Sunday, May 13, 2007

Classical Guitar

A few years ago one of my former guitar students ( not that kind of student) gave me a photo copied collection of classical guitar pieces. (I taught him how to play the guitar and a few philosophy of Jimi Hendrix on spontaneity in playing the instrument, and he did well. Although he did not become a professional guitarist, his garage band played opening acts for some major local bands here.)

The problem is I can’t read notes. Well, I can read notes but at such a slow and uncoordinated way that I can say that technically I’m musically “illiterate”. Although during my out-of-college days my sister enrolled me to a music studio to learn guitar. But the notation the instructor use was tablature; tablature shows finger placement and accents but it is not like the standard musical notation where a person who can read notes can just sit down and play the piece because everything is in there, in tablature there’s only string numbers and fret numbers.
During the days that I was learning guitar in the studio, I was already developing the ability to play melodies by ear. So, I began to think then, “Why read notes when I can just listen to records and then look for the notes by plucking the strings and comparing the pitch, easier than staring at a musical piece.” And that’s how I played the guitar since then. It came to the level that I don’t buy chordbooks anymore because I can make “apa” (or grope) for the chords and even learn how to copy a few simple guitar riffs and solos by simply listening, although in the process I destroyed a lot of tape players because of the frequent playbacks.

There’s guitar playing for fun like rock and pop and there’s guitar playing for the heart and mind. A few decades ago after seeing local classical Lester Demetillo performing at the now defunct Concert at the Park, I saw another aspect of guitar playing that caught my heart—classical guitar. There’s something in classical guitars that’s so pristine and simple. There’s no electronic device or guitar effects, no tricks, no showmanship just ecstasy from the players. There’s exactness of notes, no room for ad liberation and spontaneity.

I want to play classical guitar.

Unfortunately a classical guitar lesson is expensive. Anyway, I just hid the book and hope that one day when I find the time and the resources to take classical guitar lessons and read notes, I will.

Last year I saw my brother in law a church music professor using computer software and I inquired what the program was. I bought the program and when I found that it was too complicated for me, I just let it lying inside the harddisk collecting viruses and worms. Anyway, last week I was exploring my PC when I rediscovered the program and after a few trials I was able to encode a few pieces from the classical guitar collection, and when I played it back, I was surprised at the music, I never though that all those dots and strange symbols can be translated to such beautiful, lilting simple but difficult to play in the guitar music. I was literally taken back to the 16 century. I closed my eyes and said to myself that I will learn this kind of music even if it takes me twenty years!

I found my classical guitar teacher and it costs me eighty pesos.

I am now trying to perfect Bach’s “Bouree in E minor.” Now all I need is the discipline to practice.

My daughter is interested in guitar….maybe…maybe….she can be what I hoped I was to be, a good guitarist.

But first things first, I must have a guitar of my own.


Jayred said...

I'm the only one in the family who cannot play the guitar (ah, my Mom, too). The guitar doesn't like me. LOL.

You must be really good in guitar playing.


Anonymous said...

The guitar is a beautifull instrument and will complete all of your desires! It has the richness and energy of an orchestra, the warmth and sensitivity of the voice, and the clarity of a piano. enjoy!

George said...

unfortunately not that good Jayred. Not that good.:-)

George said...

Hey anonymous, you're right.

Pedro Abreu said...


I just want to inform you that I have ve started a new guitar forum and hereby I invite you to participate.

I thought maybe you'de like to help me in making it worthy of existence.

Please, take a look at it:

All the best!

Pedro Abreu

Anonymous said...

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