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Great Guitar Tips, Issue #010 -- Information Packed Articles About Guitar
October 07, 2004

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Great Guitar Tips - The World's Most Useable Guitar E-Zine ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A free, monthly E-Zine dedicated to providing you with useful information and tips for your guitar playing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ October 2004 Issue #010 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you like this E-Zine, please do a friend a big favor and pass it on.If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Table Of Contents

1. News

2. Composer Spotlight - Alexander Tansman

3. Guitarist Spolight - Christopher Parkening

4. Music Theory - Tambor

5. Fr/ee Resource - Tab editor

6. Fr/ee Music ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the 10th edition of my E-Zine/Newsletter Great Guitar Tips! I hope you find it helpful and enjoyable...

1. News

Hello to All! I hope you've been keeping well. I've tried to accomodate some of my readers this time round in that I've included both a Composer Spotlight and a Guitarist Spotlight. So for Gary Cuskelly of Australia and Krzysztof Bialy of Swarzedz in central Poland...I hope you enjoy this edition!

A big thank-you also must also go to David Aitken, who provided me with a link to a fr/ee tab editor for everyone to share (see link below).

Now, on with the show!

2. Composer Spotlight - Alexandre Tansman

Alexandre Tansman was born in Lodz, Poland on the 11th of June 1897 (the year of Johannes Brahms death) and died in Paris, France on the 15th of November 1986.

Although he came from a Jewish family it has been said elsewhere that... "the degree and level of Tansman's or his family's involvement with Judaism and Jewish life has yet to be established". He did, however, leave France where he'd settled and spent time in America when the dark pall of Hitler's Reich descended upon Europe.

Although Tansman was a pianist (a virtuoso at that), he did write for the guitar. He initially trained at the Lodz conservatory and was by turns a pianist, composer and conductor of great merit. Indeed, he was a pianist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra no less!

He met the ubiquitous Segovia in Paris in 1921 where Segovia convinced Tansman of the enduring charm and beauty of the guitar, subsequently convincing him to write many great pieces for it. His guitar works are: Cavatina (A work in 4 parts); Danza Pomposa; Mazurka; Suite in Modo Polonico; Variations sur un theme de Scriabine; Homage a Chopin; Pezzo in modo antivo; Hommage a Lech Walesa; Deux Chansons Populaires; Suite.

Tansman's scope of work includes opera, ballets, other solo instrumental work, chamber music, choral music and orchestral works. His Cavatina, mentioned above, even won the prestigious International Music Competition in Sienna, Italy in 1952.

Although Tansman spent a great deal of his life in France and abroad, he remained internally loyal to his Polish roots. He moved among the musical elite and the "who's who of musicians" of his time and although had many outside musical influences, always retained a strong national "flavor" to his music, which was lyrical and seemed to incorporate a "neo-classical style".

Surely, Tansman must be rated with Chopin as Poland's most cherished musical "treasures" of all time.

3. Guitarist Spotlight - Christopher Parkening

Chistopher Parkening is arguably the best classical guitarist to come out of America. Being a student of both Celedonio and Pepe Romero went a long way to developing the young guitarist's innate talents. Indeed, Parkening's virtuosic display in the "Young Musicians Foundation" competition saw him compete as an "out of competition " player as there were no classical guitar categories and the judges, who included Jascha Heifitz, Gregor Piatigorsky and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, were too impressed with his playing to leave him out.

Over the years Parkening has worked with, and been lauded by, many famous musicians including Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Segovia, Placido Domingo, Kathleen Battle and many others. He even appeared on "The Tonight Show", and made numerous recordings for film scores etc. Parkening has also won many awards over the years and even Grammy nominations, no mean feat in today's crowded musical landscape.

Segovia once said of him... "Christopher Parkening is a great artist—he is one of the most brilliant guitarists in the world."

One of my favorite stories about Parkening and Segovia is where, as a fifteen year old, he was performing a Bach piece before Segovia in a master class. Parkening's teacher at the time had used different fingerings to the Segovia edition which enraged Segovia to the point where he exploded with the comment... "Change the fingerings back for tomorrow!"

With an ego like that who needs friends? :))

That story aside, Parkening had great affection and respect for the "old master" and I'm sure it was reciprocated whilst the great man was still alive.

Parkening gave up concertizing, recording and even playing for about four years in his early thirties to pursue his "dream" of early retirement on his ranch in Montana. With nothing to do but go fly-fishing and enjoying the wilderness he soon tired of this lifestyle. He was feeling rather "empty" when a neighbor invited him to a local chapter of the Christian church where he heard a sermon entitled..."Examine Yourself Whether You Be in the Faith".

This "struck" him very deeply and from that moment on he dedicated his life to the Christian faith. He resurrected his career (sorry for the pun but I just couldn't resist :)) with greater purpose than before and as they say in the classics..."never looked back".

Had Parkening not had that epiphany, the classical guitar world would have been robbed of one of its most shinning talents.

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4. Music Theory - Tambor

The word tambor literally means "drum" in Spanish but is used as a technique in guitar to add "flavor" & "color" to the repertoire. It has its derivation in "tambour" (To play a drum or drums) and is achieved by using the side of the right thumb (if right handed) tapping or slapping against the strings in a "ponti" position (ponti being near the bridge). It is rather like a muted drum sound, but a drum sound none-the-less.

Athony Glise, writing in his great book Classical Guitar Pedagogy had this to say of tambor (sometimes spelt tambour)... "The tambour effect is when the left hand holds a chord, and the entire right thumb actually hits the strings briskly to sound the chord. The result is a percussive effect, but the listener still hears distant pitches...

A famous example of tambor is Tarrega's Grande Jota.


The "Jota" is a Spanish dance that originated in Aragon and is played in a moderately fast 3/4 time. The use of castenets to accompany the guitar is often utilised in the Jota.

5. Free Resource - Tab editor

From David Aitken the following resource, a free tab editor. Thanks David...

Or click here...

6. Fr/ee Music

Here's your music for this month. There's a Menuet by Bach. Hope you enjoy it! Click here...

Well that's it for the 10th issue! Please let me know what you think or if you would like a particular topic covered in the future and I'll try to help out.

See you next month!

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