1 July 2015


I'm a sucker for an open masterclass. Today's was a for the classical guitar, with guests from the NZ Guitar Quartet, in the Band Room at the ANU School of Music. Not many in attendance; I guess just some local guitarists and students. It's not even my favourite instrument. I just caught two players. One was playing, what, José (? - born 1902, executed in the Spanish Civil War 1936). I didn't catch the performer, but he was a later year ANU student and serious and capable. The second was a much younger performer, only Year 12, but no slouch, playing a tune we had all heard, Albeniz Cordoba. The discussions covered approach and interpretation and technique and body matters (body ills are common for musos, not least guitarists). Both performers played from memory (impressive) and had been working on the pieces for several months (Dec 2014 and Feb 2015). Some themes are: identifying segments, developing shape and larger movements; highlighting high points and using of staccato; interruptions to the beat from tremolo and arpeggios; accenting the top line (the melody); digging in (any string player will warm to this description), and an interesting matter of approach on guitar: "guitar is not like piano with sustain: you've got to keep it moving". And, of course, the common theme from any teacher: "Again, slow practice".

The New Zealand Guitar Quartet gave a masterclass at the ANU School of Music.

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