Car­los Bonell

In this fi­nal clas­si­cal master­class, vir­tu­oso Car­los Bonell shows Brid­get Mer­mikides his ap­proach to or­na­men­ta­tion, trills and ras­gueado tech­nique.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Video -

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

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