It’s Thursday morning. July 5, and I have the day off. Slept in just a little. Made some coffee, thought about some yard work I need to do…is it going to be hot today? Would it be a smart move to get it while the sun is still low in the sky and heat is not much of a factor? Well, yes, that would be a good move, but then again I’m going to be pruning trees and such and sometimes that dings up my hands and I need to practice today after all…sooo, I bring the coffee out to the studio and practice a little first, before the yard work. When I get in some morning practice I usually go for some classical guitar, and there are some pieces that are an ongoing project for me, pieces I’ll probably never play in public because I’m not a bona fide classical guitarist. Still, they serve a purpose. They clean up my phrasing. Make me think about multiple lines, different ways to voice a sonority, and if I’m feeling adventurous I memorize passages, which is good for the old grey matter.
You can get too carried away with this stuff and lose track of your jazz feel, or your funk feel or your rock and roll feel, but it’s not too dangerous. You just have to maintain a balance.
So this morning I’m going through The Guitar Works of Agustin Barrios Mangore - Volume Three. This man was a heck of a guitar player and he didn’t have an easy life. Sometimes, if I have a little down time, I go online and read about how he and Segovia never really connected and how it was mostly on Segovia. Politics. Since day on, baby. Occasionally his stiff seems a little square and some of it is very difficult. His harmonic language is sometimes puzzling, especially when you consider when he was active. But it works and you can’t get distracted by any of that. Just dig in and make some music. It helps your playing immensely and it’s almost like taking a lesson from a Master who has left us and gone on to whatever else he’s gone on to. Today I’m breaking a few things down with the metronome, cleaning up a few melodies with the ring finger while the rest of my right hand arpeggiates away, working on Una limosna, sounding perhaps like I've had too much coffee…painstaking stuff, but worth it.
Maybe after the yardwork I can nurse my hands back through a few Bach Lute Suites.
And then navigate my way though some Giant Steps.
I’ll be laying down the funk soon enough. Love that stuff too. Just saying, today, this morning, before the heat kicks in, it’s Mr Barrios. And that's John Williams playing in the linked video. Not the Star Wars/Indiana Jones/Harry Potter John Williams...this guy...