Discussion:
The most difficult piece?
(too old to reply)
Tim Panting
2005-05-21 12:54:05 UTC
Permalink
Here's maybe a thread.

What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?

TP
virtual
2005-05-21 13:32:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
It depends on the player and on the listener

Have fun
--
virtualguitarcenter.com
Resources to play the guitar for fun and relaxation
http://homepage.mac.com/vanveeren/index.html
***@yahoo.com
David Raleigh Arnold
2005-05-21 14:53:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
"Piece for guitar ever written" includes transcriptions. You mean
"ever written for guitar"? daveA
--
The only technical exercises for all guitarists worth a lifetime
of practice: "Dynamic Guitar Technique". Nothing else is close.
Free download: http://www.openguitar.com/instruction.html
daveA David Raleigh Arnold dra..at..openguitar.com
sycochkn
2005-05-21 14:56:48 UTC
Permalink
The one I am working on at the moment.

Bob
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
Tom Sacold
2005-05-21 17:20:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by sycochkn
The one I am working on at the moment.
I was going to say that !!!
Greg M. Silverman
2005-05-21 17:25:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sacold
Post by sycochkn
The one I am working on at the moment.
I was going to say that !!!
Especillay for the listener, no doubt!
angelo gilardino
2005-05-21 15:58:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
For a composer, no doubt: the most difficult piece is the next one, yet to
be written. To fill all those empty staves with something decent is
unbelievably difficult.

AG
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-21 16:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Angelo,
do you have any kind of "system" for drawing inspiration? Do you get
ideas from going to certain places of natural beauty, or listening to
certain composers, or reading books?
angelo gilardino
2005-05-21 17:06:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel de Maria
Angelo,
do you have any kind of "system" for drawing inspiration? Do you get
ideas from going to certain places of natural beauty,
This may happen to a painter - and only to a kind of painter. Music is an
abstract art - in a title I may evocate a landscape, but this is a just a
simplification, a literary symbolization of something which is not literary
at all. Composing is more like building. You need a project (ideas) material
and a technique. And of course a lot of work. Each composer has one or more
methods of his own.
Post by Miguel de Maria
or listening to
certain composers, or reading books?
Indeed, but this can give only orientations, undefinite stimulations,
general thoughts. When coming to the moment of sketching the first draw, all
those preliminaries disappear - they are not music - and you are left alone
before the white paper: since then, either you have specifically musical
ideas, or not. If you haven't, it's a lost game. If you have, the game
begins, and whether you will win it or not, you cannot say before you have
written the last note. You need ideas - which nobody can give you except
God - and a technique, or better a series of techniques, to give a form to
your ideas. Up to a certain point, you can learn these techniques from
somebody else (teachers, handbooks, study of the works of masters), but if
you succeed in picking up something authentic, fresh, original, it is only
through a specifical technique that you have forged for yourself. There is
an academic technique which one must know, otherwise the music he will write
will be naive, but such a technique is not specifical enough to express a
style (something totally personal), especially when composing for or with
such a peculiar instrument as the guitar. You have to learn the technique
and then to bend it to serve your aim. At the end, one realizes that there
is - at the highest levels of composing - a link between emotion and
technique, and this is the unique winning formula.

Basically, I would say that composing is an act of the most strict privacy,
whose results may deserve to be made public.

AG
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-21 17:19:42 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the insights! A lot to study in that paragraph :)
Steve Freides
2005-05-21 17:47:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Miguel de Maria
Angelo,
do you have any kind of "system" for drawing inspiration? Do you get
ideas from going to certain places of natural beauty,
This may happen to a painter - and only to a kind of painter. Music is
an abstract art - in a title I may evocate a landscape, but this is a
just a simplification, a literary symbolization of something which is
not literary at all. Composing is more like building. You need a
project (ideas) material and a technique. And of course a lot of work.
Each composer has one or more methods of his own.
Post by Miguel de Maria
or listening to
certain composers, or reading books?
Indeed, but this can give only orientations, undefinite stimulations,
general thoughts. When coming to the moment of sketching the first
draw, all those preliminaries disappear - they are not music - and
you are left alone before the white paper: since then, either you have
specifically musical ideas, or not. If you haven't, it's a lost game.
If you have, the game begins, and whether you will win it or not, you
cannot say before you have written the last note. You need ideas -
which nobody can give you except God - and a technique, or better a
series of techniques, to give a form to your ideas. Up to a certain
point, you can learn these techniques from somebody else (teachers,
handbooks, study of the works of masters), but if you succeed in
picking up something authentic, fresh, original, it is only through a
specifical technique that you have forged for yourself. There is an
academic technique which one must know, otherwise the music he will
write will be naive, but such a technique is not specifical enough to
express a style (something totally personal), especially when
composing for or with such a peculiar instrument as the guitar. You
have to learn the technique and then to bend it to serve your aim. At
the end, one realizes that there is - at the highest levels of
composing - a link between emotion and technique, and this is the
unique winning formula.
Basically, I would say that composing is an act of the most strict
privacy, whose results may deserve to be made public.
Wasn't it Stravinsky who said that before composing he always created a
problem for himself to solve? I know I excelled at theory homework but
I was never much of a composer - having a problem to solve is, in the
grand scheme of things, so much easier than composing, one of those
classic "less is more" situations, in this case fewer restrictions make
it harder to compose.

