Post Gui­tar Tech­niques, Fu­ture Pub­lish­ing, Ivo Peters Road, Bath, BA2 3QS. Email neville.marten@fu­ us­ing the header ‘Talk­back’.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Your opin­ions, frank and hon­est...


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


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

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