Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
sal
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Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by sal » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:36 am

I am a professional woodwind player, and have been studying guitar for two years. Was practicing this evening and it occurred to me that none of the music I am practicing has a dynamic marking. I went through a a filing cabinet filled with guitar music and found ONE BOOK that has dynamic markings. No "F (forte)", "P(piano)" "hairpins(crescendos, diminuendos). NOTHING! WHats up with that?
Whoa scratch that-just found a bunch of dynamic markings in Leo Bouers Etude sincillos.
Perhaps "older" guitar music does not use dynamic notation?

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bear
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by bear » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:48 am

no, we're all a bunch of idiots.
BTW I have woodwind scores with no dynamics.
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Philosopherguy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:38 am

It is the challenge of playing the guitar: to see if you can always play at the exact same volume all the time. I still haven't mastered it. Another 30 or 40 years and I might succeed. Hahaha.

Does everyone need to be spoon-fed on what dynamics and tempo to play all the time?!?! Do we also need markings on what beat to accentuate in every song?

There is tons of music out there with dynamics markings if you look around. You might want to get modern editions that have been edited by someone for all the older music though.

Martin
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sal
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by sal » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:57 am

bear wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:48 am

BTW I have woodwind scores with no dynamics.
Really? Which ones?

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:26 am

I have no idea what music books you are using, but of the numerous scores currently on my music stand, published between 1926 and 2014 (so, obviously including "older" guitar music), each and every one has dynamic markings (and they were all originally written for guitar, as well). So, yes, in answer to your sanctimonious question, guitarists do, in fact, know what dynamics are.

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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by John Stone » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 am

Just pulled 10 entirely random guitar pieces off my shelf, ranging from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. About half have dynamic markings and about half don't.

Not sure what the OP is going on about.
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sal
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by sal » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:22 am

Philosopherguy wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:38 am
It is the challenge of playing the guitar: to see if you can always play at the exact same volume all the time. I still haven't mastered it.

Martin
Which is why I asked the question in the first place, and not because I was being sanctimonious as one very sensitive poster suggested.
My teacher continuously tellsme to play out, play louder, stronger, more volume. Several guitarists that I have spoken to have said that you have to play loud, one even said that was the most important consideration.
Wind players RARELY have an issue with projection (not being sanctimonious to you sensitive types who might be reading this, it is just a reality). Wind players see A LOT of dynamics in their scores. Guitar seems to be much less. Because the guitar has so much a smaller dynamic range than other instruments, I thought perhaps that could be a reason why composers might use dynamic markings less frequently when writing for guitar-or maybe not, just kind of wondering. And its not just winds-look at a piano score. THeres a heck of a lot more dynamic markings in a piano score than a guitar score.
ANd as the above quote mentions, THE CHALLENGE of playing the guitar is to play the exact same volume all of the time-if guitarists strive to meet this perpetual volume challenge, one could easily surmise that dynamics marks would be used infrequently.
Last edited by sal on Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

sal
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by sal » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:38 am

John Stone wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 am
Just pulled 10 entirely random guitar pieces off my shelf, ranging from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. About half have dynamic markings and about half don't.

Not sure what the OP is going on about.
Interesting. I just checked the music on my stand.
Noads "Baroque Guitar"-not one dynamic mark in the entire book.
Barrios Catedral-not one dynamic mark in the entire piece.
Twenty Sor studies-Segovia. Many of the pieces have no dynamics, except hairpins. Some have a dynamic mark only at the beginning of the piece.
Fred Sokalow 135 Repertoire pieces- 135 pieces, and not one dynamic mark among them.
Lauro Venezuelan Waltzes-has dynamic marks.

BTW- What is an "OP"

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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:19 am

sal wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:22 am
Philosopherguy wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:38 am
It is the challenge of playing the guitar: to see if you can always play at the exact same volume all the time. I still haven't mastered it.

Martin
Which is why I asked the question in the first place, and not because I was being sanctimonious as one very sensitive poster suggested.
My teacher continuously tellsme to play out, play louder, stronger, more volume. Several guitarists that I have spoken to have said that you have to play loud, one even said that was the most important consideration..
1) I think that Martin was being sarcastic.

2) I think that your teacher and your guitarist acquaintances are wrong and that their advice is absurd.