-S-
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-21 17:53:46 UTC
Permalink
But you can impose restrictions on yourself, Steve. I bet if you
said... a piece with the chords I V IV and VI, all chord tones +
passing tones, at a fast pace, with an obligatto, and a theme of two
measures; you could come up with something passable eh? William Russo
has a book on composing that I went through, and his method of teaching
was basically just a systematic set of restrictions.
Steve Freides
2005-05-21 18:12:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel de Maria
But you can impose restrictions on yourself, Steve. I bet if you
said... a piece with the chords I V IV and VI, all chord tones +
passing tones, at a fast pace, with an obligatto, and a theme of two
measures; you could come up with something passable eh? William Russo
has a book on composing that I went through, and his method of
teaching
was basically just a systematic set of restrictions.
Yes, that sounds right to me. I guess my memories of trying to compose
are mixed up with my memories of improvising Baroque-style things, which
we had to do in keyboard harmony. The instructions never included
enough restrictions, and it was complicated by the fact that we had to
do it on the piano and I teeter on the border between bad pianist and
non-pianist. (I can, e.g., play the middle movement of Beethoven's
Pathetique Sonata just fine but can't get close to playing the first or
third.) I don't think I've ever tried to compose on the guitar, and
improvising on the guitar has never been much of a problem, so maybe I
shouldn't think that I can't compose after all.

But I'm also reminded of Art Garfunkel's line when people asked him why
Paul Simon did the writing and he didn't - he just said that some people
have songs in them and some don't, or words to that effect. I don't
feel like I've got anything to say when it comes to composing.

-S-
David Raleigh Arnold
2005-05-21 20:32:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Freides
Post by Miguel de Maria
But you can impose restrictions on yourself, Steve. I bet if you
said... a piece with the chords I V IV and VI, all chord tones + passing
tones, at a fast pace, with an obligatto, and a theme of two measures;
you could come up with something passable eh? William Russo has a book
on composing that I went through, and his method of teaching
was basically just a systematic set of restrictions.
Yes, that sounds right to me. I guess my memories of trying to compose
are mixed up with my memories of improvising Baroque-style things, which
we had to do in keyboard harmony. The instructions never included enough
restrictions, and it was complicated by the fact that we had to do it on
the piano and I teeter on the border between bad pianist and non-pianist.
(I can, e.g., play the middle movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata
just fine but can't get close to playing the first or third.) I don't
think I've ever tried to compose on the guitar, and improvising on the
guitar has never been much of a problem, so maybe I shouldn't think that I
can't compose after all.
But I'm also reminded of Art Garfunkel's line when people asked him why
Paul Simon did the writing and he didn't - he just said that some people
have songs in them and some don't, or words to that effect. I don't feel
like I've got anything to say when it comes to composing.
In school, courses such as counterpoint and harmony are nothing more
than sets of restrictions. One of the most important restrictions is
size. Look at the work of any famous composer and you find a
stack of very short pieces early in their career. Short chorales of
Bach, preludes of Gershwin, etc.. That's where you get a handle
on form. daveA
--
The only technical exercises for all guitarists worth a lifetime
of practice: "Dynamic Guitar Technique". Nothing else is close.
Free download: http://www.openguitar.com/instruction.html
daveA David Raleigh Arnold dra..at..openguitar.com
angelo gilardino
2005-05-22 07:16:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Freides
Wasn't it Stravinsky who said that before composing he always created a
problem for himself to solve? I know I excelled at theory homework but I
was never much of a composer - having a problem to solve is, in the grand
scheme of things, so much easier than composing, one of those classic
"less is more" situations, in this case fewer restrictions make it harder
to compose.
-S-
When you compose "in style" - eg a tonal melody with its accompaniement -
you have to observe a series of borders (more than restrictions) whose inner
logic is not difficult to understand and to be accepted: after all, if you
take a step beyond these borders, you are the first to perceive that
something goes wrong, and you do not need to be called back to a discipline
to correct yourself. When you compose with adopting another system - eg an
atonal counterpoint - you have still rules to observe, but their logic is
entirely left to your own judgement and perception, and you have nothing and
nobody telling you from outside whether what you do is the right thing or
not. In other words, you have to observe laws that, not written, are
nevertheless existing and operating, and you have to discover them before
respecting them. It is our way of being and of thinking that needs rules
and restrictions, and often composing is just a way of experimenting many
different issues and of choosing those few which do not break any rule,
either written or unwritten, or, when breaking them, has a very good reason
for doing that. A very good reason may sometimes be replaced by a sheer
capricious attitude: I like doing a "wrong" thing (just one!) in a piece
where everything is at its right place. When I was very young, I used to
study in the atelier of a fellow painter. Once he had to copy a famous
Deposizione, and he did it marvelously well - his copy could have been
hardly distinguished from the original. But he had accepted a suggestion of
mine: Jesus Christ's left hand, abandoned and falling down, had six fingers!

AG
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-22 14:50:04 UTC
Permalink
We'll have to examine your work more carefully for "in jokes" eh? :)
d***@yahoo.com
2005-05-21 17:24:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
For a composer, no doubt: the most difficult piece is the next one, yet to
be written. To fill all those empty staves with something decent is
unbelievably difficult.
AG
I wish I knew which one was next! I've got lots of pieces of paper
floating around with beginnings on them.
Greg M. Silverman
2005-05-21 17:28:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both
technically
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Tim Panting
and for the listener too?
TP
For a composer, no doubt: the most difficult piece is the next one,
yet to
Post by angelo gilardino
be written. To fill all those empty staves with something decent is
unbelievably difficult.
AG
I wish I knew which one was next! I've got lots of pieces of paper
floating around with beginnings on them.
At least you write them out on paper.

