guitar music

guitar music
   The two main varieties of Spanish guitar music are the classical guitar and the flamenco guitar. Nevertheless, the historical development of the guitar, the instrument most widely identified with Spain, brings together both eastern and western traditions, and its popular character has caused it to figure in virtually all periods of musical history. Despite its great antiquity, however, it is only during the last hundred years that the guitar has been established in its modern form and its technique has been developed.
   The first music specifically composed in Spain for the guitar did not appear until Pasacalles y Obras por Todos los Tonos Naturales y Occidentales (Passacaglias and Pieces in all Natural and Western Keys) (1734) by Santiago de Muriza, a follower of Campion, Corbetta and De Visée. During his stay in Madrid, Boccherini used the guitar for his chamber music, thus stimulating the revival of the instrument during the eighteenth century. With Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) and Fernando Sors (1778–1839), the author of a guitar tutor published in 1830, the instrument achieved full recognition, which was consolidated by Graciano Tarragó, María Luisa Anido and Francisco Tárrega (1852–1909).
   It was Tárrega who initiated the development of modern classical guitar technique. His earlier transcriptions of works by Bach, Mozart and other composers formed the basis of the concert repertoire for guitar. Tárrega's work in developing guitar technique and writing arrangements of music composed for other instruments paved the way for two performers who are considered to be the architects of the instrument's twentiethcentury renaissance Miguel Llobet and, especially, Andrés Segovia, who collected and expanded Tárrega's discoveries. Segovia, (1893–1987), the most remarkable guitar maestro of all times worldwide, is popularly acclaimed to be the best exponent of Spanish music. Segovia's art is gifted with a very personalized and pleasant sound, his technique is complete and rich in resources of all kinds. Always looking to expand his repertory, he investigated the music of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries. Segovia gave the guitar further prominence as a concert instrument, and his artistry has been a source of inspiration for both players and composers.
   Music is pervaded by folk tradition, and this is particularly true of guitar music. A Spanish composer who is especially in touch with the traditions of his own land is Joaquín Rodrigo, who, though primarily a virtuoso pianist rather than a guitar-player, writes for the instrument with great understanding and sympathy. The Concierto de Aranguez (Aranjuez Concerto), the most famous of his compositions, is one of the first guitar concertos to be written in the twentieth century and one of the most popular for any instrument. Other composers drew heavily on popular and regional music for their inspiration, such as Joaquín Turina (1882–1949) and Manuel de Falla (1876–1946), who always wrote a guitar part into their large-scale instrumental works. As well as accomplished guitarists such as Emili Pujol and José Tomás, one of the most outstanding guitar soloists of the twentieth century was Narciso Yepes (1927–97), who modified the basic form of the instrument by developing a ten-stringed version. The twentiethcentury repertoire exhibits a wide variety of styles, from the romantic works inspired by Segovia to avant-garde compositions. Influences from folk music, flamenco and jazz have introduced unexpected tone-colourings, extending the instrument's expressive resources. The importance of modern guitar music has grown outside Spain, and leading performers such as Julian Bream and John Williams have made a significant contribution to the repertoire. Flamenco guitar music, mainly based on improvisations, started as an accompaniment for cante (flamenco song), or as part of a cuadro flamenco (a group of flamenco singers, dancers and guitarists performing together). Flamenco dance, indeed, began in the same way, as it initially used movement to embellish the singer's performance. Even virtuosos like Paco de Lucía and Sabicas, who are famous for their solo work, would probably define flamenco in terms of cante rather than of guitar technique. Flamenco guitar has become increasingly popular and it has been responsible for the worldwide interest in flamenco music. Paco de Lucía is one of the most innovative flamenco guitarists in Spain, who gained stardom by accompanying the cante of Camarón de la Isla. His album Fuente y Caudal (Fountain and Flow) revolutionized the world of flamenco guitar, by broadening the frontiers of traditional flamenco culture. Another guitarist who also won fame by accompanying Camarón is Tomatito. He is an outstanding technician as well as a sophisticated musician, and is deeply influenced by jazz. After Camarón's death, Tomatito developed his solo playing and accompanied various other cantaores (flamenco singers).
   Flamenco guitar in the late 1990s achieved new effects through a fusion with other rhythms such as the blues, rock or jazz. The Amador brothers, Raimundo and Rafael, are good examples of this new era of flamenco music.
   See also: music festivals; orchestras
   Further reading
   - Ordovás, J. (1991) "Pop Music", in A.Ramos Gascón (ed.) Spain Today: in Search of Modernity, Madrid: Cátedra (pp. 453–67 offer a panoramic view of the contemporary music scene in Spain).
   - White, J. (1995) "Music and the Limits of Cultural Nationalism", in H.Graham and J.Labanyi (eds) Spanish Cultural Studies: an Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press (pp. 225–8 provide a lucid account of the evolution of the musical situation in Spain since the Civil War).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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