Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Todd Tipton
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Todd Tipton » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:00 pm

Here is a performance of a transcription of BWV 1008 I did a few years back. The performer chose not to play any of the rasgueado or strumming. I suppose it was a bit over the top...LOL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN5p1EzRaDc
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

RainyDayMan
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by RainyDayMan » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:47 am

David Norton wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:47 pm
MessyTendon wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:08 am

I just feel like Bach music needs to have weight to it. The dainty shrill pitch of those god awful Pro Arte strings, is no match for what Bach should sound like...
I suggest a dose of Bach as recorded by Paul Galbraith (8 string), Narciso Yepes (10 string), or Goran Sollscher (11 string). One of Yepes' main reasons for adopting the 10-string was that he felt he was "only playing half of what Bach wrote". Or words to that effect.
Transcriptions of violin music for guitar is usually more than what Bach wrote.

ddray
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by ddray » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:20 am

But after all is said and done, the Bach transcriptions and "lute" works are central to the guitar repertoire (and I'm still not totally convinced that what are called "lute works" were meant exclusively for the Lautenwerck).

Conall
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Conall » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:37 pm

ddray wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:20 am
But after all is said and done, the Bach transcriptions and "lute" works are central to the guitar repertoire (and I'm still not totally convinced that what are called "lute works" were meant exclusively for the Lautenwerck).

I agree that these are central to the guitarist's repertoire and that even if they weren't I would still want to play them. The same goes for whether they were all or mostly written for the lautenwerk - who cares (I guess Baroque lutenists can answer whether they fit on any lute in the written keys - I know the E major partita doesn't)? If they can be played well and faithfully on the guitar why not? The quality of the transcriptions does matter however - but at least the violin sonatas & partitas can be played as written (down an octave).

And, as mentioned above, there are always options to play guitars with extra strings if you are dissatisfied with 6 strings and can be bothered trying to. I'm currently attempting to play a Bach cello suite in its original key on an 8 string and, while it will never sound like a cello, the resonance that the extra bass strings provide is superb!

HrothgarZachachaeus

Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by HrothgarZachachaeus » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm

I believe that Bach's musical genius transcends specific instruments - it's pure music, and if it is played with technical skill and an ability to convey the beauty of the music, then it will sound good on a guitar, a trumpet, a kazoo, a child's toy plastic xylophone, etc...

I was already in love with Bach before I started playing the lute suites, etc. on guitar, so maybe I had a personal bias going in, but it does seem to me that the people who don't like Bach on guitar in this thread haven't tried playing much of the music. The joy of discovery and of meeting the technical and musical challenges in Bach is probably my favorite thing about playing CG. In my opinion, it's guitarists' guitar music, as opposed to the type of music that is immediately pleasing and accessible to an audience of non-musicians.

I'm also surprised to read that people don't like Bach played on piano. Please, anyone who has not listened to Glenn Gould play Bach, find any of the many recordings available on yew toob and either thank me or know that we can never be friends. Andras Schiff is pretty amazing too, but Gould may be the best interpreter of Bach on any instrument.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:35 pm

Whereas Widor sounds terrible on the kazoo.
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Conall
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Conall » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:06 pm

Ha ha, I can agree that Bach played well on ALMOST any instrument should sound well - but I draw the line at kazoo!

I remember picking up an LP called something like
"Bach Andina" and, while I do like S. American music "from the Andes" and love Bach's music this particular marriage was not (ahem) made in heaven - intonation of folk instruments being the main problem!

There are also problems with instruments that are clearly unsuited to a piece yet someone still wants to try! A fun thing to do is YouTube "Bach chaconne" and listen to all the weird & wonderful attempts to play the work on instruments other than violin, guitar or piano. Accordion and Marimba come to mind - but the recorder player, while brave & with great technique, should not really have bothered given how patently unsuited the instrument is for the great Chaconne.

So yes, Bach's genius does transcend "mere" musical instruments but maybe think a bit before trying the Chaconne on an instrument that can't play chords or another that doesn't play in tune or have sufficient range.

Bach on piano, while not my favourite, can be wonderful. And I seriously envy its contrapuntal ability, range & power and the fact that so many of Bach's great works are playable on the instrument (unlike the guitar).

There are loads of accomplished pianists who I think do perfectly well with his keyboard works. Ironically I'm not so much a fan of Gould or Schiff since I think they are both over fond of staccato. I prefer Angela Hewitt & Murray Perahia. But hey, take your pick!

prawnheed

Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by prawnheed » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:41 pm

HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm
... it does seem to me that the people who don't like Bach on guitar in this thread haven't tried playing much of the music.
I don't know how you've managed to come to that conclusion. Not many people have disclosed how much of Bach's music they play. And if they had done so, and if there was indeed a correlation, and if there was then any causality underlying that correlation, would it not be equally as likely, if not more likely, that the reason they hadn't played much was that they didn't really enjoy it as much as the alternatives.

.... In my opinion, it's guitarists' guitar music, ....
I think the opposite. I have not come across any Bach transcriptions for the guitar that I prefer to the original. And none of them make good use of the range of textures, tones, and the unique combinations of melody, harmony and rhythmic accompianiament that great guitar music has.
.... as opposed to the type of music that is immediately pleasing and accessible to an audience of non-musicians.
This hints to me at a snobbery, which if I am right, would indicate a more likely reason why we would never be friends. I hope I am wrong.