I come up with all sorts of motifs and neat harmonies (especially on the
piano), but never get them onto paper, thereby depriving the world of
would be masterpieces (or noise, no doubt!!!).
d***@yahoo.com
2005-05-21 17:58:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Tim Panting
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both
technically
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by Tim Panting
and for the listener too?
TP
For a composer, no doubt: the most difficult piece is the next one,
yet to
Post by angelo gilardino
be written. To fill all those empty staves with something decent is
unbelievably difficult.
AG
I wish I knew which one was next! I've got lots of pieces of paper
floating around with beginnings on them.
At least you write them out on paper.
I come up with all sorts of motifs and neat harmonies (especially on the
piano), but never get them onto paper, thereby depriving the world of
would be masterpieces (or noise, no doubt!!!).
One by one things are getting finished. I'll pick something up and
look at it and a few measures or a page comes out, and that's it for
the day, and writing it down accurately is a pain in the ass while my
mind is going with stuff floating around up there. And that's just the
first sort of scribble onto paper. Then ideally I should be able to a)
play the damn thing all the way through and b) probably get it entered
into some software or something. I'm finding it to be like one of the
hardest things in the world, like training for a friggin marathon or
something. You have to stay with it and keep going and really work.
Yet it's an absolute blast at the same time!

So, yeah, that's the hardest piece... Especially when I'm writing crap
I can't play.
richard c spross
2005-05-21 18:53:48 UTC
Permalink
The one I can't play.
Richard Spross
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
William D Clinger
2005-05-21 19:52:28 UTC
Permalink
There have been some wonderfully abstract replies to Tim
Panting's question, but few specific pieces have been
named. That was probably for the best, so I will name a
couple.
Post by Tim Panting
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written,
both technically...
In the interest of promoting our own, I'll nominate John
Oster's Chaconne "...or not to be".
Post by Tim Panting
...and for the listener too?
Any sufficiently unplayable composition will remain
completely unlistenable, regardless of its merits. If
Tim was asking a single question, however, then Oster's
Chaconne was not a good answer, as it is too playable.

If this is a separate category, then in the interest of
self-promotion I'll nominate my "Slogging Downhill", also
known as "Hommage a Martin the Robot". Audiences agree
on the merits of this work. Its chief merit is brevity,
though I am told even that could be improved.

Subzero
JMF
2005-05-21 21:18:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by William D Clinger
There have been some wonderfully abstract replies to Tim
Panting's question, but few specific pieces have been
named. That was probably for the best, so I will name a
couple.
Post by Tim Panting
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written,
both technically...
In the interest of promoting our own, I'll nominate John
Oster's Chaconne "...or not to be".
Post by Tim Panting
...and for the listener too?
Any sufficiently unplayable composition will remain
completely unlistenable, regardless of its merits. If
Tim was asking a single question, however, then Oster's
Chaconne was not a good answer, as it is too playable.
I find Berio's Sequenza tough listening. Presumably hard to play.

John
John Oster
2005-05-21 21:46:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by William D Clinger
Any sufficiently unplayable composition will remain
completely unlistenable, regardless of its merits. If
Tim was asking a single question, however, then Oster's
Chaconne was not a good answer, as it is too playable.
Yikes! Are you saying my Chaconne is unlistenable? :-( I admit it's rather
dissonant, but not exactly unlistenable! Here's the link for others to
decide: www.johnoster.net/compositions.htm
William D Clinger
2005-05-21 23:19:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Oster
Yikes! Are you saying my Chaconne is unlistenable? :-(
I admit it's rather dissonant, but not exactly unlistenable!
www.johnoster.net/compositions.htm
Not at all, John! I think your Chaconne is too playable
to fall into that exalted category of compositions that
are completely unlistenable because no one will ever hear
them played. I wouldn't describe your Chaconne as easy
listening, exactly, but I don't think it's all that hard
to listen to. In fact, I think it's kinda cute, and I'd
love to hear someone play it on guitar.

My "Slogging Downhill" falls into the ignoble category of
works that are easy to play but unlistenable because they
are so bad. Here's a link for others to decide:
http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/will/Music/Slogging.mid

Subzero
John Oster
2005-05-22 07:25:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by William D Clinger
Post by John Oster
Yikes! Are you saying my Chaconne is unlistenable? :-(
I admit it's rather dissonant, but not exactly unlistenable!
www.johnoster.net/compositions.htm
Not at all, John! I think your Chaconne is too playable
to fall into that exalted category of compositions that
are completely unlistenable because no one will ever hear
them played. I wouldn't describe your Chaconne as easy
listening, exactly, but I don't think it's all that hard
to listen to. In fact, I think it's kinda cute, and I'd
love to hear someone play it on guitar.
I gotcha. Yes, I'd love to hear it, too! Several fine players have
expressed interest in it, so perhaps one day someone will! I gave Eliot
Fisk a copy of my Fantasy, but I don't know if he actually took a look at
it.
Tim Berens
2005-05-21 22:24:54 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 21 May 2005 13:54:05 +0100, "Tim Panting"
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
The Concierto de Aranjuez is the most difficult piece I have
encountered. There are certain passages in the first and third
movements that approach being simply unplayable at tempo.

