Classical guitar; audience?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
amade
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by amade » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:48 pm

Julian Bream spoke of the classical guitar "ghetto," and isn't that pretty much the state of things these days? There was a general audience from the 1950s well into the 1980s (perhaps beyond). I recall the guitar series at Orchestra Hall in Chicago (where the CSO performs). Segovia always drew a large audience. John Williams and Julian Bream did not play to empty halls. So things have changed. There have been a lot of thoughtful reasons advanced here, but I would add that original, engaging performers on any instrument are rare. Those of us old enough to have enjoyed performances by these artists are fortunate. Perhaps another such guitarist will appear on the scene, whose playing is more than accurate, fast, and efficient. Whose choice of repertory brings something special to the concert stage. A compelling performer whose playing draws an audience and influences a generation of guitarists, as did Segovia, Bream and Williams. Is that possible?
DJB

1966 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez (SP/Mahogany)
1970 Jose Ramirez 1a (CD/BR)
1972 Aria AC 40 (Masuro Matano, CD/IR)
1979 R. E. Bruné 13-course Baroque lute
1980 R. E. Bruné 8-course Renaissance lute
1990 Kazuo Yairi T-10 (SP/R)

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Tom Furnari
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Tom Furnari » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:20 pm

There's a good appreciation in Asia. Sadly, even that's not what it once was. But much more than other places.
Tom
Thomas Furnari

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Peter Frary
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Peter Frary » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:01 pm

When I moved to Hawaii in the late 1970s there was a bit of a guitar Renaissance going on and I enjoyed a couple decades of plentiful performance opportunities both formal and casual: solo concerts, duet concerts, dinner and coffee house gigs, weddings, corporate lunches, etc. The local classical guitar society was booming, the Guitar and Lute Magazine was headquartered here and we had a number of excellent luthiers and an annual guitar festival. I also had a waiting list of students and overflowing guitar classes at the university!

Alas, those opportunities have diminished here and my main audience is now YouTube and I've been charged with teaching "World Music" and ukulele at the college. While all this seems a little sad, I'm grateful to still be making a good living in music and enjoy playing classical guitar and practice everyday. Many of my friends have long given up on classical and switched to pop, rock, slack key, etc. The main difference for me is my profession is now more of a hobby, albeit I still have one private student and a small ensemble to direct. Ultimately you must be happy playing and writing for yourself and, if the public isn't interested, you're still happy and satisfied making music.

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musguitar
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by musguitar » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:03 am

[/quote]
But when does 'modern' music for 'classical' guitar become 'classical'? I'm sure I've asked this before but is it when an accomplished CG player or composer or academic has composed it or adapted it from other music?
When Takemitsu arranged Beatles music, were his arrangements then considered 'au-fait' 'classical' guitar music. But before that, Beatles music played on Classical Guitar wasn't considered 'authentic' 'classical' guitar music?
[/quote]

Theoretically Beatles music does not fall within the classical period. Anyway many guitar music played on a "classical" guitar have been umbrellaled as classical guitar although they were not composed during the classical period. But if you listen to Beatles music played by a classical guitarist today-- I will not compare them to Bach, etc. It is simply Beatles repertoire for Classical Guitar. If Segovia is still active today would he even consider play a Beatles tune like this artist? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4wd0wgAM5g

Smudger5150
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Smudger5150 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:57 am

musguitar wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:03 am
But when does 'modern' music for 'classical' guitar become 'classical'? I'm sure I've asked this before but is it when an accomplished CG player or composer or academic has composed it or adapted it from other music?
When Takemitsu arranged Beatles music, were his arrangements then considered 'au-fait' 'classical' guitar music. But before that, Beatles music played on Classical Guitar wasn't considered 'authentic' 'classical' guitar music?
[/quote]

Theoretically Beatles music does not fall within the classical period. Anyway many guitar music played on a "classical" guitar have been umbrellaled as classical guitar although they were not composed during the classical period. But if you listen to Beatles music played by a classical guitarist today-- I will not compare them to Bach, etc. It is simply Beatles repertoire for Classical Guitar. If Segovia is still active today would he even consider play a Beatles tune like this artist? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4wd0wgAM5g
[/quote]

