Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

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

Post by Peter Lovett » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:23 am

I have scores that have dynamics marked and also without. In many ways I enjoy the scores without more as it opens up the endless possibilities of applying your own dynamics whereas I have to highlight the scores with dynamics otherwise I tend to miss them.
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Contreras
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Contreras » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:05 am

sal wrote:
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?
That's where I left my Can (of worms) opener 😂
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montana
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by montana » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:18 am

Dynamic markings tell you how to feel the music.Don't need anyone to tell me that. It's like someone telling me how to expand and contract my lungs.

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

Post by PeteJ » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:24 am

The OP raises a good question imho. It's clearly partly to do with the narrow dynamic range, but still it's odd more composers don't make dynamic suggestions. Much more strange to me is the scarcity of phrase marks.

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

Post by sal » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:20 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:55 pm

Its all part of the thing that historically composers and players have behaved as if the guitar is an instrument apart, that works differently and is subject to different musical values, to the mainstream wind, vocal, string, and keyboard instruments. And that includes composers like Sor who were competent in at least some of the latter departments, and even though some, like Sor, actually did their best to compose and teach according to the kinds of values that pertain in that bigger world.
That is thought provoking- And very much in line with my original question/observation.Does the more limited dynamic range of the guitar lead to less dynamic notation? Even with the "mainstream" instruments, certain descriptive marks will be absent on one instruments notations, but present on others; you wouldnt see a pizzicato notation on a wind score, you wouldnt see a flutter tongue notation on a string score, you wouldnt see a golpe notation on either(at least I do not think you would). Similarly, certain marks mean different things, or at least executed differently depending on the instrument; a slur or legato mark means one bow(generally) for strings, one breath(generally), for winds. For guitar, my pedestrian knowledge of the instrument means use free strokes, hammers, and very connected, but Im sure an accomplished guitarists have a much more profound palette of articulation devices at their disposal.

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

Post by sal » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:24 am
The OP raises a good question imho. It's clearly partly to do with the narrow dynamic range, but still it's odd more composers don't make dynamic suggestions.
Personally I think a COMPOSERS written dynamics are not suggestions, but DIRECTIONS; they are as integral to the intent of the composers vision as are articulation marks, notes, rhythms, time signatures, etc.

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

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:51 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:24 am
The OP raises a good question imho. It's clearly partly to do with the narrow dynamic range, but still it's odd more composers don't make dynamic suggestions.
Personally I think a COMPOSERS written dynamics are not suggestions, but DIRECTIONS; they are as integral to the intent of the composers vision as are articulation marks, notes, rhythms, time signatures, etc.
Yes, they should be. As to unstated phrasing, that should be clearer to a musician than unstated dynamics.
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Lovemyguitar » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:09 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:20 pm
...Does the more limited dynamic range of the guitar lead to less dynamic notation? ...
As I and others have pointed out, more advanced repertoire, particularly music actually written for the guitar, will almost always have plenty of dynamics notation, as well as better sources of beginner/intermediate music, such as the aforementioned "Bridges" series by RCM. You are basing your (false) assumption about this supposed lack of notation mainly on a very limited number of beginner anthologies (one of questionable origin and/or pedagogical use) and transcriptions from early music, which are simply not representative of classical guitar music in general, again, especially with respect to advanced/concert level pieces written by composers specifically for the guitar, and/or found in better teaching anthologies.

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

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:12 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:20 pm
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:55 pm
Its all part of the thing that historically composers and players have behaved as if the guitar is an instrument apart, that works differently and is subject to different musical values, to the mainstream wind, vocal, string, and keyboard instruments. And that includes composers like Sor who were competent in at least some of the latter departments, and even though some, like Sor, actually did their best to compose and teach according to the kinds of values that pertain in that bigger world.
That is thought provoking- And very much in line with my original question/observation.Does the more limited dynamic range of the guitar lead to less dynamic notation?
Not really. Obviously, we don't do real fff but within the scale of difference we can get dynamics are perfectly readily specified. It really is just a combination of various things to do with the tradition or habits of particular parts of the business of writing, teaching and publishing - at different times and places. And in particular with the earlier repertoires we really have little or no actual idea why people wrote and printed exactly how they did, despite the various methods etc published
sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:20 pm
Even with the "mainstream" instruments, certain descriptive marks will be absent on one instruments notations, but present on others; you wouldnt see a pizzicato notation on a wind score, you wouldnt see a flutter tongue notation on a string score, you wouldnt see a golpe notation on either(at least I do not think you would). Similarly, certain marks mean different things, or at least executed differently depending on the instrument; a slur or legato mark means one bow(generally) for strings, one breath(generally), for winds. For guitar, my pedestrian knowledge of the instrument means use free strokes, hammers, and very connected, but Im sure an accomplished guitarists have a much more profound palette of articulation devices at their disposal.
Yes, decent players have the resources of articulation but for various reasons (as above) they are very rarely specified in scores in the way the mainstream instruments take for granted, and learn from day one - its one of my hobby-horses so take cover if I get really started on that stuff.
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Contreras
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Contreras » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:23 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 pm