I had a discussion about this piece with a well known guitarist (whose
name elicits hatred here, so I won't mention it), and he said the same
thing. He makes a series of minor changes to make those passages flow
more easily.

Tim





http://timberens.com
A Website for Guitarists
Learn something...Have some fun
timb at erinet dot com
d***@yahoo.com
2005-05-21 23:24:51 UTC
Permalink
A fun exercise...
(if you have dumb/sick ideas of what constitutes fun)

Sometimes I just try to come up with the most bizarre, akward and
impossible mechanical things to do on guitar that I can think of, and
turn it into an exercise, and work on it with a metronome. One day I'm
going to write a bunch of etudes like that. "Etudes impossibles" or
something. I haven't even verified that "Impossibles" is actually a
translation of "impossible" in any known langauge, but what the heck.
richard c spross
2005-05-22 03:11:56 UTC
Permalink
Tim,
After joining in, in the usual rmcg wise crack banter, which is
completely out of my usual style, here is my straight forward
contribution.

The gifted composer, but somewhat reclusive Alvaro Company,
a drinking buddy of AG's wrote "Las Seis Cuerdas".
I have never heard it. It is at present beyond my capacity to
play ( probably always will be ) and may or may not be a
challenge for listeners. ( However I suspect it would be--certainly
for the general listener ).
Perhaps AG will be willing to comment since most likely he is the
only one around these days who may have heard it played and could
give us a forthright appraisal of it's merits.

Regards,
Richard Spross
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
angelo gilardino
2005-05-22 06:08:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by richard c spross
Tim,
After joining in, in the usual rmcg wise crack banter, which is
completely out of my usual style, here is my straight forward
contribution.
The gifted composer, but somewhat reclusive Alvaro Company,
a drinking buddy of AG's wrote "Las Seis Cuerdas".
I have never heard it. It is at present beyond my capacity to
play ( probably always will be ) and may or may not be a
challenge for listeners. ( However I suspect it would be--certainly
for the general listener ).
Perhaps AG will be willing to comment since most likely he is the
only one around these days who may have heard it played and could
give us a forthright appraisal of it's merits.
Regards,
Richard Spross
"Las seis cuerdas" ("The six strings", after a poem by Federico Garcia
Lorca) is a very nice piece. It is published by Suvini Zerboni.
Company (1931) is one of the finest musicians who have dedicated most of
their creative labours to the guitar. "Las seis cuerdas" is less difficult
to play than it looks on paper.
The author designed a symbology for a fastidious notation of each colour,
nuance, effect he wants, hence the rather intimidating look of his music,
but when one has taken the first step after such a door, the performance in
itself is not that difficult - Company was (he still is) a very wise
guitarist, and so everything he writes for guitar is "true", not imaginary.
"Las seis cuerdas" was written earlier in the Sixthies, when Company was
involved with the post-webernian avant-garde (but with a distinctive
personal mark). The old SZ edition was accompanied by a vinile record with
Company playing his own piece. Several students of mine performed it,
however, and I know it in details. Then the composer turned to more a
directly "expressive" style, and he has written some of the most significant
guitar music of our time.

AG
William Jennings
2005-05-22 06:56:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by richard c spross
Tim,
After joining in, in the usual rmcg wise crack banter, which is
completely out of my usual style, here is my straight forward
contribution.
The gifted composer, but somewhat reclusive Alvaro Company,
a drinking buddy of AG's wrote "Las Seis Cuerdas".
I have never heard it. It is at present beyond my capacity to
play ( probably always will be ) and may or may not be a
challenge for listeners. ( However I suspect it would be--certainly
for the general listener ).
Perhaps AG will be willing to comment since most likely he is the
only one around these days who may have heard it played and could
give us a forthright appraisal of it's merits.
Regards,
Richard Spross
"Las seis cuerdas" ("The six strings", after a poem by Federico Garcia
Lorca) is a very nice piece. It is published by Suvini Zerboni.
Company (1931) is one of the finest musicians who have dedicated most of
their creative labours to the guitar. "Las seis cuerdas" is less difficult
to play than it looks on paper.
It does require an erudite study and seems to be very difficult in the
communicating ....I saw the Brazilian guitarist, Turibio Santos perform
"Las Seis Cuerdas". This concert was presented by the Organization of
American States (O.A.S) in Washington, DC. The O.A.S is well know for
it's prestigious concerts.
Post by angelo gilardino
The author designed a symbology for a fastidious notation of each colour,
nuance, effect he wants, hence the rather intimidating look of his music,
but when one has taken the first step after such a door, the
performance in
Post by angelo gilardino
itself is not that difficult - <
I would think this depends on the players technique, using nail/flesh,
edges, angles and timbres verses the rhetorical "Pop, pop, pop."
Post by angelo gilardino
Company was (he still is) a very wise
guitarist, and so everything he writes for guitar is "true", not
imaginary. <

I would think this depends on the players technique, using nail/flesh,
edges, angles and timbres verses the rhetorical "Pop, pop, pop." <
2nd. time :-)
Post by angelo gilardino
"Las seis cuerdas" was written earlier in the Sixthies, when Company was
involved with the post-webernian avant-garde (but with a distinctive
personal mark).,
It might be interesting to know more about his Segovian timbre
observations.