I understand your point and don't have any problem with it but for me, it highlights the question of how to define 'classical' music.
When I look at the definition in wikipedia, it accommodates both the classical period (1750-1820) AND the general definition of classical music being Western 'art' music from medieval times to the present day.
The general idea of Western 'art' music is what I think of classical music and I personally attribute 'classical' guitar music to be any Western 'art' music I can play on the nylon-string guitar.
But I'm sure some will take umbrage with this and CG won't mean the same thing to them. I mean, the definition has been discussed at various times in various threads.
For me, the term classical's meaning depends on the context in which it's being used i.e. time period or western art music etc etc.

But maybe this is just splitting hairs and maybe my original point is when does an arrangement of modern music become an accepted part of the repertoire? It just seems from reading some of the posts that there seems to be resistance in accepting new music into the repertoire especially if it's based on genres outside 'art' music.
Which seems to be contradictory to creating a wider audience.
Unless we're bemoaning why the general public doesn't 'get it' and why they don't listen and appreciate 'classical' guitar music whether it's from the 'classical' period or western 'art' music which has been touched on in previous comments.
"Music washes away the dust of every day life." Art Blakey

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

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musguitar
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by musguitar » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:19 am

Thanks smudger for your insights.

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Peter Frary
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Peter Frary » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:43 am

I've spent much of my life exploring nonWestern music, jazz, folk, rock, etc., to inspire my writing and improvisations. For me, if it sounds good, it is good. It doesn't matter where or when it came from. With that said, that's not how the world works. A large percentage of people are gonna hate stuff they don't understand or is outside their comfort zone. I've had classical guitarists actually tell me I'm degrading the profession because I often perform on classical guitars with pickups and cutaways! And yet jazz and rock players consider me an art furt purist...

Gwynedd
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Gwynedd » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 pm

I think classical guitar is sinking into Bream's "ghetto" for various reasons:
1. the decline of classical music audience in general (I deplore Sirius XM for barely sparing two channels to broadcast.)
2. The instrument is intimate and not loud and impressive. Although it can be played in ensembles, duos, mixed and with more than one guitar, the soloist is at a disadvantage when it comes to making a big noise.
3. It's damn difficult, so the number of truly great players, though good, is not anywhere like violinists or pianists. They're a dime-a-dozen.
4. The instrument is difficult to compose for. Much of the repertoire is transcriptions, and new composers have to be worked with so they understand the peculiarities of the instrument. Yes, it's symphonic and polyphonic, but no you can't put that note there and this note here simultaneously.

theknowle
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by theknowle » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:31 pm

Why, oh why do guitar players think they are different from other musicians? Ok, the repertoire is smaller than for other instruments, but so much is undervalued and unexplored. We should all practise our Regondi, Mertz, Coste etc along with all the 20th century stuff (especially Rodrigo and Pujol, in my humble opinion!) and wow our (potential) audiences into grateful, enlightened submission.
It seems guitarists, with a few notable exceptions, actually enjoy being sidelined in the musical world, or am I totally wrong?

hoppy
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by hoppy » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:02 pm

Gwynedd wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 pm
I think classical guitar is sinking into Bream's "ghetto" for various reasons:
1. the decline of classical music audience in general (I deplore Sirius XM for barely sparing two channels to broadcast.)
2. The instrument is intimate and not loud and impressive. Although it can be played in ensembles, duos, mixed and with more than one guitar, the soloist is at a disadvantage when it comes to making a big noise.
3. It's damn difficult, so the number of truly great players, though good, is not anywhere like violinists or pianists. They're a dime-a-dozen.
4. The instrument is difficult to compose for. Much of the repertoire is transcriptions, and new composers have to be worked with so they understand the peculiarities of the instrument. Yes, it's symphonic and polyphonic, but no you can't put that note there and this note here simultaneously.
I agree with these points. I would add:
5. 99% of people are playing solo pieces and that gets 'samey' for non-players particularly with limited dynamics compared to other instruments
6. There's few pieces where the guitar works in ensemble or orchestra either due to volume or composition.
7. Modern ears want a wide variety of timbre - solo or duo or trio guitar isn't going to do that
8. Bream, Williams, Segovia et al were of a time and anyone expecting that sort of invigoration again will be disappointed
9. Technological innovations are typically shunned in favour or 'purism' - objection to amplification and synthetic sound works against volume, dynamics, sustain, timbre and collaboration

