This is my 3/4 college term paper. It is about comparing two different composers and musicians and their music and styles from different eras. Take some time to read it. It is truly interesting. If the below subject is over your head musically, no worries. This is a special post, you can choose from all sorts of lessons that will get you playing right now. We have plenty of guitar lesson reviews from beginning guitar lessons, children’s-kids, intermediate and advanced.
My comparison will be between composers and musicians George Frederic Handel [classical/baroque] and Jimi Hendrix [rock/blues]. Specifically, I will compare their musical approaches and styles.
Interestingly, both men shared adjacent flats in England some 200 years apart; but the similarities go deeper than that. Both were considered radical at the time, and both were prone to doing what interested them rather than the public. Both composers, one from Germany and one from the U.S., eventually lived in Britain, and both men changed the face of music. One man did so with a harpsichord and exceptional compositional skills, the other with an electric guitar, pencil, any medium to write on, skills and imagination beyond anything anyone had heard before. Both men had physical equipment, dexterity and minds for music beyond other now famous musicians and composers. These men wrote the rules for their musical discipline of their times.
George Frederic Handel was born on February 23rd 1685 in Germany. Another great composer was also born in the same year: Johann Sebastian Bach. Handel was an interesting fellow. Handel did not have his parent’s support for music. So he made his own way by moving to Hamburg at the age of 18 taking a job as a violinist in the Hamburg opera.
Handel was stubborn and loyal to baroque music as supporters and friends tried in vain to persuade him to convert to English opera. It was to no avail, and he suffered several serious failures. But Handel did change his compositional writing from opera to oratorio. An oratorio is primarily different from an opera in the subject matter of the text. An oratorio tends to deal with sacred subjects the church approved of. In an oratorio little interaction is taken between the characters, with no elaborate costumes or props.
Handel became a favorite of Royalty after making the acquaintance of Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici. Because Italy was one of the centers of all types of musical activity in the early 1700s, this turned out to be a very significant visit; baroque music (1600 to 1750), like music of any period, has its musical clichés, and much of what is typical of baroque music can be traced back to Italy and particularly to Corelli, an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music. But Handel’s musical would become the most popular of all. When he was in England, he was so popular he has been called the first rock star. When the Messiah was first performed, the King was so thrilled by it, that he is said to have risen to his feet, almost mesmerized, when the “Halleluiah Chorus” was sung.
Another rock star, James Marshall Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942 in Seattle Washington. He is recognized by most as the greatest electric guitar player and composer ever.
Jimi was a good child and human being. He had a difficult upbringing, as his mom was an alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver in her early 20s. He was a good student, his dad bought him his first [used] guitar at age 6 on the advice of one of his teachers.
Hendrix was an anomaly as an electric guitar player who was not well accepted in America in 1966. This lack of acceptance prompted Hendrix to travel to London where his style of music was beginning to thrive and be popular. As indicated, Jimi rented Handle’s flat in London. Jimi had a reason for moving to that flat. He knew of Handel from the “Messiah,” respected him, and wanted to live in what he thought was Handel’s old residence. That was not a coincidence. Contrary to popular belief, Jimi also was a gentle and giving person and never refused tours of his apartment to musicians, music students or anyone who knocked on the door looking for traces of the Handel.
Because they shared adjoining eighteenth century London flats, in 2010, about 40 years after Hendrix’s death, an exhibition and display of his London flat was open for a year. The show was put on by the Jimi Hendrix Experience Organization. Mr. Handel lived at 25 Brook Street, for 36 years in a flat until he died in 1759. The Jimi Hendrix Experience organization put on a museum tour of the Hendrix/Handel Flat from 2010 to 2011. The museum resurrected as much of, and as close as possible, a copy of Mr. Hendrix’s flat.
As England was a hot bed for Handel in the early 1800s, it was equally as hot in the mid twentieth century, especially to musicians who played the guitar. New genres of music were becoming popular. The blues and rock were becoming popular, and the guitar was the perfect tool to express those styles.
When Hendrix combined those styles, he shook the music world like no one else had in hundreds of years; he hit London like a tornado and never gave it back. Jimi Hendrix became the greatest modern guitar mind ever. His innate abilities to extract new sounds and rhythms were unexplainable and addictive. He authored an unbelievable amount of songs in his brief 4 year career. He also rewrote several songs, which became associated with him. Bob Dylan wrote “All Along The Watchtower”, yet he literally gave the song to Hendrix for his rendition. The song “Hey Joe” is often thought to be one of Mr. Hendrix’s song, though it was written by Billy Roberts as a country song.
Jimi Hendrix changed my musical world the first time I heard his music in 1966 [on a bootleg radio station]. Never again was I to play a classical guitar. His music infected the parts of the brain that deciphers music and the emotions it produces. To be exact, music affects those parts of the brain in every normal human. Thus everyone may enjoy different types of music. Even the tiniest differences can be interpreted by every brain in a unique manner. Jimi makes my brain feel good.
Music was more open minded in London in the 1960s, just as it was in the early 1800s. In America he was too unusual, unorthodox. Jimi had no formal training. In fact he was completely self-taught. He also changed the way the electric guitar was viewed. Like Segovia, every guitar player owes a thank you to Jimi Hendrix.
In England the electric blues were making a heavy impact. Many great rock and blues musicians were born in, or came to England in the twentieth century. A few of the great guitar players of said era that contributed to this new music scene were/are: Eric Clapton, Jimmy page of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Yngwie Malmsteen, who played classical music on an electric guitar.
Comparing Classical baroque music to the blues or rock is like comparing apples to oranges. To begin with, everybody interprets music differently. Second, each type of music uses different scales and rhythmical patterns. The only fair comparison is in how the music is written and structured and played. The blues makes use of a relatively modern scale system called the pentatonic scale. Specifically, the blues uses pentatonic minor scales and the pentatonic blues [chromatic] scale. These scales suggest stress, tension and less happiness. Pentatonic scales use only 5 notes. In contrast, Baroque music makes use of major and minor scales. Still, both Hendrix and Handel’s music elevates peoples’ mind; both were composers and musicians whose audiences did not only hear their music but felt it.
Remember that this is far from a beginning guitar lesson and should be taken as such. For those who find this interesting, start with the guitar class assignment 1 lesson review of this college course. For absolute beginners, or folks simply not interested in this, go right to our guitar lesson review page and read our detailed, accurate and unbiased reviews. GPC. Guitar Players Center.