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.
HrothgarZachachaeus

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

Post by HrothgarZachachaeus » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:15 pm

prawnheed wrote:
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.
Good news: you are wrong. Bad news: while I agree that I may have jumped to a hasty conclusion about how much Bach people have played vs. how much they like it, and I also agree that the best music composed for guitar often makes better use of the instrument's unique character than does Bach, nevertheless I am not, to my knowledge, friends with anyone who unironically accuses someone of snobbery just after implying that his/her own musical preferences are superior to another's. I didn't say I didn't like music that appeals to non-musicians. Just that Bach's guitar music is not as appealing or accessible as something like Romanza or Recuerdos, both of which I enjoy and play too. Looks like we may share a love for Brouwer though, if I'm reading your last post correctly, so maybe we can be non-friends over the issue of who likes Brouwer for more incorrect and snobby reasons! :)

prawnheed

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

Post by prawnheed » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:21 pm

HrothgarZachachaeus wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:15 pm
prawnheed wrote:
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.
Good news: you are wrong. Bad news: while I agree that I may have jumped to a hasty conclusion about how much Bach people have played vs. how much they like it, and I also agree that the best music composed for guitar often makes better use of the instrument's unique character than does Bach, nevertheless I am not, to my knowledge, friends with anyone who unironically accuses someone of snobbery just after implying that his/her own musical preferences are superior to another's. I didn't say I didn't like music that appeals to non-musicians. Just that Bach's guitar music is not as appealing or accessible as something like Romanza or Recuerdos, both of which I enjoy and play too. Looks like we may share a love for Brouwer though, if I'm reading your last post correctly, so maybe we can be non-friends over the issue of who likes Brouwer for more incorrect and snobby reasons! :)
:)

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

Post by Contreras » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:48 am

Answer to OP : I haven't read the rest of this thread yet, but I will

NO!

Bach is perfect for the guitar, and is what I spend most of my time on. Deeply satisfying, always different, I hear something new every time I play ... and the sense of communication with genius across a gulf of time ... isn't this why we pursue art?

Just lookimg at the post above as I write this ... Romanza and Recuerdos are trinkets ...everyone has heard them and 'loves' them ... they are SO accessible.

Give me JSB any day
1929 Francisco Simplicio
1997 Manuel Contreras Doble tapa

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

Post by ddray » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:04 am

prawnheed wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:40 pm

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.
Yeah but unfortunately none of that is steak. The fact is that's relatively minor stuff that's really only of interest to other guitarists. Play some Bach and non-guitarists will prick up their ears. Take away Bream's and Williams's Bach performances and they might as well have dedicated themselves to the Alpenhorn. That's the way I think it is with classical guitar which, let's face it, is a comparatively new instrument on the scene without a compelling and extensive "native" repertoire. Imagine the piano repertoire with some Chopin preludes and mazurkas, Schumann's shorter pieces, Brahms' late piano music and maybe one or two Scriabin sonatas.

Now what can happen is that a virtuoso guitarist can play Bach and then say to the non-guitarist "now that I have your attention, here are some other pieces by other composers that I think are worth a listen". In that sense all those other pieces are indeed "dessert".

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

Post by Contreras » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:12 am

In the end it will boil down ro this : There are two kinds of guitarists in the world, and each will never understand the other or concede the validity of the others position.

It's all a matter of taste and opinion and yours is as good as mine, and vice versa (more so). :mrgreen:

I know genius when I encounter it and that's all I need to know ... I happen to play the guitar, so that's how I express my love for the music and engage with it.
1929 Francisco Simplicio
1997 Manuel Contreras Doble tapa

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

Post by ddray » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:45 am

Contreras wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:12 am

I know genius when I encounter it and that's all I need to know ... I happen to play the guitar, so that's how I express my love for the music and engage with it.
And that's terrific. I may never master the guitar but I'll always consider it the most beautiful of instruments. However, it can't "survive" in the classical realm without relying on transcriptions and adaptations. The guitar-exclusive works just don't have the power to sustain interest beyond guitar players (in my opinion), and it isn't an ensemble instrument. So play Bach to your heart's content. It's beautiful music.

prawnheed

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

Post by prawnheed » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:04 am

ddray wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:04 am
prawnheed wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:40 pm

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.
Yeah but unfortunately none of that is steak. The fact is that's relatively minor stuff that's really only of interest to other guitarists. Play some Bach and non-guitarists will prick up their ears. Take away Bream's and Williams's Bach performances and they might as well have dedicated themselves to the Alpenhorn. That's the way I think it is with classical guitar which, let's face it, is a comparatively new instrument on the scene without a compelling and extensive "native" repertoire. Imagine the piano repertoire with some Chopin preludes and mazurkas, Schumann's shorter pieces, Brahms' late piano music and maybe one or two Scriabin sonatas.

Now what can happen is that a virtuoso guitarist can play Bach and then say to the non-guitarist "now that I have your attention, here are some other pieces by other composers that I think are worth a listen". In that sense all those other pieces are indeed "dessert".
My examples were not there to make a point about the popularity of the instrument or its repertoire. They were backing up my point that transcriptions of Bach for the guitar don't make full use of the textures and tones that the instrument is capable of.