Che' de



The old SZ edition was accompanied by a vinile record with
Post by angelo gilardino
Company playing his own piece. Several students of mine performed it,
however, and I know it in details. Then the composer turned to more a
directly "expressive" style, and he has written some of the most significant
guitar music of our time.
AG
Old Spross,
richard c spross
2005-05-22 17:31:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by richard c spross
Tim,
After joining in, in the usual rmcg wise crack banter, which is
completely out of my usual style, here is my straight forward
contribution.
The gifted composer, but somewhat reclusive Alvaro Company,
a drinking buddy of AG's wrote "Las Seis Cuerdas".
I have never heard it. It is at present beyond my capacity to
play ( probably always will be ) and may or may not be a
challenge for listeners. ( However I suspect it would be--certainly
for the general listener ).
Perhaps AG will be willing to comment since most likely he is the
only one around these days who may have heard it played and could
give us a forthright appraisal of it's merits.
Regards,
Richard Spross
"Las seis cuerdas" ("The six strings", after a poem by Federico Garcia
Lorca) is a very nice piece. It is published by Suvini Zerboni.
Company (1931) is one of the finest musicians who have dedicated most of
their creative labours to the guitar. "Las seis cuerdas" is less difficult
to play than it looks on paper.
The author designed a symbology for a fastidious notation of each colour,
nuance, effect he wants, hence the rather intimidating look of his music,
but when one has taken the first step after such a door, the performance in
itself is not that difficult - Company was (he still is) a very wise
guitarist, and so everything he writes for guitar is "true", not imaginary.
"Las seis cuerdas" was written earlier in the Sixthies, when Company was
involved with the post-webernian avant-garde (but with a distinctive
personal mark). The old SZ edition was accompanied by a vinile record with
Company playing his own piece. Several students of mine performed it,
however, and I know it in details. Then the composer turned to more a
directly "expressive" style, and he has written some of the most significant
guitar music of our time.
AG
Thanks Angelo!!
Maybe there is hope yet.
All best,
Richard Spross
Tim Panting
2005-05-23 13:18:21 UTC
Permalink
I find it thrilling, when a seemingly dense and overly complicated piece is
performed and revealed in the way that the composer presumably originally
intended. Or maybe even with a new perspective.

Contemporary music needs musicians of great depth and musical perception to
be able to lift it free from natural prejudice.

TP
Post by angelo gilardino
Post by richard c spross
Tim,
After joining in, in the usual rmcg wise crack banter, which is
completely out of my usual style, here is my straight forward
contribution.
The gifted composer, but somewhat reclusive Alvaro Company,
a drinking buddy of AG's wrote "Las Seis Cuerdas".
I have never heard it. It is at present beyond my capacity to
play ( probably always will be ) and may or may not be a
challenge for listeners. ( However I suspect it would be--certainly
for the general listener ).
Perhaps AG will be willing to comment since most likely he is the
only one around these days who may have heard it played and could
give us a forthright appraisal of it's merits.
Regards,
Richard Spross
"Las seis cuerdas" ("The six strings", after a poem by Federico Garcia
Lorca) is a very nice piece. It is published by Suvini Zerboni.
Company (1931) is one of the finest musicians who have dedicated most of
their creative labours to the guitar. "Las seis cuerdas" is less
difficult to play than it looks on paper.
The author designed a symbology for a fastidious notation of each colour,
nuance, effect he wants, hence the rather intimidating look of his music,
but when one has taken the first step after such a door, the performance
in itself is not that difficult - Company was (he still is) a very wise
guitarist, and so everything he writes for guitar is "true", not
imaginary. "Las seis cuerdas" was written earlier in the Sixthies, when
Company was involved with the post-webernian avant-garde (but with a
distinctive personal mark). The old SZ edition was accompanied by a vinile
record with Company playing his own piece. Several students of mine
performed it, however, and I know it in details. Then the composer turned
to more a directly "expressive" style, and he has written some of the most
significant guitar music of our time.
AG
choro-nik
2005-05-22 07:43:06 UTC
Permalink
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece for
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly unplayable
especially in view of the fact that it has to be difficult for the listener
to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't have to qualify as
music either, one presumes.

As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better to do
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
William Jennings
2005-05-22 08:26:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece for
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly unplayable
especially in view of the fact that it has to be difficult for the listener
to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't have to qualify as
music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better to do
these days?
--
choro-nik
********<
Well, sometimes they record it along the line of " This is my best
rendition to date." Never communicating anything but notes is the new
fashion.

Che'
Post by choro-nik
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
Richard F. Sayage
2005-05-22 10:52:18 UTC
Permalink
May be silly at first glance, but Angelo's comments, salient
observations and the questions from others to come out of it are far from
it.

Rich

www.savageclassical blah blah blah
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece for
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly
unplayable especially in view of the fact that it has to be difficult for
the listener to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't have to
qualify as music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better to do
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
William Jennings
2005-05-22 13:52:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard F. Sayage
May be silly at first glance, but Angelo's comments, salient
observations and the questions from others to come out of it are far from
it.
Rich
www.savageclassical blah blah blah
This might help: http://tinyurl.com/78jrb

It's too early for me to type.

