GAS­PAR SANZ Ca­narios

Here’s a Baroque gem that boasts a unique Span­ish rhyth­mic drive guar­an­teed to get your fin­gers mov­ing and feet tap­ping. Brid­get Mer­mikides ar­ranges for mod­ern clas­si­cal gui­tar.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

This month, Brid­get Mer­mikides tran­scribes for mod­ern clas­si­cal gui­tar a Baroque piece that boasts a unique Span­ish rhyth­mic drive.

This month we are tack­ling a work by the Baroque com­poser, gui­tarist and poly­math Gas­par Sanz (1640-1710). Born in Aragon (a com­mu­nity in north-east Spain), Sanz grad­u­ated in the­ol­ogy but later stud­ied or­gan and Baroque gui­tar; an in­stru­ment favoured from the 17th to the early 18th cen­tury that you might recog­nise from paint­ings such as Ver­meer’s The Gui­tar Player. Smaller in length than the mod­ern clas­si­cal gui­tar, it gen­er­ally con­sisted of five strings (each of them with two cour­ses), with a tun­ing from high to low of E-B-G-D-A. Th­ese lat­ter two strings were of­ten tuned (or in­cluded a course) an oc­tave above the fourth and fifth strings of a con­tem­po­rary gui­tar. The E-B-G-D-A tun­ing and fin­ger­style ap­proach (with both pluck­ing and strum­ming), means that much of the Baroque gui­tar’s reper­toire has been read­ily adopted by the clas­si­cal gui­tar. Sanz in­vented a chord no­ta­tion sys­tem (sim­i­lar to the ‘Nashville’ Ro­man nu­meral idea still in use to­day) and his set of three in­struc­tion books pub­lished in 1697 are now a sta­ple of the con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal gui­tarist.

Ca­narios is taken from his first vol­ume of the three-book set, In­struc­ción de Música So­bre la Guitarra Es­pañola (writ­ten in 1674). Although it is part of the ‘clas­si­cal’ reper­toire, re­mem­ber that this is a dance form, with a very Span­ish flavour, so rhyth­mic drive is vi­tal. You can hear this in the 6/8 me­tre, which switches from two groups of three (eg bar 7) to three groups of two (bar 8). This sort of met­ric de­vice is known as a hemi­ola (think of the open­ing of Bern­stein’s Amer­ica from West Side Story) and that rhyth­mic feel should be ab­sorbed and com­mu­ni­cated in per­for­mance. The har­mony is sim­ple, so the spir­ited rhyth­mic drive and deft melody are cen­tral. This will sound good at any speed, but a brighter tempo is most ap­pro­pri­ate. So pay at­ten­tion to pluck­ing hand fin­ger­ing and string crossing – as ad­dressed in the tab cap­tions. This is a beau­ti­ful piece to learn and also might open up your aware­ness to the rich di­ver­sity of styles through the ages that are avail­able to our in­stru­ment.

A briGhter tempo iS moSt Ap­pro­pri­Ate. pAy At­ten­tion to pluCk­inG hAnd fin­Ger­inG And StrinG CroSSinG

Sanz sur­round­ing by harp, cello and gui­tarist nymphs

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.