In this final classical masterclass, virtuoso Carlos Bonell shows Bridget Mermikides his approach to ornamentation, trills and rasgueado technique.
Carlos begins this final masterclass by demonstrating a basic ornament (hammer-on and pull-off) on the top line of a simple chord change and breaks down the technical components. He then explains how J S Bach might present the same trill; starting with the upper note this is a typical way of executing a trill in the baroque era.
There is a famous set of pedagogical books called Instruccion De Musica Sobre La Guitarra Español by Gaspar Sanz written in the 1670s, which contain some of the most important examples of popular Spanish baroque music for the guitar. The repertoire in these books has remained popular to classical guitarists to this day; Carlos discusses this work and demonstrates how Sanz presented very simple pieces – just a melody and bass line - and adds the instruction to the reader: whenever you fret a note with the first or second finger, add a trill if possible. This candid instruction means the player is free to embellish and interpret as they wish, and this was typical of baroque music. The same thing is the case with strummed chords and slurs. Carlos next plays a passage from one of Sanz’ most popular pieces - Canarios - and shows how slurs and chord strums, though not in the score, can be added by the performer for interpretive purposes.
In the final section of this masterclass Carlos takes us through the basic steps of rasgueado. He begins with the outward flick of the four picking hand fingers, leading with the fourth finger and striking the strings with backs of the nails. He demonstrates a good attack with each finger individually and then shows how this needs to be sped up until it becomes one fluent, fan-like movement. He next shows us a continuous unbroken sounding rasgueado and finally gives us a short chord sequence with which to practice these techniques.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these exclusive masterclasses from one of modern classical guitar’s great players. We’d like to thank Carlos for giving his time, knowledge and insight into some of the instrument’s most important techniques.
Carlos Bonell: demonstrates the rasgueado