Saturday, April 3, 2010

Guitarists Are A Passionate People

Good morning! It is approximately 5:00AM as I write my latest blog entry. I have been on 'Spring Break' this week, so, alas, my productivity has been somewhat sluggish and nullified by family fun, and, I have fallen behind on everything. In quest of this week's topic, I have been reviewing some of my guitar history books and stumbled upon the hilarious image below. It is a lithograph created by Charles de Marescot, a French guitarist who was active in the mid-19th century; a time widely considered as the first 'golden age' of classical guitar. The image is entitled, Discussion between the Carullists and the Molinists; that would be Ferdinando Carulli and Francesco Molino, two well known players and pedagogues of the era. What the gentlemen in this illustration are  fighting about, no one really knows. There are no historical records of any great rivalry between the two artists, so, Matanya Ophee has surmised that perhaps they were fighting over some aspect of each player's methodology. Mr. Ophee compared their respective teaching methods and boiled it down to one main difference between the player's technique: the use of the left hand thumb. His article can be found here. I hope that is what caused this riot. THAT would be hilarious.

Anyway, it just reminded me how passionate guitarists can be about their own craft and the players they love. I don't know of any all out guitar busting rumbles in recent history, but I have encountered some very opinionated musicians who, if crossed just the right way, just might take you down with their axe. So, I wonder, what could cause such a riot in this day and age? There are many, many, "schools" and "schools of thought" so to speak within the world of finger-style guitar and, as beautiful as this world is, conflicts regarding that which is 'good' and 'bad' do exist. Guitarists are a passionate people. What legendary players and their respective followers would stir such a violent passion today? Hedges vs. Kottke? Chet vs. Merle? Ackerman vs. DeGrassi? Bensusan vs. McLaughlin? Ross vs. Emmanuel? The possibilities are endless.

I jest, but I do think it is important to have, and stay true to, your own core principles as a player. Such clarity is essential. I have a pretty clear idea of my own but would never challenge another's approach or belief system. If you do come after me though, get ready for a fight, but please, let's leave the guitars in their cases!

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