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Your opinions, frank and honest...
CLASSICAL DVD PLEASE
The reason for my enquiry is to ask if you could reissue or redo a transcription of Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranjuez, 2nd Movement, Adagio. I know from the Guitar Techniques index it was done many years ago. Incidentally, I have a copy of GT Feb 2007 with a transcription of Tarrega’s Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Bridget Mermikides. Bridget gives a lesson and plays the piece on a DVD that came with that issue. I know you don’t issue DVDs now but it would be fantastic if Bridget agreed to transcribe it for us and play it on video which you could possibly make available for download from the Vault. Thanks for listening, love your work. Bob Lyndon, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia The original transcription would have been by our then Classical columnist, Richard Stokkereit. Yes we did a few video magazines including a Classical one that Bridget filmed for us, plus a couple of regular GTs with DVD covermounts and I think it’s one of these to which you’re referring. There are no plans to do more of this (it seems these things are no longer deemed viable). I wish all our lessons could be done on video, as the format is perfect for guitar tuition. But the costs just don’t stack up – we’d probably have to double the price and in this day and age of everyone expecting music for free,
that simply wouldn’t wash. Unless your letter prompts a deluge of reaction in the positive, Bob. After a long hiatus I returned to playing two years ago when my daughter wanted to learn. Being self-taught I had no idea where to start so contacted a local tutor to arrange lessons. Wanting to know what sort of level I was at I also took lessons. Since then I’ve gone from a grade 4 level chord knowledge but not even grade 1 level scale knowledge player, to now working on grade 7-8 work. But one thing still confuses me! I was interested in the Mixolydian Masterclass article, as the modes have always been a mystery to me. In the past they were never explained to me properly, but since finding out they are related to a parent Major scale it makes so much more sense. The thing that baffles me is, as in your article, you say that the example pieces are in the key of A Major
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO GT DECIDED WE WOULD CONFORM TO TRADITIONAL MUSIC CONVENTIONS
but because the Mixolydian mode has a flat 7th the G is shown with a natural incidental. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the key signature of D Major instead as A Mixolydian is the fifth scale degree of D Major? Matt Chambers Senior music editor Jason Sidwell replies: Thirteen years ago Guitar Techniques, along with our sister magazines Total Guitar and Guitarist, decided to universally conform to traditional music conventions (founded in classical music) in that all key signatures would either be Major or (Natural) Minor keys. When dealing with modal music we would show either Major or Minor in the key signature with the modal note variations (‘accidentals’) shown in the music notation. For further clarity, we make numerous references to harmony information in the article’s text. So with a key like A Mixolydian (a Major orientated mode) we would show A Major as the key signature (three sharps; F#, C# and G#) with the Minor 7th (G) being shown as G Natural in the notation. You can see that this issue, in the Pentatonic variations article starting on page 14 (look at the Major Pentatonic examples). This approach has served Minor keys in classical music very well; if a piece leans towards Harmonic or Melodic Minor, the standard Natural Minor key is shown with accidentals in the music notation. So instead of showing, say, E Harmonic Minor as a key signature of F# and D# notes (urrggh!), E Natural Minor is shown (one sharp; F#) with the D# ‘accidental’ shown in the notation. By maintaining this standard Major/ Minor key signature presentation we 1) don’t alienate ‘trained’ musicians and 2) it’s a simple enough rule for new musicians to learn and understand. Returning to your original example) a two-sharps key signature (F# and C#) in a modal world could imply (obviously) D Major (conventional) but also E Dorian, F# Phrygian, G Lydian, A Mixolydian, B Aeolian (Natural Minor) and C# Locrian. Lots more options that would require a longer look at the music notation to decide what the key actually was (what seems the most prevalent notes throughout the music to create a ‘home key’?). Our system the standard system - simplifies this; look at the key signature and a little of the music to quickly see if it’s a Major or Minor key, then if it’s strongly associated to a mode. LATECOMER TO BLUES My love of guitar encompasses almost all strands of music. So, a bit of jazz, a slice of rock, a touch of acoustic strumming and even classical fingerstyle get their moments in my practice studio. The thing is, I don’t really like blues. Now, I know it forms the basis of many styles I do like, but generally I find in its undiluted form, it leaves me cold. Until, that is, last month’s Texas Blues feature. I was doing my usual ‘stick the disc in and jot down which tracks I’m going to try’ thing, when I was suddenly captivated by the sounds I was hearing. It’s silly really, as I’ve obviously been aware of these players before; and yet at that moment I suddenly felt a connection. I’m only in my late ‘40s so it could be a simple thing like I wasn’t yet ready for this dark and earthy style. I’ve gone through several of the examples now and can see why blues is so popular among guitarists, as these licks not only fall nicely under the fingers, but also bring a huge sense of power to the player. My wife and son paid my playing a compliment for the first time in ages, too, so thanks for awakening one middle-aged soul to the delights of a style he should have got to grips with years ago. Nigel Taylor, Northants Interesting, Nigel. In my experience players and indeed listeners often come to sophisticated forms such as jazz, prog and classical music later in life, after flirtations with simpler styles like pop and blues. But clearly that’s not always the case. Jon Bishop did a great job on the text and the recording, which could have been what drew you in; so I’m glad our piece left its mark, and hopefully you can now go back to past issues and glean a whole new lickbag from features you’d previously ignored.
Freddie King: one of our Texas Titans
Bridget Mermikedes: recorded some video lessons