I think there will always be plenty of people attracted to playing and learning the instrument with a few leading figures who play to players and a small number of aficionados. That might be fine. I think if the community/instrument is to move beyond where it is it will happen through:
1. Adoption of technology - using godin-type guitars, amplification, effects to create different and sophisticated blends of sounds (not just whacking on a phaser...) or using electric or steel string guitars e.g. Threefifty, Michael Chapdelaine
2. Musical collaboration beyond attempts to meld with orchestral instruments
3. Looking beyond established repertoire - e.g. Derek Gripper
4. New compositions that aren't 'new music' e.g. York, Verdery, Hand, Dyens (RIP)

That's from the perspective of extending general audience - I know less about the 'classical' world and how to build an audience there, although my experience is that 'modern' classical music is much more engaged with technology and new sounds.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:42 pm

I disagree with many points:
1. people moving from Radio to streaming and in streaming classical music is doing fine. The only thing that preferences of the people in this area could be different from what classical radio hosts promoted and pushed.
2. who need loud instruments in 21st century? anything could be amplified.Non-impressive? - sorry it is nonsense!
3. not many players??? - this is insult to guitarists... - there are thousands of good players, but they will never reach many concert halls or festivals ... just because it is business and promoters and organizers will always prefer to promote and MAKE MONEY on their artists (or themselves in many cases)
4. "The instrument is difficult to compose for."? What? Sorry... again nonsense. Not more difficult than any other instrument. There are immense amount of music composed for it, but audience and performers prefer old path of 20-50 well-known pieces.
5. Dynamics problem? - again - one could use mic to overcome it.
6. Ensemble problem? - most of the people in the world spending they days alone now...therefore solo instrument so warm and intimate and passionate as guitar has much more potential than any ensembles nowadays and in the future
7. "Modern ears want a wide variety of timbre" - this is just personal opinion...
according to data most of people (unfortunately) actually like most primitive music...which consist basically from drum and bass and talk...
I agree with points 8 and 9.

I disagree with particular way of Adoption of technology which you offer -
"using godin-type guitars, amplification, effects to create different and sophisticated blends of sounds (not just whacking on a phaser...) or using electric or steel string guitars e.g. Threefifty, Michael Chapdelaine"
No.
Sound of good acoustic (not godin type, but classical guitar) is much superior of all those innovations. Mic and good amplification (with limited sound coloring) is enough.
Your other points about new music are good, except I personally do not expect any changes in my lifetime.
People will play same standard repertoire and guitar playing will continue to become more like a martial art discipline rather than ART like painting...
hoppy wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:02 pm
Gwynedd wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 pm
I think classical guitar is sinking into Bream's "ghetto" for various reasons:
1. the decline of classical music audience in general (I deplore Sirius XM for barely sparing two channels to broadcast.)
2. The instrument is intimate and not loud and impressive. Although it can be played in ensembles, duos, mixed and with more than one guitar, the soloist is at a disadvantage when it comes to making a big noise.
3. It's damn difficult, so the number of truly great players, though good, is not anywhere like violinists or pianists. They're a dime-a-dozen.
4. The instrument is difficult to compose for. Much of the repertoire is transcriptions, and new composers have to be worked with so they understand the peculiarities of the instrument. Yes, it's symphonic and polyphonic, but no you can't put that note there and this note here simultaneously.
I agree with these points. I would add:
5. 99% of people are playing solo pieces and that gets 'samey' for non-players particularly with limited dynamics compared to other instruments
6. There's few pieces where the guitar works in ensemble or orchestra either due to volume or composition.
7. Modern ears want a wide variety of timbre - solo or duo or trio guitar isn't going to do that
8. Bream, Williams, Segovia et al were of a time and anyone expecting that sort of invigoration again will be disappointed
9. Technological innovations are typically shunned in favour or 'purism' - objection to amplification and synthetic sound works against volume, dynamics, sustain, timbre and collaboration