However, I don't believe playing Bach on the guitar expands its popularity greatly. No more than playing Bach on the banjo has increased its popularity. If you asked non-musicians to name three pieces they have heard of for classical guitar, I doubt many of them would name anything by Bach. Additionally, if you were to play the guitar transcription of Bach's cello suites to other musicians, then they tend to wonder why you are playing the whole thing pizzicato. Playing to the limitations, rather than the strengths of the instrument is not likely to grab the attention of many.

You may gorge yourself on underfermented sauerkraut.

CliffK

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

Post by CliffK » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:20 pm

I was listening to Karl Scheit playing some Bach, Suite in E Minor etc., last night. Sounded quite good to me.

I suppose the discussion turns, for example, on the criteria selected to evaluate the points at issue and personal taste.

Professor Koonce has some useful insights on Bach and the guitar:

https://www.stringsbymail.com/blog/?p=1017

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

Post by ddray » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:55 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:04 am

My examples were not there to make a point about the popularity of the instrument or its repertoire. They were backing up my point that transcriptions of Bach for the guitar don't make full use of the textures and tones that the instrument is capable of.
On the one hand that's subjective and on the other it's most likely wrong. There's not much in Villa-Lobos or Tárrega that's by contrast dripping with guitaristic texture and tone that isn't there in the best Bach transcriptions that I've heard.
However, I don't believe playing Bach on the guitar expands its popularity greatly.
That's not really the point. The point is steak vs guitaristically rich bonbons. However, a good Bach performance is going to have more of an audience than a 2-minute etude from some composer known but to the guitar fraternity. I think that's fairly self-evident.

prawnheed

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

Post by prawnheed » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:17 pm

ddray wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:55 pm
..
That's not really the point. The point is steak vs guitaristically rich bonbons. However, a good Bach performance is going to have more of an audience than a 2-minute etude from some composer known but to the guitar fraternity. I think that's fairly self-evident.
I am not comparing Bach with two minute etudes. I am saying that the best music written for guitar is better than Bach on guitar and that Bach's best music is better on the original instruments than it is on guitar.

It was you that brought up the idea that other musicians hearing Bach played on the guitar might be interested enough to want to hear more of the guitar repertoire. That simply doesn't match my experience.

Now eat up all your sprouts.

ddray
Posts: 1401
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

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

Post by ddray » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:26 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:17 pm
ddray wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:55 pm
..
That's not really the point. The point is steak vs guitaristically rich bonbons. However, a good Bach performance is going to have more of an audience than a 2-minute etude from some composer known but to the guitar fraternity. I think that's fairly self-evident.
I am not comparing Bach with two minute etudes. I am saying that the best music written for guitar is better than Bach on guitar and that Bach's best music is better on the original instruments than it is on guitar.

It was you that brought up the idea that other musicians hearing Bach played on the guitar might be interested enough to want to hear more of the guitar repertoire. That simply doesn't match my experience.

Now eat up all your sprouts.
"The best music written for guitar is better than Bach on guitar" is also completely subjective, and you're completely entitled to that opinion. It's wrong, of course. :D I'll take BWV 997 over the whole of Villa-Lobos and Tárrega any day. Or Britten's Nocturnal or Ginastera's Sonata to boot. As will most listeners. Speaking of which, I didn't specify the audience's composition beyond "non-guitarists".

CliffK

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

Post by CliffK » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:30 pm

Fisk playing Bach with some interesting comment:

http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2016/12/09/ ... -fisk-bach

prawnheed

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

Post by prawnheed » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:07 pm

ddray wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:26 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:17 pm
ddray wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:55 pm
..
That's not really the point. The point is steak vs guitaristically rich bonbons. However, a good Bach performance is going to have more of an audience than a 2-minute etude from some composer known but to the guitar fraternity. I think that's fairly self-evident.
I am not comparing Bach with two minute etudes. I am saying that the best music written for guitar is better than Bach on guitar and that Bach's best music is better on the original instruments than it is on guitar.

It was you that brought up the idea that other musicians hearing Bach played on the guitar might be interested enough to want to hear more of the guitar repertoire. That simply doesn't match my experience.

Now eat up all your sprouts.
.... Speaking of which, I didn't specify the audience's composition beyond "non-guitarists".
That's true - I dealt with the non-musicians in the earlier post.

Your gravy has congealed.

ddray
Posts: 1401
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

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

Post by ddray » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:22 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:07 pm


That's true - I dealt with the non-musicians in the earlier post.

Your gravy has congealed.
Well as for "Bach on the original instruments" we really don't know what "original instrument" was intended for the "lute works". We know it wasn't the modern guitar, but good luck with a repertoire that begins with Tárrega. :D

CliffK

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

Post by CliffK » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:55 pm

Professor Ph. Hii, article on Bach’s own transcriptions:

http://dmc122011.delmar.edu/music/facul ... htran.html

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