AN­TO­NIO FORCIONE Mas­ter­class: Part 1 of 2

This in­cred­i­ble acous­tic guitarist di­vulges some of his play­ing se­crets in the first of this two-part video mas­ter­class se­ries.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

With a re­lent­less in­ter­na­tional tour­ing sched­ule, mul­ti­ple awards un­der his belt and be­ing hailed by the mu­sic press as the ‘Jimi Hen­drix of acous­tic gui­tar’, An­to­nio Forcione is cer­tainly a force to be reck­oned with. But for all his vir­tu­os­ity on the in­stru­ment, what sets An­to­nio apart from so many oth­ers is the di­ver­sity of his play­ing and com­po­si­tions. Ev­ery­thing from West-African Kora melodies, Ital­ian folk dances, Pi­az­zol­lain­spired Ar­gen­tinian tan­gos and Cuban songs have ap­peared in his per­for­mances and record­ings. By im­mers­ing him­self in the coun­tries where he finds mu­si­cal in­spi­ra­tion and sur­round­ing him­self with mu­si­cians from around the globe, An­to­nio has gath­ered a vast pal­ette from which to draw in­spi­ra­tion. An­to­nio started his mu­si­cal life not on gui­tar, but on drums. You’ll see from the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples how im­por­tant rhythm and groove is to An­to­nio’s play­ing. He de­scribes his in­ter­nal pulse as be­ing like a mu­si­cal com­pass – so no mat­ter how fast he’s play­ing, or in­deed how slow – he al­ways knows where to land.

The first ex­am­ple An­to­nio talks about in this les­son comes from his African in­flu­ences – par­tic­u­larly that of the Kora and the play­ing of Seckou Keita (An­to­nio is in a group called AKA Trio with Seckou). The id­iomatic dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments to Kora play­ing are taken onto the gui­tar via bursts of slurs while main­tain­ing a solid 6/8 groove. As the ex­am­ple con­tin­ues the im­por­tance of the bassline be­comes ever more ap­par­ent as it pro­vides pre­cisely the “mu­si­cal com­pass” that An­to­nio talks about. You’ll also see and hear how re­laxed and laid-back the piece sounds. As you work your way through the les­son, keep things slow to be­gin with, and main­tain that re­laxed and laid-back feel (eas­ier said than done, I know!).

When dis­cussing his ap­proach when in ac­com­pa­ni­ment-mode, An­to­nio gives some ex­am­ples of how to move away from some of the more com­mon tex­tures and chord shapes. Break­ing away from com­fort zones is al­ways a chal­lenge on the gui­tar, so this will be a per­fect ex­cuse to think a lit­tle out­side the box. Nat­u­ral har­mon­ics fea­ture heav­ily here and, as you’ll see, An­to­nio can swap ef­fort­lessly be­tween th­ese and a more con­ven­tional chordal ac­com­pa­ni­ment. A lit­tle slow and steady prac­tice jump­ing be­tween the har­mon­ics on 12th and 7th frets and chord shapes back down the neck will cer­tainly be help­ful. Th­ese ideas would be per­fect for ac­com­pa­ny­ing a singer or pro­vid­ing the rhythm gui­tar back­drop for a solo.

And to con­clude the first part of this two-part video se­ries, An­to­nio talks a lit­tle about some of his im­pro­vi­sa­tion tech­niques – again think­ing about how to ap­proach things slightly dif­fer­ently. Ev­ery­thing from fin­ger­style licks, plec­trum licks and even thumb-scratch­ing basslines (which is tremen­dous fun!) gets cov­ered on a whistlestop tour of An­to­nio’s unique im­pro­vi­sa­tion method­ol­ogy. I re­ally hope you have some fun with th­ese ex­am­ples and I’ll see you next month for the se­cond in­stal­ment in this spe­cial mas­ter­class.

break­ing away from com­fort zones is al­ways a chal­lenge, so here’s the per­fect ex­cuse to think a lit­tle out­side the box

Ex­clu­sive les­son with gui­tar mas­ter An­to­nio Forcione

An­to­nio Forcione: one of the finest acous­tic play­ers on the planet

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