Fundamentals Project #3 – Spring 2012..due 3/30/2012 is to write about a composer or musician who is famous and was involved with and or wrote orchestarl music. I choose to write on a lesser accepted orchestral instrument because, first off, I am a guitar player, and secondly, the guitar is every bit as qualified to play with an orchestra as any other instrument. Just because it may be considered a newer instrument, there is no reason for orchestral folks to be so stuffy and stubborn. I think you may find this an interesting guitar lesson review.
The instrument I chose to write about is the guitar. In particular, I want to write about the player, transcriber, composer and teacher, Andre Segovia( February 21, 1893 – June 2, 1987). Known as the man who reintroduced the guitar to the world in the early to mid 20th century, Segovia made it possible for audiences to see and hear the instrument in a new and different manner. Although the guitar is and was not generally included in orchestra music, Segovia almost single-handedly helped new music to be written for the guitar for orchestra, in ensembles and as a solo instrument.
Segovia believed that education and teaching the guitar were the keys to its revival. He influenced so many guitar players that it is impossible to put a number to it. By played publicly, and on tour all over the world, he exposed more people to the instrument and thus more people accepted the guitar as a classical instrument. He was known to teach master-classes all over the world to which only the finest guitar players were invited. Using his techniques, a whole new generation of guitar player was being created.
It’s hard to document exactly what original music Segovia composed, but some original contemporary pieces of music for the guitar are known. Not surprisingly, they usually have a Spanish influence, since that was his birth country. Segovia also transcribed many works for other instruments, so that they could be played on the guitar. He may be best known for his transcriptions. A limited quantity of written music was a major problem for classical guitar players in general, especially during the early years of Segovia’s career. He was forced to learn to transcribe other works for the guitar. His unequaled abilities of transcribing works for other instruments required much time, detail and care. It also required devising symbols to represent the different positions on the guitar neck.
Segovia spent much of his time focusing on Renaissance and Baroque pieces which were composed for the lute or Spanish vihuela [which was guitar like instrument] that were the predecessors of the guitar of today. While he resided in Germany, his search for music adaptable to the guitar provided a discovery: the lute works of Sylvius Leopold Weiss.
Lute works were the easiest to adapt, and were beautiful beyond the belief of most people when played on the guitar. One of Segovia’s most important finds was a group of Bach’s works that were perfectly suited to be transcribed for the guitar. Segovia believed that many of Bach’s solo pieces were originally written for lute and later transcribed by him for other instruments. Although there are no issues with the exacting, perfecting details of Segovia’s transcriptions of the masters, there is still some doubt among the experts over the validity of his theory on compositions for the lute. The structural suitability of Bach’s music, after being transcribed for the classical guitar, as demonstrated by Segovia’s transcriptions, has had unquantifiable positive influence on the acceptance of this instrument.
In addition to his composing, Segovia’s performances were legendary and how he first became known. Being both a great musician and transcriber helped Segovia compose and play original music with a unique personal style. When Segovia played, sweet music flowed from his fingertips, mesmerizing the people who listened to him. The richness of his tone and his unusual manual dexterity combined with his fierce determination. Segovia was a man who valued thinking independently from conventional wisdom. On a personal note, I had the privilege of seeing Segovia perform live at least 4 to 6 times before I was 14 years old with my dad.
Because of Segovia, many influential classical composers began to write for the guitar. For example, Manuel de Falla (November 23 1876 to November 14 1946). was one of Spain’s most important composers and musicians. Because of Segovia, de Falla’s composition, Pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy, was arranged specifically for guitar.
Hector Villa-Lobos (March 5, 1887 – November 17, 1959) was the most prolific Brazilian composer and musically creative figure of the 20th century. He also wrote guitar music because of Segovia. Another Segovia inspired composer was Manuel Ponce (December 8th 1882 to April 24th 1948). He was a Mexican composer and a scholar and expert on Mexican popular music and folklore. Finally (among many others), Joaquín Rodrigo increased the public’s opinion about the guitar by writing compositions which included the instrument in orchestral music. This was a totally new idea, since t eighteenth and nineteenth century composers Hayden, Mozart, and Beethoven never wrote for the guitar.
In the end, Segovia was more than an ordinary musician. He was one of the first classical guitar players to receive international attention His skills were beyond anyone else’s at the time. His desire to learn was so strong that he took it upon himself to become an authority on playing guitar. With few lessons he developed many of the techniques currently used in playing guitar by the best players.
In essence, Segovia created the groundwork for every classical guitarist of today. He compelled guitarists and composers of the day to create works specifically for the guitar and himself. It was Segovia’s unequalled ability to effortlessly create sounds that no one had heard before.
Andres Segovia can be credited with bringing respectability to the guitar. He also allowed the guitar to become a serious concert instrument. He turned the guitar into a legitimate instrument for the discerning music public. It was no longer considered an instrument played in dim joints in shady places anymore.
I know most of you had no idea who this guy is before reading this review. And , it is not important to remember it. Though you will run across it in your music and guitar studies. This is not the right place to come for beginning guitar lessons. For lessons such as those, for any age, let me recommend the guitar lesson reviews worth reading. They will help you decide what lessons are best for you. And of course, please feel free to ask me anything in the comment area. Guitar Players Center. com