I think there will always be plenty of people attracted to playing and learning the instrument with a few leading figures who play to players and a small number of aficionados. That might be fine. I think if the community/instrument is to move beyond where it is it will happen through:
1. Adoption of technology - using godin-type guitars, amplification, effects to create different and sophisticated blends of sounds (not just whacking on a phaser...) or using electric or steel string guitars e.g. Threefifty, Michael Chapdelaine
2. Musical collaboration beyond attempts to meld with orchestral instruments
3. Looking beyond established repertoire - e.g. Derek Gripper
4. New compositions that aren't 'new music' e.g. York, Verdery, Hand, Dyens (RIP)

That's from the perspective of extending general audience - I know less about the 'classical' world and how to build an audience there, although my experience is that 'modern' classical music is much more engaged with technology and new sounds.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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Peter Lovett
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by Peter Lovett » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:13 am

Some interesting thoughts there Andrei. I agree with you except for 6 but then I also disagree with @hoppy #6 as well. I think the guitar works exceptionally well as an ensemble instrument and there are plenty of pieces that demonstrate that and we need more.

The problem with guitar is that it is also an excellent solo instrument so we shut ourselves away muttering that the world does not appreciate us and death to all pianos. We need to get out of that syndrome and prove all over again that the guitar is a classic instrument along with the rest of them.
1994 Jim Williams lattice braced, Cedar/Tasmanian Blackwood

hoppy
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by hoppy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:11 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:42 pm
I disagree with many points
I expect many will, but I don't see people playing Villa-Lobos and Pujol really well is going to change anything. I don't think the current situation is a bad one and could healthily continue, I was setting out what I thought would need to change for a wider audience. It wouldn't have to change the core of the discipline and repertoire but might offer more avenues into classical guitar music - particularly composed artworks as opposed to riff-based or improvisational music.

Re 5 - I'm interested to know how microphones solve the guitar's dynamics problem. It solves the volume problem but not dynamics and sustain.
6. the issue with relation to audience is that people/programmers prefer group music to solo instrument performers.
7. Yes that was opinion and disproved here! http://newatlas.com/pop-music-trends/23535/ But with reference to solo guitar it is hard to compete on sound colours to keep a less dedicated audience interested.

Re point on 9 - I love the sound of a classical unamplified or with light reinforcement but I am suggesting that experimentation with technology could be beneficial for repertoire and audiences - Sean Shibe is another example of using electric guitar to good effect while still offering classical repertoire. https://seanshibe.com/ Barrios played steel string. It's like when someone earlier said that only f-hole guitars should be used for jazz - Mike Stern and Julian Lage might be offended to think that they don't play jazz guitar because they use solid body guitars. Similarly using an electric bass instead of a standup acoustic - it's still jazz. The reason I mentioned the godin is that you can still have the feel of nylon for classical technique but with more functionality of an electric in terms of colour/effects (not to compete on clean/unadjusted sound) - and this means being able to control attack and sustain and get different sounds to shape the repertoire, use loop pedals to create different solo compositions - it might dampen the spruce vs cedar debate though...One of the models also has direct synth output. I get that lots of classical guitarists would think it's terrible or 'not classical' but they're already sold.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:12 pm

Thanks for your point Peter! Yes sure I agree with you on this. I mentioned this point in my post just because it is not that much relevant to popularity of classical guitar and it is audience. Yes guitar could sound great in ensembles, but even alone as a solo instrument is enough to draw attention of listeners and even more of people who wish to play. That is what I meant. Apart from it - playing in ensembles is good! :)
Peter Lovett wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:13 am
Some interesting thoughts there Andrei. I agree with you except for 6 but then I also disagree with @hoppy #6 as well. I think the guitar works exceptionally well as an ensemble instrument and there are plenty of pieces that demonstrate that and we need more.

