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I am working on composing of articulation etudes for guitar based on

Rachmaninoff's style in Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini in order to


explore the reflections of composer's musical intentions on a guitaristic
perspective. To do so, I will use the method of transcription as a medium of
database construction for forthcoming etudes and arrange all parts of the
piece that are technically possible to play on guitar. Thus, we can gain
better insight on functions and applications of articulation techniques on
modern classical guitar playing and leave physical outcome for further
studies.
In order to actualize the study, three questions have to be asked for
establishment of the sections.
First question would be the reason of this study. There are marvelous
etudes written in the last hundred years such as Etudes Simples by Leo
Brouwer or Twelve Etudes by Heitor Villa-Lobos, which challenged
guitarists in both articulation, dinamics and technique and become
standards along many other etudes. On the other hand, several brave
guitarists committed themselves to arrange certain seemingly impossible
pieces in classical music history to classical guitar, such as Eliot Fisk on all
Caprices by Paganini (Eliot Fisk. (1993). Paganini: 24 Caprices arranged for
Guitar [CD]. Music Masters Classics. (1993)), Remi Boucher on Concierto
de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo (GuitarVideoTraders. (2010, 22 May) Remi
Boucher plays the "Concierto de Aranjuez" as a solo 1/3 from Saltillo,
Mexico [Video File]), and especially Kazuhito Yamashita on Pictures at an
Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky or New World Symphony by Antonin
Dvorak (Kazuhito Yamashita. 'Symphony No. 9: From the New World / The
Firebird: Suite'. RCA Victor, 1989. CD) and so on, and despite their
thorough explanations about the innovative techniques or expressions in
the works, we have yet to find exercises that take other guitarists
gradually to the exact level of articulation they intended. While most of
those arrangements couldn't find their way to concert programmes of
guitarists, every single one of them are glittering their maker's ardor on
exploring or exhibiting new expressions. And we have the possibility of

carrying their aspiration with a productive and systematic study in a


similar manner.
A further concept to be explained, as the second question, would be
the use of transcription. The word transcription originally means copy,
coming from Latin trans- (beyond, through) and scribere (to write). It also
means "the arrangement of a musical composition for a medium other
than that for which it was originally written, a recording made especially
for broadcasting in radio and television, and the process by which genetic
information on a strand of DNA is used to synthesize a strand of
complementary RNA" (transcription. (n.d.) Dictionary.com Unabridged). It
is observable that notion of transcription or arrangement in music, is
generally used as a single operation and it finishes when the process is
complete, then the resulting music gets prepared for the performance
such as ornamentation or orchestration. Although the method of
transcription in this study appears to be arrangement of a piece of music
to another instrument, it functions as separation of the necessary
information from the template to be used in synthesis of the compositions
of the etudes for modern guitar technique, just like RNA serves to
compose certain proteins in genetics. The resulting arrangements will not
be used as concert repertoire, instead, they will be main subject of this
study of articulation, which will lead us to the establishment of the etudes.
Finally, third topic to discuss should be directed to the reason of
making a study on classical guitar articulation. Technique level of the
instruments tend to develop in their historical timelines as musicians
continuously trying to advance in their skills and we can see this on every
instrument. Among other classical music instruments, which have been
developing for many centuries, classical guitar is considerably a young
instrument

having

approximately

three

centuries

of

background,

disregarding of form changes in its physical structure. In this long term


progression, we can see detailed studies on articulation for violin, piano,
flute, clarinet and the like. For classical guitar, however, studies on
articulation are mostly from classical era and don't tend to get deep into

specific techniques. For example, staccato technique is already delved into


for

violin

i.e.

portato,

martellato,

spiccato

or

ricochet

and

even

combination of them. And for guitar, there is only restricted variety of the
technique like regular staccato, staccatissimo or portato, despite where
the string is dumped affects the color of the staccato, which can anyhow
function variously in different phrasings and thus deserve to be
emphasized more in the field of guitarism.
Rachmaninoff is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and greatest
composers of the twentieth century and Rhapsody on a Theme by
Paganini, his last work including piano, is the cumulative outcome of his
life in composition with all the experience he gained on piano. "Its form is
admirably planned, its scoring is a triumph of skill, and its solo part as
rewarding to play as to hear; added to which it has wit, charm, more than
a dash of romance, and an unfailing rhythmic excitement. Even people
who dislike Rachmaninoffs music in general are known to admire this
work: they cannot, in honesty, deny the originality of its conception or its
brilliantly successful execution." (Piggot, Patrick. Rachmaninov. London:
Faber and Faber Ltd., 1978). The rhapsodic richness and its mergence with
variative style of two contrastive themes in the composer's flexible hands
and mind, I believe, constitute a convenient base to build a study on
articulation.

Cited Works List


Audio Recordings
Eliot Fisk. (1993). Paganini: 24 Caprices arranged for Guitar [CD]. Music
Masters Classics. (1993)
GuitarVideoTraders. (2010, 22 May) Remi Boucher plays the "Concierto de
Aranjuez" as a solo 1/3 from Saltillo, Mexico [Video File]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na5eHjOHs3U
Kazuhito Yamashita. 'Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Stravinsky:
The Firebird Suite' BMG Japan, 1999. CD.
Kazuhito Yamashita. 'Symphony No. 9: From the New World / The Firebird:
Suite'. RCA Victor, 1989. CD.
Digital Sources
transcription. (n.d.) Dictionary.com Unabridged
Books
Piggot, Patrick. Rachmaninov. London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1978