It is probably quite obvious to visitors that I have only just begun listening (with great enthusiasm) to “Classical Music”. Like most people in the “western world”, classical music has been a sonic wallpaper to my life – it is hard to escape as it is there across TV and radio adverts and film scores and TV programmes!
However, I’m now an official Classical Music fan.
I’ve been listening to radio 3 from the BBC and Classic FM avidly over the last few weeks and the resources available for free (and legally) there are incredible. I’d always thought that a performance of an orchestral piece was the same as any other of the same piece, after all, they’re all following the same musical score! However, the CD review – building a library feature on Radio 3 demonstrates how far off the mark I am. I listened to the Mozart Coronation Mass broadcast several times this morning and I was amazed at the variations from one recorded version to another. I also learned about the difference between wedge and staccato on a musical score (yes, I am that musically ignorant) :).
All of this is of course obvious to anybody who knows anything about classical music or perhaps music in general but I don’t and it has been and will continue to be a great learning experience.
The reason I mention this is because it is having a profound effect on my arrangement of music for the guitar.
I began an arrangement of a tune I got from a Corrs album – “Lough Erin Shore” a few years ago. I later learned that the tune had been given words and titled “Gleanntáin Ghlas’ Ghaoth Dobhair” by Francie Mooney when I saw his daughter Mairead (of Altan) performing it on Transatlantic Sessions (series 4, episode 2, I think). I thought the arrangement was finished but now I have returned to the tune and revised it considerably adding melodies in different registers, variations on the tune and changing bass patterns and harmonies / pedal tones.
All things that a good finger style guitar player should do, you might argue. But remember, I’m nothing but a reformed rock and blues guitarist!