3) You have some editions of guitar music with few or no dynamic markings, fair enough, it obviously exists. However, your question implied ignorance on the part of guitarists (the three question marks were rather excessive). You could simply have asked, "Why do my guitar scores have no dynamics -- and is this normal?", or something to that effect.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:21 am

sal wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:38 am
BTW- What is an "OP"
"Original Poster" -- the one who starts the thread (in this case, you).

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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by John Stone » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:17 am

sal wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:38 am
John Stone wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:53 am
Just pulled 10 entirely random guitar pieces off my shelf, ranging from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. About half have dynamic markings and about half don't.

Not sure what the OP is going on about.
Interesting. I just checked the music on my stand.
Noads "Baroque Guitar"-not one dynamic mark in the entire book.
Barrios Catedral-not one dynamic mark in the entire piece.
Twenty Sor studies-Segovia. Many of the pieces have no dynamics, except hairpins. Some have a dynamic mark only at the beginning of the piece.
Fred Sokalow 135 Repertoire pieces- 135 pieces, and not one dynamic mark among them.
Lauro Venezuelan Waltzes-has dynamic marks.

BTW- What is an "OP"
It's internet-speak for Original Poster.

It looks like you're working on a lot of studies and pieces for beginners and intermediate players -- I'd guessed that from your mention that you've only been playing for two years. The dearth of dynamic markings in pieces of that nature isn't very surprising. If you look at good editions of more advanced guitar music, you'll find plenty of dynamic markings.

I suspect that your teacher (if he's any good at all) is trying to help you to develop stronger technique and not just to play forte at all times. I suggest you take his advice since that will help you to develop...

...better dynamics.
Last edited by John Stone on Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

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petermc61
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by petermc61 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:36 am

That’s all those labels like pp and ff randomly scattered through the score that I ignore....?

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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by George Crocket » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:07 am

A couple of points.

Firstly, dynamics and projection are not the same thing. Plenty of dynamic range is possible with guitar and I am sure this contributes to the appreciation of the sound of classical guitar music. Projection, however, is to do with being heard in performance. We all know that is an issue with guitar. For that reason we have a whole subforum devoted to (inter alia) amplification. It is also the main reason for many of the developments in modern classical guitar construction.

My second point is that, of course dynamic markings are used in guitar music. However, music originally written for harpsichord, for instance, would have none because no dynamic variation is available! Hence the absence of markings in Bach transcriptions. I am sure that goes for other instruments. And indeed it is no surprise that Noad's Baroque Guitar has none. I gather such indications are unusual in early guitar music.
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Dirck Nagy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:20 am

sal wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:38 am
...Interesting. I just checked the music on my stand.
Noads "Baroque Guitar"-not one dynamic mark in the entire book.
Barrios Catedral-not one dynamic mark in the entire piece.
Twenty Sor studies-Segovia. Many of the pieces have no dynamics, except hairpins. Some have a dynamic mark only at the beginning of the piece.
Fred Sokalow 135 Repertoire pieces- 135 pieces, and not one dynamic mark among them.
Lauro Venezuelan Waltzes-has dynamic marks.

...
Well, as far as the Noad goes, Baroque composers didnt really use a lot of dynamic markings. Just glancing at facsimile sources in Koonce's Bach book, I only see an occasional "piano" and "forte" in Bach's own handwriting.

Regarding the Sor 20 Studies: all those dynamics are Segovia's additions. I have seen facsimile of early edtions of some of those studies without dynamics, but I don't know if they are all like that. THese pieces were intended to be "studies" anyway, not concert pieces, so i suppose it's possible that Sor decided to concentrate on other aspects of technique in these particular pieces?

Sor and his contemporaries (Giuliani, Carcassi, etc) certainly DID use plenty of dynamic markings in their concert repertoire. Even Carcassi's famous Opus 60 studies have a lot in the original edition. (masterfully reproduced by Brian Jeffrey)

Fred Sokolow...? Didn't he write some "how to play jazz guitar" books? Not my first choice for a classical guitar anthology. I'd recommend the Royal Conservatory series titled "Bridges".

Barrios: I can't answer that one; don't have the score. Sorry.

cheers!
dirck
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by randalljazz » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:01 am

well, as you may know from "the interpretation of early music" (donington), contemporaneous accounts state plainly that music was always played with all manner of gradation in dynamics, tone, tempo, and ornamentation, even though it was "never" notated as such. it was assumed as part of musicianship (and training), and probably thought too obvious to mention. just as now, any decent musician breathes life into the score, with or without suggestions from composer or editor. ¿que no?
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