Juan's World

Guitarist, Composer, Writer, Publisher

Filtering by Tag: Classical guitar

Interview with Composer/Guitarist Javier Farias: Practical Aspects of Classical-Guitar Composition, Part IV

For my article on practical matters of composition for classical guitar (Classical Guitar, Summer 2017), I interviewed three acclaimed composers and a publisher of classical guitar music. This series of posts publishes the full interviews. The first extended interview is with Stephen Goss, based in the UK, one of the most renowned composers for the contemporary classical guitar. The second interview is with Jürg Kindle, one of the most prominent contemporary pedagogical composers for the classical guitar. This third interview is with Chilean composer and guitarist Javier Farias.

Read More

Interview with Composer/Guitarist Jürg Kindle: Practical Aspects of Classical-Guitar Composition, Part III

For my article on practical matters of composition for classical guitar (Classical Guitar, Summer 2017), I interviewed three acclaimed composers and a publisher of classical guitar music. This series of posts publishes the full interviews. The second is with Jürg Kindle, one of the most prominent contemporary pedagogical composers for the classical guitar.

Read More

Water Wearing Stone: Practical Matters of Classical Guitar Composition

A composer creates, above all. Today’s composers must nevertheless navigate a myriad of factors including commissions, licensing and copyright, distribution and digital streaming, on and on. Perchance in Bach’s day it was easier: toiling in obscurity and poverty, or gaining fame—if not riches—most composers labored under the patronage of a wealthy and influential benefactor. Then again, Bach didn’t have the option of sending a performer MIDI files via Dropbox. Composers in the 21st century possess countless options, although most of us will still be unlikely, except under near-miraculous circumstances, to receive rich recompense for our work. Composing can be rewarding and worthwhile in and of itself, but whether an established or aspiring composer, attention to practical aspects and business details may have a great influence over your ultimate success.

Note: This article first appeared in Classical Guitar magazine's Summer 2017 issue.

Read More

Improvisation and Classical Guitar

The first step, and in some ways the most difficult one, is to wrap your head around the idea of improvisation on the classical guitar. What precisely is improvisation, and what is not? A familiar part of the musical toolbox for guitarists specializing in jazz, flamenco, bluegrass, blues, rock and other genres, improvisation has been relatively neglected, if not exactly derided, in modern classical guitar. This extends to classical music in general, of course. Considering the history of classical music and the evolution of the guitar, it’s perhaps surprising that improvisation does not play a larger role.

Read More

Guitarreros de Madrid

Luthiers and guitar shops in the Spanish capital

On my trip this August to Madrid, I decided to spend some time visiting a few of the city’s guitar shops and luthiers—artisanal guitar makers. I’ve visited Spain and Madrid several times previously, yet seven years had transpired since my last visit and I had rarely endeavored to visit classical or flamenco guitar makers there. August is arguably not the best month to visit Madrid—a majority of the residents have fled the oppressive heat of the city for vacations at the beach or abroad, and the inhabitants that remain are not inclined to work much, so while shops such as the Corte Inglés or Zara are promoting rare sale prices, many smaller boutiques, restaurants, and other businesses have irregular hours or are closed for the month. On the other hand, while tourists are in abundance, the fact that the populace has abandoned the metropolis leaves Madrid’s streets, cafés and bars relatively deserted.

The guitar in Spain, it goes without saying, is as ubiquitous as bulls and bullfighting. When we refer to the “Spanish guitar” today it can mean both the classical guitar or flamenco guitar; though similar in some ways in construction, the latter generally features a lower action, with strings sometimes “buzzing” against the frets, and a width, or bout, that is typically narrower than its classical counterpart. The early development of the guitar had perhaps as much to do with Italy as Spain, and of course today superb classical and flamenco guitars are made in every corner of the world. But it’s easy to associate the classical guitar primarily with Spain, and with Madrid in particular, which has been the heart of Spanish guitar making since the mid-eighteenth century.

Read More