its difficult and extravagant technique. They would also have found their feeble and characteristic sound unsuitable for the flowering romantic, nationalist and impressionist expression.
That was the point until well into the present century, when some eminent composers wrote important works (due, perhaps, to the freedom of a more eclectic epoch) under the inspiration and induction of famous performers. However, the guitar did not intervene in the evolution of “classical” music or “classical” European music of the last five hundred years, with the consequent lack of experience being the reason why guitarists, performers, teachers and students are considered inferior to most of the other instrumentalists when it comes to reading, listening, phrasing and playing together. This isolation fostered an even greater concentration of difficult music for a single instrument, to the point that classical guitar seems to possess its own rules of rhythm and phrasing. The acceptance of the instrument by the main conservatories has made these problems even more patent to those who dedicate themselves to the guitar.
This is, however, good news! We have noticed the situation, not only at a time when we have the means to remedy it, but at a time when the guitar itself can help, and even guide, a radically new appreciation of European classical music in relation to other musical cultures and with the popular traditions that these cultures have maintained; jazz has often been considered the most obvious and important example, but the same values can be applied to many others as well.
The guitar has always been a popular instrument and this is its main strength. It can serve as a bridge between popular and classical tradition, and vice versa, but must learn from both to do things right.
For all this, whether students or teachers, beginners or advanced, amateur or professional, this book is indispensable for anyone who is committed and interested in the future of the guitar. When specific orientations and points of view are given, many of the chapters are more subjective than others necessarily. However, I especially enjoyed the chapters dealing with teaching in class, the arrangements of elementary repertoire and the technique of classical guitar. I think they give invaluable advice like no one else had. The conjunction and interdependence of all these factors in one book make it unique. “John Williams.