Personally I think a COMPOSERS written dynamics are not suggestions, but DIRECTIONS; they are as integral to the intent of the composers vision as are articulation marks, notes, rhythms, time signatures, etc.
I can't really agree with this ... they may be directions to the composer (if she's a control-freak), but to me they are suggestions, and particularly since I'm a soloist. I don't have to 'fit in' or do what the conductor wants. My interpretation is as valid as anyone else's, and a piece can be equally pleasing played in very different ways.
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by Philosopherguy » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:55 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:24 am
The OP raises a good question imho. It's clearly partly to do with the narrow dynamic range, but still it's odd more composers don't make dynamic suggestions.
I think a COMPOSERS written dynamics are not suggestions, but DIRECTIONS; they are as integral to the intent of the composers vision as are articulation marks, notes, rhythms, time signatures, etc.
I was joking with you earlier when I said guitarists try to play at the same volume, sorry for that. I didn't mean to cause confusion. I like to joke. The guitar is a very dynamic instrument that is meant to be played so. Although the dynamic range does not span quite what some other instruments can, it does have the potential to vary itself quite widely from extremely quiet to reasonably loud for what it is. Very important for the guitar is the sense of touch.

But, regarding your point here: It is easy to see why for an orchestral instrument where you are playing with a number of people that dynamic markings are extremely important. However, given that very often guitar is a solo instrument, it is sometimes more beneficial to let the artist create the piece how they imagine it. I do like when there are "suggestions" as to what the composer might have been after in different areas, but these are rarely the whole story in a piece. For a very romantically played instrument, composers wouldn't like to really mark up the sheet with every intended swell and vibrato. I think it would be both unnecessary and a little ridiculous. Older music tends to have very few/if any markings because they are period pieces. For example, when you play a waltz you should know what beats to accentuate and roughly how the phrasing should go. When you have a Mazurka it is played in a different manner. If you were alive when these forms were more popular, would have been more a part of the musical "vocabulary". Given our current climate/year, as classical musicians, we all have to look this stuff up and figure out for ourselves what a Waltz really is and how it should be phrased if you want to play it properly.

I think the best thing to do when learning to play the guitar is listen to all the great players and see how they treat pieces that you are potentially interested in playing or just any great piece. You will find that the guitar is a very nuanced instrument that has numerous "sound" textures that it can produce, along with a nice dynamic range. Of course, the better the speakers/sound system you have, the more you are likely to get out of it. Plus, go to as many concerts as possible and see live players. I have a vision of what I want my guitar to "sound" like when I sit down to play. The challenge for me is to make it sound like I imagine it should.

I think given your experience as a musician, you likely come at music from a very structural background where strictness was imposed (the conservatory type system). I don't think guitar players have ever been, traditionally, that structured in the way that the music was played. That was Segovia's big criticism too: how to raise the guitar to the level of musicianship that some of the other classical instruments enjoyed. He tended to go on tirades against "the flamenco". Not that there isn't very musical and structured music for the guitar, of course, there is.

Just my opinion... Since I don't know you, any imposition of your experiences was just a guess based on your comments and I could be completely wrong. I know a number of classically trained pianists who just about pull their hair out when dynamics aren't marked as much as they would like. It comes from how they learned to play the piano. But, talk to any jazz/rock musician and they would throw any markings out and do what they wanted anyway.

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

Post by Lawler » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:32 am

"Do guitarists know what dynamics are?" Some of us do.
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Re: Do guitarists know what "dynamics" are???

Post by dory » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:22 am

By the way, Spanish uses "tocar" for all instruments-- not just stringed ones-- e.g. tocar la flauta-- play the flute.
Dory

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

Post by sal » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:48 pm

Contreras wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:23 pm
sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:48 pm

Personally I think a COMPOSERS written dynamics are not suggestions, but DIRECTIONS; they are as integral to the intent of the composers vision as are articulation marks, notes, rhythms, time signatures, etc.
I can't really agree with this ... they may be directions to the composer (if she's a control-freak), but to me they are suggestions, and particularly since I'm a soloist. I don't have to 'fit in' or do what the conductor wants. My interpretation is as valid as anyone else's, and a piece can be equally pleasing played in very different ways.
A piece can certainly be equally pleasing played in different ways, but I do not see why ignoring dynamic marks is a necessity for being different.
Even if one observes every directive by the composer, there is an infinite amount of room for personal expression. Two good players playing the same piece observing all of the marks will sound different, and will express the music differently while staying in the "confines" of the composers marks.
I wouldnt change the notes or rhythms of the composition (hey I dont like that written D, I like a G# instead :) ), and I wouldnt change the dynamics; In my opinion they are equally important in interpreting the piece.

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

Post by sal » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:01 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:12 pm

sal wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:20 pm
Even with the "mainstream" instruments, certain descriptive marks will be absent on one instruments notations, but present on others; you wouldnt see a pizzicato notation on a wind score, you wouldnt see a flutter tongue notation on a string score, you wouldnt see a golpe notation on either(at least I do not think you would). Similarly, certain marks mean different things, or at least executed differently depending on the instrument; a slur or legato mark means one bow(generally) for strings, one breath(generally), for winds. For guitar, my pedestrian knowledge of the instrument means use free strokes, hammers, and very connected, but Im sure an accomplished guitarists have a much more profound palette of articulation devices at their disposal.
Yes, decent players have the resources of articulation but for various reasons (as above) they are very rarely specified in scores in the way the mainstream instruments take for granted, and learn from day one - its one of my hobby-horses so take cover if I get really started on that stuff.
Thats a great hobby. I find the subject of articulation fascinating. SO feel free, I wont take cover :)

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