Che' de
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece for
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly
unplayable especially in view of the fact that it has to be
difficult for
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
the listener to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't have to
qualify as music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better to do
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
Tim Panting
2005-05-23 07:35:28 UTC
Permalink
A thread indeed. More like a big ball of string!

I was hoping for more examples of actual pieces.

From a composer's point of view it's probably harder to come up with
something simple, rather than letting their imagination take a grand tour.
Unless of course you happen to be brilliant at writing very simple pieces.

As a trained musician why waste all that talent on a piece like Twinkle
Twinkle?

As for composing a piece for the classical guitar, or any other classical
instrument, it must be asked why?

For the love of it? Because if you don't you'll dry up like a leaf and
crumble into the wind.

It's not going to earn you any money so why do it?

What motivates?

Artist or artisan?

Its an easier dichotomy to understand with the visual arts, as in Artist and
say 'Graphic Designer', but, I know the thread is moving, tangent-wise, how
does the composer for the guitar fit in?

Angelo, seems to fit the bill of 'artist' entirely.

How many are there in a similar situation to Angelo's?

....getting back to difficult...how about Henze? Takemitsu?

TP
Post by William Jennings
Post by Richard F. Sayage
May be silly at first glance, but Angelo's comments, salient
observations and the questions from others to come out of it are far
from
Post by Richard F. Sayage
it.
Rich
www.savageclassical blah blah blah
This might help: http://tinyurl.com/78jrb
It's too early for me to type.
Che' de
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece
for
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly
unplayable especially in view of the fact that it has to be
difficult for
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
the listener to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't
have to
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
qualify as music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better
to do
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both
technically
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
Post by Tim Panting
and for the listener too?
TP
John Oster
2005-05-23 13:56:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
A thread indeed. More like a big ball of string!
I was hoping for more examples of actual pieces.
Henze's "Royal Winter Music", Berio's "Sequenza XI", Kurz's "I Gardini del
Sogno" to name just a few are all terribly difficult to play (Takemitsu is
tough but less so). Some may find them hard to listen to as well. A piece
doesn't have to be dissonant to be hard to listen to--Bach's "Art of the
Fugue" (or any of his fugues!) is dense and challenging for the
listener--but certainly consonant.
William Jennings
2005-05-23 15:15:41 UTC
Permalink
A thread indeed. More like a big ball of string!<
I was hoping for more examples of actual pieces.<
There are lots of them. How about "Variations on a Theme by Tarrega
(Lagrima)" by A. Barrios There are things most have never heard
of....why mention them?
From a composer's point of view it's probably harder to come up with
something simple, rather than letting their imagination take a grand tour.
Unless of course you happen to be brilliant at writing very simple
pieces.<

Now that is difficult! To write beautiful simple pieces takes great
talent, imo.
As a trained musician why waste all that talent on a piece like Twinkle
Twinkle?<
Or "Silent Night" by Franz X. Gruber.

If you listen close you can make RdLA into "Mary Had A Little Lamb"
As for composing a piece for the classical guitar, or any other classical
instrument, it must be asked why?
Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes people are driven to write or arrange
things for reasons they don't understand.... it's just got to come out.
For the love of it? Because if you don't you'll dry up like a leaf and
crumble into the wind.<
There are a lot of dead leaves out there.... just compost.
It's not going to earn you any money so why do it?<
Some follow their instincts.... ? Ask Van Gogh.
What motivates?<
Sometimes the sound of the wind, bird songs, the sounds of water, mostly
nature.
Artist or artisan?<
That's just another lable....who cares.
....getting back to difficult...how about Henze? Takemitsu?<
There's a big trade off, imo. Firstly you must really love the music
and want to live with it. It's like getting married, it's a day and
night thing. I did some Takemitsu, "Summertime" for one. In the end,
people liked my arrangement better. I always ask myself would I enjoy
playing this every night at 8 PM for myself. If it doesn't pass that
test I don't take it up. There are a lot of great modern paintings I
wouldn't want to live with. I like things that speak to me, to hell
with the critics.

That's just me.

Che' de
TP
Post by William Jennings
Post by Richard F. Sayage
May be silly at first glance, but Angelo's comments, salient
observations and the questions from others to come out of it are far
from
Post by Richard F. Sayage
it.
Rich
www.savageclassical blah blah blah
This might help: http://tinyurl.com/78jrb
It's too early for me to type.
Che' de
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece
for
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly
unplayable especially in view of the fact that it has to be
difficult for
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
the listener to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't
have to
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
qualify as music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better
to do
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both
technically
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Post by choro-nik
Post by Tim Panting
and for the listener too?
TP
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-23 18:13:36 UTC
Permalink
Tim,
I don't like the "artist vs. artisan" debate. There is a feeling in
the Western world, that artists and geniuses and successful people in
general are in some heroic way gifted above all others. That is, the
great musician was born that way, "you either got it or you don't," the
Romantic artist. Contrast this to the Asian ethic that assumes that
the best player, the best businessman, the best engineer, just works
harder than everyone else. When I told a Chinese friend of mine that I
had been playing guitar for 15 years, she burst out laughing! She
meant no disrespect, but was just shocked and tickled that someone who
had only been working on it that long would actually be going out in
public and getting paid for it!

