Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
DanManGuitar
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Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by DanManGuitar » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:15 pm

Barely anybody I know has ever heard of it, and it's overshadowed by "pop" crap (not all of the time). It's less known than the piano, violin, etc. Why?

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David_Norton
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by David_Norton » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:27 pm

Because classical guitar is meant for the erudite sophisticates among society, and not the unwashed masses. It's a champagne, foie gras, and caviar sort of instrument. Not meant to be seen as on the same level as burgers, brats, and brewskies.

Excuse me now while go I have my Eggs Benedict and mimosa on the deck with Buffy, before heading off to the polo match.
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lagartija
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by lagartija » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:30 pm

^
:grire:

Thanks for the morning amusement, David!
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__/^^^^^o>
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bear
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by bear » Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:46 pm

Since, I came to cg late I can tell you what I previously thought about cg. First, playing required more talent than I had. Second, The standard repertoire, to me at least was boring. I have always liked classical music and I have my favorites which include Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Puccini, etc.. Cg was very often Bach and Bach is kind of hit and miss, some pieces I like and others I don't. I had a Segovia, all Bach cassette and hated it.
So, playing seemed difficult and my favorite composers were orchestra or piano pieces.
The scarcity of opportunities to become familiar with cg contributed to my ignorance. If, it wasn't for my mangled hands, I'd probably never have attempted cg.
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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:03 pm

David_Norton wrote:Because classical guitar is meant for the erudite sophisticates among society, and not the unwashed masses. It's a champagne, foie gras, and caviar sort of instrument. Not meant to be seen as on the same level as burgers, brats, and brewskies.

Excuse me now while go I have my Eggs Benedict and mimosa on the deck with Buffy, before heading off to the polo match.
:lol: Great post!

celestemcc
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Because the orchestral instruments and keyboards have been dominant from the 18th century onwards, primarily. The Big Composers (including Bach) that you're citing (understandably) in a sense cornered the market for them as the "legit" instruments. So, most people consider them the "real thing" now. They are also louder, frankly, which is not to dismiss them as lesser, but more suited to large ensemble performance. But look at any Renaissance consort, they often include a lute or vihuela, and in the Baroque era, a guitar.

Today people listen to recorded music more than attend live concerts... Music is in a sense so accessible that people don't have to play an instrument themselves in order to have music, no need to make music themselves.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:41 pm

It is a very subtle instrument. It does not have the extremes of dynamics of other instruments such as the violin or piano. Its fortissimo is probably a piano's mf or even mp.

Thus, unless you have developed an appreciation of the classical guitar, it can sound very monotonous or on one level.
Also, its repertoire involves unknown composers.
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Jack Douglas » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:08 pm

We could all learn a lesson from our friends, Pat Coldrick and David Jaggs. Pat has brought classical guitar to the appreciative audiences of Ireland in pubs, churches, private residences and just about any place his chair and guitar can fit. David, in the U.K., includes popular melodies along with classical pieces in his performances. Both of these guitarists sell their arrangements at modest fed for us hobbyists to have a go at.
I've attended concerts by highly skilled and trained classical guitarists and left wondering what on earth they were trying to demonstrate. Attending one of these performances leaves no doubt as to why 'classical guitar' is a small world.
The most memorable of classical guitar performances I've enjoyed left me humming the melody afterwards.
So, thank you, to all of you that had me humming after your concerts. And for the others, get over yourselves, have some fun!
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Rasqeo
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Rasqeo » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:47 pm

Jack Douglas wrote:We could all learn a lesson from our friends, Pat Coldrick and David Jaggs. Pat has brought classical guitar to the appreciative audiences of Ireland in pubs, churches, private residences and just about any place his chair and guitar can fit. David, in the U.K., includes popular melodies along with classical pieces in his performances. Both of these guitarists sell their arrangements at modest fed for us hobbyists to have a go at.
I've attended concerts by highly skilled and trained classical guitarists and left wondering what on earth they were trying to demonstrate. Attending one of these performances leaves no doubt as to why 'classical guitar' is a small world.
The most memorable of classical guitar performances I've enjoyed left me humming the melody afterwards.
So, thank you, to all of you that had me humming after your concerts. And for the others, get over yourselves, have some fun!
+1. Pat Coldrick is a great ambassador for classical guitar, taking it to audiences that wouldn't normally attend a classical guitar concert.

dory
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by dory » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:43 am

I agree on one level that classical guitar is unknown. However, if you listen to background music on the radio and on TV, or music played in restaurants, etc., you will hear a great deal of classical guitar. I am not sure that is a good thing necessarily, but I do hear a lot. I am beginning to hear a lot of classical guitar on our local classical music radio station which is a good thing.
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pima1234
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by pima1234 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:48 am

Because there's a general lack of music education. Part of what that creates is an ability to understand/appreciate great music.

Part of the community's job is to keep working at it.
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Alan Green
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Alan Green » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:36 am

It is largely a matter of ignorance - people think guitar, they think pop music. But all is not lost - I've had my best year for weddings since 2013, and the last Bride I played for asked me to play an Elton John (piano) song as she walked up the aisle.

You've got to throw in some music that people know amongst the "This is great but if you haven't followed or studied CG to a high level you'll never have heard of it" stuff when you're playing - especially live; I think too many CGists play just the highbrow stuff and wonder why it doesn't work in a live setting.

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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by CathyCate » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:48 pm

Alan Green wrote:...

You've got to throw in some music that people know amongst the "This is great but if you haven't followed or studied CG to a high level you'll never have heard of it" stuff when you're playing - especially live; I think too many CGists play just the highbrow stuff and wonder why it doesn't work in a live setting.
So true Alan!

In live settings it is crucial to target your audience at least in part. Meet them halfway with something they know before trying to take them where they may never have gone before.

I also think more collaboration would help to increase CG knowledge and appreciation among the general population. I really like what John Williams has accomplished over the years to this end. Mixing things up with vocalists, other instrumentalists, ensemble settings vs. strictly CG solo can go a long way toward putting more CG music on the airwaves etc. not to mention more bread on the table.

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Jim Davidson
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Jim Davidson » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:32 pm

I might get some heat for this, but I don't think it's all that unknown. Nevermind the fact that the guitar as a whole is one of the most popular and cosmopolitan instruments in history, even the classical guitar is well known by the public. Segovia and John Williams are well known names. Many pieces from the repertoire like Asturias, Myers' Cavatina, the Concerto De Aranjuez, and even the hook from Tarrega's Gran Vals (thanks to Nokia) are commonly recognizable throughout the western world.

I think that we have to distinguish between those who are informally familiar with classical guitar, and those who are passionate followers of it.

Why more people aren't passionately following it and playing it is the real question.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Why is Classical Guitar so Unknown?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:40 pm

Jim Davidson wrote:I might get some heat for this, but I don't think it's all that unknown. Nevermind the fact that the guitar as a whole is one of the most popular and cosmopolitan instruments in history, even the classical guitar is well known by the public. Segovia and John Williams are well known names. Many pieces from the repertoire like Asturias, Myers' Cavatina, the Concerto De Aranjuez, and even the hook from Tarrega's Gran Vals (thanks to Nokia) are commonly recognizable throughout the western world.

I think that we have to distinguish between those who are informally familiar with classical guitar, and those who are passionate followers of it.

Why more people aren't passionately following it and playing it is the real question.
The problem is that now that Segovia is long gone and Williams and Bream have retired, there is no classical guitar player who could fill a major international concert venue.

Even the very best will spend their lives playing in small churches and local guitar societies - or at guitar festivals, which are a sort of mutual appreciation society.

That to me is a sign of an instrument with only a niche following.
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