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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by ddray » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:09 am

HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm

I'm also surprised to read that people don't like Bach played on piano. Please, anyone who has not listened to Glenn Gould play Bach, find any of the many recordings available on yew toob and either thank me or know that we can never be friends. Andras Schiff is pretty amazing too, but Gould may be the best interpreter of Bach on any instrument.
It's not so much that I don't like to hear Bach on piano; it's that I prefer to hear Bach on harpsichord, just as I prefer to hear the cello suites on the cello. I think to get a teensy eensy inkling of how Bach might have composed for the modern piano if he had known it, listen to the better piano transcriptions of some of Bach's organ works. I find the bass usually lacking when playing Bach on piano because Bach didn't compose for a (non-organ) instrument with the modern piano's powerful bass. The same is also true of Mozart, come to think of it.

ddray
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by ddray » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:45 pm

HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm
I believe that Bach's musical genius transcends specific instruments - it's pure music, and if it is played with technical skill and an ability to convey the beauty of the music, then it will sound good on a guitar, a trumpet, a kazoo, a child's toy plastic xylophone, etc...
...
On the other hand I very much prefer to hear the orchestral/choral works played on modern instruments. I just can't listen to HIP conductors like Gardiner and Herreweghe (although I do like some of Christophe Coin's and Masaaki Suzuki's interpretations). Give me Richter or Rilling any day.

Conall
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Conall » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:36 pm

But isn't that partly the point of Bach's music? It is playable on so many different instruments and, judging by the contrasting opinions shown above, is subjectively preferred on different instruments / via different interpretations by different people.

But that's good: it would be boring to be restricted to his music only played on one instrument (whether original, like harpsichord or other, like piano) / by one interpreter.

And if you don't like Bach on the guitar play something else.

If you don't like Bach on anything .....we may have a problem!

Jeffrey Armbruster

Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:54 pm

"I have not come across any Bach transcriptions for the guitar that I prefer to the original. And none of them make good use of the range of textures, tones, and the unique combinations of melody, harmony and rhythmic accompianiament that great guitar music has."

the first sentence is understandable. The second...just isn't true. In any case--Segovia, Bream, John Williams and scads of other excellent guitarists have all recorded Bach. And done masters classes on pieces by Bach. I don't think that they would waste their time on inferior material.

But as always there's no disputing taste! Have at that dish of beets! I'll be having the trout, thanks.

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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Cincy2 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:42 pm

HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm
I believe that Bach's musical genius transcends specific instruments - it's pure music, and if it is played with technical skill and an ability to convey the beauty of the music, then it will sound good on a guitar, a trumpet, a kazoo, a child's toy plastic xylophone, etc...
I have always loved Bach's music and always will. To play it on guitar, even poorly as I do, is a privilege. Lately, I've been using my small steel string acoustic instead of classical. The sound is very entertaining. More sustain, like a piano vs. harpsichord. Requires more muting but as the gentleman I quoted says, it is pure music.

Have you ever listened to Bela Fleck play Bach on the banjo? Broaden your perspective and search for him on the video site. Worth a listen. Yes I said banjo!

Cincy
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Conall
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Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by Conall » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:34 pm

Cincy2 wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:42 pm
HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:19 pm
I believe that Bach's musical genius transcends specific instruments - it's pure music, and if it is played with technical skill and an ability to convey the beauty of the music, then it will sound good on a guitar, a trumpet, a kazoo, a child's toy plastic xylophone, etc...
I have always loved Bach's music and always will. To play it on guitar, even poorly as I do, is a privilege. Lately, I've been using my small steel string acoustic instead of classical. The sound is very entertaining. More sustain, like a piano vs. harpsichord. Requires more muting but as the gentleman I quoted says, it is pure music.

Have you ever listened to Bela Fleck play Bach on the banjo? Broaden your perspective and search for him on the video site. Worth a listen. Yes I said banjo!

Cincy
I've just Youtubed him & found this interesting interview with Bela Fleck about why he learnt Bach on the banjo & he made the very good point that it helped him get to really know the fingerboard and provided an opportunity to get into modulation that he wouldn't have found in bluegrass:

https://youtu.be/MmHH11duF7I

So a perfectly legitimate reason to learn to play Bach on an instrument not normally associated with the composer is to master the instrument.

I must admit though that I'm not exactly keen on Bach on the banjo even if I admire his dedication!

prawnheed

Re: Can I be the Grinch and say Bach and guitar don't mix...

Post by prawnheed » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:40 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:54 pm
"I have not come across any Bach transcriptions for the guitar that I prefer to the original. And none of them make good use of the range of textures, tones, and the unique combinations of melody, harmony and rhythmic accompianiament that great guitar music has."

the first sentence is understandable. The second...just isn't true. In any case--Segovia, Bream, John Williams and scads of other excellent guitarists have all recorded Bach. And done masters classes on pieces by Bach. I don't think that they would waste their time on inferior material.

But as always there's no disputing taste! Have at that dish of beets! I'll be having the trout, thanks.
I'd highlight Bream's playing of Villa-Lobos versus his Bach, Segovia's Tarrega versus his Bach, William's Rodrigo versus his Bach as being examples of what I mean.

You can have your fiddly, boney trout, I'm having the steak.

And for desert there will be Brouwer.

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