Too many people in the Western world think that excellence is some
inherent quality that is the province of the "gifted"--perhaps this is
one cause of the mediocrity which seems to be settling over much of the
United States. In Bach's time, music was not the province of long
hairs, rebels, and tortured souls, but taught as a branch of
mathematics as was geometry or astronomy. Music as craft? Yes--music
as craft and science. The anguished hero/genius/artist stereotype came
with the Romantics. Bach would have been amused and probably not too
impressed with all of that. Neither am I.

Bach didn't wake up one day and know how to compose; he grew up in an
extended family of musicians, went to school where they took music as a
serious part of the curriculum, lived and breathed and worked it, and
this explains in part his skill. Mozart's father, lest we forget, was
a musician and trained him from the very start! It does not diminish
their reputations or accomplishments one iota to say that these greats
were trained in the craft of music as thoroughly as was possible.

Music is a craft. Well-crafted music that has that extra something, we
call art. But we are deluding ourselves to think that it comes from
the air. Anyone can shrug their shoulders and excuse their mediocrity
as a lack of natural talent; any teacher can blame their students'
failings as rooted in genetics; and anyone can blame a bland life of
doing something other than what they wanted to an unfortunate deficit
of natural gifts. But these are merely excuses, and not based in
reality.

Anyone can learn to play, to understand music, to do just about
anything with the right training, and sufficient effort.
Tim Panting
2005-05-23 18:59:14 UTC
Permalink
I agree that the debate is tenuous. And having 'romanticised' the notion of
artist for many years realise that the contemporary ideal is somewhat
pretentious.

Perhaps the greatest example of artist ..i.e having actually produced
something/things of worth, that will last for a considerable time to come,
is perhaps Michelangelo.

You have to go back a while in time to find truly great works..no?

In music, how about Monteverdi?

TP
Post by Miguel de Maria
Tim,
I don't like the "artist vs. artisan" debate. There is a feeling in
the Western world, that artists and geniuses and successful people in
general are in some heroic way gifted above all others. That is, the
great musician was born that way, "you either got it or you don't," the
Romantic artist. Contrast this to the Asian ethic that assumes that
the best player, the best businessman, the best engineer, just works
harder than everyone else. When I told a Chinese friend of mine that I
had been playing guitar for 15 years, she burst out laughing! She
meant no disrespect, but was just shocked and tickled that someone who
had only been working on it that long would actually be going out in
public and getting paid for it!
Too many people in the Western world think that excellence is some
inherent quality that is the province of the "gifted"--perhaps this is
one cause of the mediocrity which seems to be settling over much of the
United States. In Bach's time, music was not the province of long
hairs, rebels, and tortured souls, but taught as a branch of
mathematics as was geometry or astronomy. Music as craft? Yes--music
as craft and science. The anguished hero/genius/artist stereotype came
with the Romantics. Bach would have been amused and probably not too
impressed with all of that. Neither am I.
Bach didn't wake up one day and know how to compose; he grew up in an
extended family of musicians, went to school where they took music as a
serious part of the curriculum, lived and breathed and worked it, and
this explains in part his skill. Mozart's father, lest we forget, was
a musician and trained him from the very start! It does not diminish
their reputations or accomplishments one iota to say that these greats
were trained in the craft of music as thoroughly as was possible.
Music is a craft. Well-crafted music that has that extra something, we
call art. But we are deluding ourselves to think that it comes from
the air. Anyone can shrug their shoulders and excuse their mediocrity
as a lack of natural talent; any teacher can blame their students'
failings as rooted in genetics; and anyone can blame a bland life of
doing something other than what they wanted to an unfortunate deficit
of natural gifts. But these are merely excuses, and not based in
reality.
Anyone can learn to play, to understand music, to do just about
anything with the right training, and sufficient effort.
angelo gilardino
2005-05-24 12:27:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel de Maria
Music is a craft. Well-crafted music that has that extra something, we
call art. But we are deluding ourselves to think that it comes from
the air. Anyone can shrug their shoulders and excuse their mediocrity
as a lack of natural talent; any teacher can blame their students'
failings as rooted in genetics; and anyone can blame a bland life of
doing something other than what they wanted to an unfortunate deficit
of natural gifts. But these are merely excuses, and not based in
reality.
Anyone can learn to play, to understand music, to do just about
anything with the right training, and sufficient effort.
This is a wise thought. You could complete it with asking yourself how many
people are really ready to pay such an effort.
An unbelievably low percentage of those who make music would pay such a
ticket. Those known as great musicians paid for it.
They were talented, of course. Almost everybody has a pair a legs.

AG
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-24 15:56:25 UTC
Permalink
Angelo,
it seems to me that the concept of talent or genius is mostly used in
an unfortunate way by those who lack the will to pursue excellence. Or
maybe imagination--it seems to me you have to be able to imagine
yourself playing with excellence, to have much of a shot to achieve it.
And maybe it's not all their fault, because they have never been
around excellence or excellent people--it's like a foreign country of
which they have no exerience. When they hear someone tell them that
they, too, could master the guitar, it is too threatening to their
egos, it would be too much a blow. So better to make excuses and blame
God for their shortcomings! I feel sorry for people who underestimate
their possibilities!
Pizza Hola
2005-05-24 23:04:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Miguel de Maria
it seems to me that the concept of talent or genius is mostly used in
an unfortunate way by those who lack the will to pursue excellence.
My feelings exactly about this. It bugs me when people call me
"talented", because they fail to recognize the work I've done to get
where I am, they don't know about that part so they just go "talent". Ok
so I tell them, I did this for a long time, but then again they say
something like, "you have got to have had some 'aptitude'" or whatever.
I say no, I couldn't sing in tune when I was thirteen, because I had
never sung out with full force and hadn't wanted to. If we try
something, it gives us focus and a will to set the pitch right and not
mindlessly wander.

