Song of the Week The United States Marine Song "From the Halls of Montezuma"
1987, the month of April has been International Guitar Month, so our musician
for this week is Andrés [on-dray] Segovia. Segovia was a virtuoso
fromLinares in Spain. He has been regarded as one
of the greatest guitarists of all time. Many professional classical guitarists
today are students of Segovia, or students of his students.
Segovia was important for bringing the classical guitar to center stage in concert
music. He was also the first to explore a wide palette of tone colors
possible on the acoustic guitar. Segovia had a distinctive musical
personality. His style of
playing, and his way of phrasing musical statements set a high standard of
performance that others have tried to emulate.
Classical guitar quartet
listening example for today is calledAsturias, or Leyenda [lay-END-da].
(We heard folk music from Asturias by Rimsky-Korsakov.) This popular concert piece was originally composed for piano by Spanish
composer Albeniz. Segovia transcribed
the music for guitar.This means he
rewrote the piano music to be played on guitar. The video shows Andres Segovia’s
technical skill and the different sounds that can be made on the instrument.
LISTEN AND WATCH FOR . . . The melody, which will be the highest sounding pitches. Watch the fast harmony notes that are plucked by the fingertips and fingernails.
Linares is in southern Spain, just above Granada. Asturias is in north-west Spain, on the Bay of Biscay.
VOCABULARY WORDS Classical guitarist - someone who plays classical style music on an acoustic guitar, rather than on an electric one. Transcription - taking music written for one instruments and re-writing it to be played on a different instrument.
Frameworks: M.4.4., M.5.2.
TUESDAY Listening Example: "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" (Memories of the Alhambra)
Playing a tremelo on guitar
The Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, Spain (Andalusia)
Andres Segovia's first public performance was in Granada, Spain at the age of 16 in 1909. Despite the discouragement of his family, who wanted him to become a lawyer, he continued to diligently pursue his studies of the guitar. A BIT OF IRONY: It is ironic that as a child Segovia left his first guitar teacher because he was too strict and wouldn’t let Segovia experiment in his own style. Later, as a teacher, his students complained about the same thing of him!
Sevogia’s playing technique differed from other guitarists. He started plucking the strings with the fingernails as well as fingertips to produce a sharper sound from the guitar. This way he could create a wider range of tone colors, or timbres [tam-bers]. Most classical guitarists today play with both nails and fingertips. He was also one of the first to use nylon strings. After WWII, this new technology helped keep the guitar in tune better.
Segovia developed a technique called the “Segovia tremelo”, where the fingers strum the same tone repeatedly very fast. The tremolo is one of the most beautiful techniques of the classical guitar. It gives the impression of a sustained, shimmering note - a continuous thread of pure sound. It is a delicate effect that mesmerizes audiences when performed. LISTEN FOR . . . Our listening example for today is called “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” [ray-KWAIR-dose da lah all-AWM-bra] or “memories of the Alhambra”, which is a famous castle in Spain. It is by Spanish composer Francisco Tarrega. The video demonstrates the tremolo and rich sound quality taught by Segovia.
Timbre - another term for tone color. Tremelo - very fast repetition of a single musical tone; produces a sustained tone.
Frameworks: M.4.4., M.5.2.
WEDNESDAY Listening Example: The Monkees "Theme Song"
One of the songs heard in Monkey Kingdom is the theme song from a TV series called The Monkees.The Monkees are an American pop/rock
band that released music between 1966 and 1970, with tours and reunion albums
in the following decades. Their group was formed in Los Angeles in
1965 for the TV series which aired from 1966 to 1968.
The musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones. Their popular songs include "Last Train to Clarksville", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", and the number one hit, "Daydream Believer".
Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith
In their TV series they experience zany, humorous adventures and situations. They wear kooky costumes and clown around with each other. They show positive attitudes and are kind to others.
The Monkees pioneered the music video format. Band member Mike Nesmith dreamed up the prototype for what would become MTV. The group paved the way for every boy band that followed in their wake, from New Kids on the Block to 'N Sync to Jonas Brothers, while Davy set the stage for future teen idols David Cassidy and Justin Bieber. As pop stars go, you would be hard pressed to find a successful artist who didn't take a page from The Monkees' playbook, even generations later.
THURSDAY Listening Example: Flemenco Music from Seville, Spain
Flemenco is an
important genre of Spanish guitar music.It is a very rhythmic dance involving hand clapping, foot stomping and
castanet playing.Castanets are small
wooden discs clapped together with the fingertips. The castanets serve as
percussion accompaniment to the guitar.
Our listening example today is flemenco music from Spain.A flemenco dancer sometimes plays castanets while a
guitarist plays in the background. Flemenco is a very expressive dance. It combines graceful movement with facial expression. The lady must learn to twirl her skirt and
not step on the long train of her dress. When a man dances, he uses more foot
stomping and hand clapping. The rhythm of the guitar helps interpret the dance.
VOCABULARY WORDS Castanets - small wooden clappers played with the fingers. Flemenco - a style of dancing originating in Spain. Music written in the style.
Frameworks: M.4.4., M.4.5., M.5.1., M.5.2.
FRIDAY Listening Example: Today's Guitar Technique by Vahid Iran Shahi
Styles of guitars through history
A Ramirez flamenco guitar
guitar, or Spanish Guitar,
is the member of the guitar family used in classical music. It has classical
strings, rather than those used on guitars designed for popular music.The shape, construction, and material of
guitars varies, but typically they have a shape resembling early
romantic guitars from France and Italy. The
flemenco guitar is like the modern classical, but it is made with different materials,
construction and sound.
The flemenco guitar is like the modern classical, but
it is designed with different materials, construction and sound. These features
in flamenco guitars produce a more percussive sounding guitar than a classical
guitar. The notes on a flamenco guitar have stronger attack and a more rapid
decay. This allows rapid, percussive playing of notes that remain distinct in
sound. By contrast, a classical guitar is able to sustain sounds longer.
Andres Segovia had his own ideas on using techniques in playing the
guitar. Today's musicians also explore new ways to play instruments and
get new sounds from them. We close International Guitar Week with a
classical guitarist demonstrating his technique, adding a modern-day
jazz twist to the music. What might Segovia have thought about this