Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

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Patrocinio

Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby Patrocinio » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:43 pm

Hello everyone. I recently delved into a recently acquired copy of Ricardo Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica and would like to know if any of you have read, or are reading, this book, and if so what you've taken away from it. I'm still on the first chapter dealing with the anatomical aspects of classical guitar playing, but have looked ahead a bit to what the authors calls a "Theory of Positional Framing" pertaining to right hand technique: at once fascinating and, at first glance, bewildering. Also, does the text tie in directly with Kitharologus to any great extent, or is it more of a general survey of the author's approach to technique. To anyone who hasn't read the book, it's an apparently intentionally dry, academic read (comparable to a long academic jouranl article in style and layout), but packed full of information that makes it entirely worthwhile (as least judging by what I've read so far). It also comes with a well produced DVD that I have just barely skimmed through. Thanks to all in advance for their thoughts, opinions, and input.

clivepics
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby clivepics » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:58 am

My teacher recommended that i work with it and i can say that following it has definitely improved my playing in all sorts of areas. i may be only on level 1 of his exercises after 6 months but can definitely feel the difference.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby Larry McDonald » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:00 pm

Hi,
I just saw your post and ordered "Summa Kitharologus" today. Perhaps it will help explain some things that he does in "Kitharologus".
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

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djajasoekarta
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby djajasoekarta » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:34 am

I bought this book about a year ago and honestly haven't read them thoroughly. It spends most of the time on my cupboard. Like you said, it's much more like an academic journal, relating a basic Human Anatomy to CG technique. While it seems to analyze the problems deeply, I particularly don't like it so much. Maybe good for those who work as a teacher, this book might be used as reference. But myself (a player) prefer to stick with the tune, rather than trying to figure out how my fingers works.


Cheers,
'The woolen cloth of his suit made me question the value of Chinese silks. His fountain pen made me ashamed of my writing brushes and Chinese writing paper' - Puyi

'I don't write music to be difficult, only to be more like itself' - Harrison Birtwistle

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby Dirck Nagy » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:35 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:Hi,
I just saw your post and ordered "Summa Kitharologus" today. Perhaps it will help explain some things that he does in "Kitharologus".
Lare

what things are you referring to?
2015 John H. Dick
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Larry McDonald
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby Larry McDonald » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:48 am

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Larry McDonald wrote:Hi,
I just saw your post and ordered "Summa Kitharologus" today. Perhaps it will help explain some things that he does in "Kitharologus".
Lare

what things are you referring to?


Fair enough.

In my teaching, I came across a few things while using this book that I thought were questionable. For example, on pg 12 lesson one, R.I. writes ...

Rest Stroke: Finger stroke should start with a fully extended finger. Do not bend any joint except the first (the hand knuckle joint).

I never teach rest-strokes this way because I teach the modern open-hand school. This feels like flat-hand scale technique introduced for later scale work, but he never explains why he starts with this. It's important to use flat-hand school stuff, but why in exercise one? I'd like to see a justification for starting with the exception instead of the rule.

In exercise 2 he says [about the right-hand] ...

"The long-note values (half-notes) should be used to slowly stretch out the finger that is going to play next, so that this preparatory movement takes up all of the duration of the half-note".

Whoa. I teach the the fingers should twitch and activate the fast twitch muscle fiber bundles intrinsic to the hand, not the slow burn muscle fiber bundles as he suggests. I think he is teaching the wrong muscle use for this mechanic. Nevertheless, I'm willing to entertain his notion of slow extension, but I need an explanation. And I'm not going to experiment with students to find out why he trains the hands to be slow at first.

And what's up with the breves? This isn't species counterpoint. Why start with the ancient 4/2 time signature?

So you see, there is plenty to defend even in the first exercises. I have all his books, I think, and he is a thoughtful writer about all things guitar, but I need more evidence and explanations. Summa K. is a slow read that only a guitar teacher could love. But I think it is written at a high level and oozes expertise. I put it down a few months ago during the summer performance season. I'll pick it up again in September.

Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

Robin
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Re: Any thoughts on Iznaola's Summa Kitharologica?

Postby Robin » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:49 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Larry McDonald wrote:Hi,
I just saw your post and ordered "Summa Kitharologus" today. Perhaps it will help explain some things that he does in "Kitharologus".
Lare


In my teaching, I came across a few things while using this book that I thought were questionable. For example, on pg 12 lesson one, R.I. writes ...

Rest Stroke: Finger stroke should start with a fully extended finger. Do not bend any joint except the first (the hand knuckle joint).

I never teach rest-strokes this way because I teach the modern open-hand school. This feels like flat-hand scale technique introduced for later scale work, but he never explains why he starts with this. It's important to use flat-hand school stuff, but why in exercise one? I'd like to see a justification for starting with the exception instead of the rule.

Lare


Dear Lare,

In exercise 6 (Basic Positioning & Articulation of Left Hand), Iznaola lifts the ban on keeping the right hand fingers straight for rest stroke. Under "practice approach" he adds a notation at the bottom of the instructions that says, "from now on the approach to the rest stroke will no longer be as described in exercise No. 1. Allow finger to relax on string so that its middle joint flexes slightly. Make the stroke as natural and easy as possible."

That being said, I think this is an important change in his approach. It is easy to miss (especially by a student working on their own!) and such a change probably needs more explanation and instruction. It is a pretty big functional change in how the student is moving his/her finger. And, and as you point out, this change in how the finger is moving necessitates a change in the position of the right hand. This isn't really explained so the student may not know how to compensate.

Over all, I do enjoy Kitharlogous in many ways and have used it to better refine my basic technique--some one once told me that 'there is no such thing as advanced technique, just basic technique done very, very well' --so I always strive to improve my baseline skills. I also think Iznaola has done a nice job breaking down the complex into the simple which has provided me with a clearer understanding of what is in the skill mix of the repertoire I play. I have not purchased Summa Kitharologica yet but will likely do so in the future. It might be a good read for the long winter evenings!

Best,

Robin
So much music, so little time.


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