The more we play music in whatever form, the more it comes alive in
interpretation, improvising, composing. We indulge ourselves, and if on
a daily basis, miracles will happen more often.

Sorry, I have no answer to the thread's question :-)

angelo gilardino
2005-05-24 13:15:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
As for composing a piece for the classical guitar, or any other classical
instrument, it must be asked why?
For the same reason that pushes a man to become a father and a woman to
become a mother, even before the evidence that there are already too many
guys here around, and also too many stupid ones. I receive each week some
compositions, and my attitude toward their authors is sometimes the same I
would take toward the parents of Jack the Ripper. One would take exception
from their son, not from their holy right of making babies.
Post by Tim Panting
It's not going to earn you any money so why do it?
Majority of people all the world over live in poorness, and make no money,
still they follow doing things. Shall we suggest them to give up with their
doings?
Post by Tim Panting
What motivates?
We do not know, except that there must me something.
Post by Tim Panting
Artist or artisan?
The difference is only in the results. The jobs of the artisans of those of
the artists are the same. Leonardo painted an angel in a painting of his
teacher, and it is different from the other figures.They worked the same
way, used the same techniques, the same materials, they spent the same
amount of time, took the same breaks, etc.: no difference between the good
artisan and the genius, except in the results.
Post by Tim Panting
Its an easier dichotomy to understand with the visual arts, as in Artist
and say 'Graphic Designer', but, I know the thread is moving,
tangent-wise, how does the composer for the guitar fit in?
He hasn't to fit in. There is no empty place in the world, to be filled by
someome who composes music for guitar, because he composes music for guitar.
It happens that one decides to compose a piece for guitar - why not - when
he has no space around him, and this may draw the profile of a composer of
music for guitar, which creates his own space in the moment he finishes
writing his piece in his own way. Before a new guitar piece comes to life,
there is no need of it. Since when it exists, it has the same utility of the
King, of the newspaper and of the national soccer team.
Post by Tim Panting
Angelo, seems to fit the bill of 'artist' entirely.
How many are there in a similar situation to Angelo's?
All those who are ready to pay a similar bill.
Post by Tim Panting
....getting back to difficult...how about Henze? Takemitsu?
These are composers of deep, expressive, powerfully human music. They works
aren't difficult - they are elaborated. I would suggest to replace the
criterion of difficulty with the criterion of elaboration. You have
material in your hands, you elaborate it into a form, a series of forms,
dictated by your mind. You have to reach the right point of elaboration,
corrisponding with what your mind asks for. This is the end of the work.
Picasso didn't say: I have painted many works, he said: I have brought many
different works each to its right level of elaboration.

The most elaborated guitar piece among those I read so far is Kurzeschatten
by B. Ferneyhough. It is one of those few pieces which - when reading their
scores - I cannot represent in my mind with a clear musical image. This
means that it is too elaborated for my musical mind, and I need a scale in
between to pick up a mental representation of it. I have to grow up.
I could copy it with Finale and have my mental gaps filled by a sound
created with algorhythms. It is an issue. There are other ones...

AG
Tim Panting
2005-05-24 07:23:08 UTC
Permalink
You could say that your asinine observation is about as pointless as the
thread.

Either you deliberately missed the point or you have something, threadwise,
that will enthral the throng...or maybe in your case thong.

And 'anybody' can't write a proper piece of music. I was talking about the
jumpstarts who have a copy of Finale or Sibelius or whatever and who think
by arbitrarily placing a few beautifully rendered notes on a stave they are
producing music.

I meant music written by genuine contenders, albeit in a rather prosaic
context. 'Difficult' etc. But why rock the boat? The rats are quite happy
bickering anyway.

TP
Post by choro-nik
What a silly thread!!! Anybody can write "the most difficult piece for
guitar" -- so difficult in fact that it is completely and utterly
unplayable especially in view of the fact that it has to be difficult for
the listener to listen to as well. In fact it apparently doesn't have to
qualify as music either, one presumes.
As I said, what a silly thread!!! Haven't guitarists nothing better to do
these days?
--
choro-nik
********
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both technically
and for the listener too?
TP
tollimees
2005-05-23 11:03:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Panting
Here's maybe a thread.
What's the most difficult piece for guitar ever written, both
technically
Post by Tim Panting
and for the listener too?
TP
In a musical sense It's possible to play music in such manner that It
looks more complex as It could. You can make simple Twinkle-Twinkle to
hardly understandable to listener with just making pauses in wrong
places and omitting them in right places. When performer plays in such
way, that nobody understands him - It's so obscure and complex - he may
be called "virtuoso".


Allar
Miguel de Maria
2005-05-23 18:15:02 UTC
Permalink
People see competence and they say virtuoso.
Tim Panting
2005-05-24 07:25:05 UTC
Permalink
People see virtuoso and they think Steve Vai.

Eddie Van Halen.

Joe Satriani

Hubba the Bubba Mekong Frijole

Etc.
Post by Miguel de Maria
People see competence and they say virtuoso.
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