The problem with guitar is that it is also an excellent solo instrument so we shut ourselves away muttering that the world does not appreciate us and death to all pianos. We need to get out of that syndrome and prove all over again that the guitar is a classic instrument along with the rest of them.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Classical guitar; audience?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:59 pm

5. Mics may give more possibilities to guitarist - who would not have to force sound most of the time, just to be heard in big hall
6. Programmers ? (Concert hall managers? etc? ) they prefer
a) something which will bring people in and make sales
b) something which will be profitable to them in other ways
Certainly if classical guitar made itself a venue for limited amount aficionados and not to general audience, they may not want it, unless by second reason
7. this article you mentioned seems to confirm my point - that (popular) music in general becoming more primitive and timbral richness are not really that iportat for modern listener...
9. I like experimentation and played midi guitar and synths a lot, i have guitar with same RMC pickups as Godin guitars.
It is very interesting and in future could be even more interesting if technology will improve, but so far (acc. to my own experience) natural acoustic guitar sound and opportunities are far superior of midi.
Midi sound is still sound a bit cold and artificial...(and people feel it even unconciesly) - I hope this problem will be solved in future.
Main problem of the "classical guitar" in particular and other "guitars" and instruments lay down more in mental realm rather than in physical one.
It seems like it grew into kind of martial art discipline rather than Art form.
Art is characterized by creativity, creation of new Art pieces, individual freedom, unlimited searching for new forms and new ideas. Classical guitar discipline is full of different rituals and Taboos, which enforced by educational system which press hard pupil into submissions to rules, rituals and taboos for many years until one feels that all those things are only possible ways to do, to see, to play...
All changes (like standing with the guitar, different unusual technics, use of any electronics etc.) perceived as breaking of Taboo and rejected, as well as rejected any composers who do not belong to certain approved academic groups.
It become self reproducing circle which do not grow anymore.
But nowadays anyone could publish music and new classical guitar music on WWW and reach audience this way, which was not possible in the past.

By the way - Vila-Lobos is great composer! I played him a lot and love his music!
And I do change many things myself and promoted changes to others therefore you are wrong on this assertion. :)
hoppy wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:11 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:42 pm
I disagree with many points
I expect many will, but I don't see people playing Villa-Lobos and Pujol really well is going to change anything. I don't think the current situation is a bad one and could healthily continue, I was setting out what I thought would need to change for a wider audience. It wouldn't have to change the core of the discipline and repertoire but might offer more avenues into classical guitar music - particularly composed artworks as opposed to riff-based or improvisational music.

Re 5 - I'm interested to know how microphones solve the guitar's dynamics problem. It solves the volume problem but not dynamics and sustain.
6. the issue with relation to audience is that people/programmers prefer group music to solo instrument performers.
7. Yes that was opinion and disproved here! http://newatlas.com/pop-music-trends/23535/ But with reference to solo guitar it is hard to compete on sound colours to keep a less dedicated audience interested.

Re point on 9 - I love the sound of a classical unamplified or with light reinforcement but I am suggesting that experimentation with technology could be beneficial for repertoire and audiences - Sean Shibe is another example of using electric guitar to good effect while still offering classical repertoire. https://seanshibe.com/ Barrios played steel string. It's like when someone earlier said that only f-hole guitars should be used for jazz - Mike Stern and Julian Lage might be offended to think that they don't play jazz guitar because they use solid body guitars. Similarly using an electric bass instead of a standup acoustic - it's still jazz. The reason I mentioned the godin is that you can still have the feel of nylon for classical technique but with more functionality of an electric in terms of colour/effects (not to compete on clean/unadjusted sound) - and this means being able to control attack and sustain and get different sounds to shape the repertoire, use loop pedals to create different solo compositions - it might dampen the spruce vs cedar debate though...One of the models also has direct synth output. I get that lots of classical guitarists would think it's terrible or 'not classical' but they're already sold.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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