by Dr. José Maldonado, DMA
The guitar is an instrument found in virtually every music culture around the world. Here in America, it has been an indispensable instrument in the formation of our most authentic music, from Jazz and Blues in North America, to Samba and Bossa Nova in South America, to Reggae and Bachata in the Caribbean. The guitar has always been the instrument of the people--the instrument that inspires revolutions and serenades lovers. As common the guitar is, there is a very special kind of guitar that, although it has been around for centuries, is not as well known--the classical guitar.
Often a confusing term, classical guitar (similar to classical music) does not exclusively mean music from the classical period (the period of time roughly from 1730-1820) played on the guitar. For example: the great Bossa Nova songwriters used Classical guitars, and the virtuoso Flamenco musicians from Spain use classical guitars.
It is commonly agreed among guitar players from all styles that the technique acquired by studying classical guitar (especially during the formative years) will serve as an irreplaceable foundation for playing guitar in any genre. In addition to the technique, the quality of the music composed for the classical guitar will have a positive impact on a student's development in the realms of musical taste, ear training, and general musicianship.
In this article I will talk about my own ideas of how to teach classical guitar--in particular, about the role of chamber music for the guitar student. If the reader is unfamiliar with the classical guitar tradition I suggest this wonderful article written by former Bloomingdale School of Music faculty member Dr. Paul Cesarczyk:
A classical guitar
Johann Georg Stauffer (1778-1853)
The most important Viennese Luthier of the 19th century
Antonio de Torres (1817-1892)
Luthier/guitar builder who standardized the construction of classical guitars