#1
I always wondered.
Can classical, highly technical guitarists express themselves in the music genre they play (or in general) as opposed to let's say blues guitarists? Because everything I see them play is already written and highly complicated. Do they ever make up their own stuff on the go, not like sitting down and writing music?

Ex:
BB King
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpRIYi721WE&feature=related
as opposed to
Ana Vidovic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4YngQ49dSw
#2
I guess they probably start improvising and then find something they like and write a song out of it... that's what I do when i'm writing music but I can't really imagine it being that easily to improvise a classical piece due to the different techniques and the levels of technicality..
#3
You wouldn't generally improvise within a classical piece but there is such a thing as a cadenza; a section at the end of a classical piece where the soloist improvises as they want for a set amount of time. Really though that's not what 'classical' music is about, the players don't focus on improvising but interpreting the music in the way they feel is best.

I don't know why you seem to think that a written piece is somehow less expressive though, the implication is very strange.
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#4
It is important to FEEL the music you are playing so expression is always possible, even in already composed music.
#5
Of course, if people can improvise with little musical knowledge or education then some with vast musical knowledge can do it.

As for emotion and expression those are terms that are thrown around far too much these days and have basically become another way of saying "This guy sucks because he plays a style different to my own." With "No feeling" being the worst.
Last edited by MegadethFan18 at Apr 7, 2012,
#6
There is a lot of variation between classical performances. Check out Ana Vidovic's performance of Asturias versus Segovia's. They're playing the same piece and the same notes, but their feel is entirely different. Vidovic's is lightning quick, almost rabid feeling whereas Segovia's has a more mournful feeling to me. That's called rubato, which is essentially how a classical musician interprets a given piece.

Think about it. Are you less emotive for performing a piece that's already been written than you are playing an improvisation? Of course not. Classical musicians use solo passages as the framework in conveying the composer's ideas. it is left up to their interpretation how best to communicate the synergy of their sense of the composer's feelings and their own emotions regarding the piece as a performer.
#8
^
Not really. There were cadenzas, which Zaphod mentioned, but those were pretty limited. For the most part, improvisation wasn't a huge deal for the majority trained musicians from the Baroque era onward, especially not those who played in ensembles. Improvisation really took off in the mainstream musical consciousness in jazz and blues. Until then, normally performers would either write and prepare a solo part in advance or play the provided one. The only real changes made live were in the tempo and feel, which is called rubato.
#9
Quote by Geldin
^
Not really. There were cadenzas, which Zaphod mentioned, but those were pretty limited. For the most part, improvisation wasn't a huge deal for the majority trained musicians from the Baroque era onward, especially not those who played in ensembles. Improvisation really took off in the mainstream musical consciousness in jazz and blues. Until then, normally performers would either write and prepare a solo part in advance or play the provided one. The only real changes made live were in the tempo and feel, which is called rubato.


Eh, not necessarily. Bach was a pretty amazing improviser. He could come up with entire fugues on the spot. I think I remember reading something about how many Baroque musicians were actually very talented improvisers, especially when compared to many classical musicians today. I have absolutely nothing to back that up though.
#10
Bach was one out of a very many. That kind of improvisational skill was not expected from just any musician. Bach was certainly notable as an improviser and he would have been in any era of music; the reason for that was that he outshone his contemporaries.

For ensemble players, there was much less tendency to improvise considering the more fragile and necessary nature of their interactions.
#11
Why couldn't the classical guitarist learn to make stuff on the spot if he/she wanted to? It's not too hard to learn to do somehow honestly, and they more often than not have the knowledge to do it, plus most of the time they have more knowledge about creating an certain effect with the playing than the blues guitarist thanks to better quality teaching. (Of course theres good/bad classical guitarists and good/bad blues guitarists and good/bad teachers)

If they can't improvise then probably they don't know enough theory (beginning player or a bad teacher) or that's not a part of what they want to do.

Though I do feel that improvisation is a big part of really, truly learning the instrument, and those that don't learn to do it somehow are always missing out. And classical training is too often ignoring it.
#12
Biggest problem with your argument is that knowing theory doesn't make you a good improviser. A good understanding of melody and direction makes you a good improviser. Don't get me wrong here - some kind working knowledge of theory is absolutely essential, and the more you know means you have that many more options. However, theory is not prescriptive. Just knowing some number of scales and chords doesn't mean you can string them together on the fly.
#13
Most classical guitarists (lets say with more than a years experience with average progress) have some kind of a understanding of melody and direction already, conscious or not. What's missing is other theory that actually can string everything together if the ear has not yet done it.

I never said that knowing theory makes a good improviser, but some theory in some form is necessary for improvisation.
#14
I think we're getting way off-target here, no one ever said that classical players can't or don't improvise, just that in the 'classical style' it's generally not done while performing to the public.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#15
Musical expression is extremely important in any genre or style. Sadly, however, improvisation is not a widely taught concept in classical guitar, as the majority of the music is simply a regurgitation. However, if you're performing a Renaissance or Baroque piece, oftentimes there are sections that call for ornamentation that is up to the performer's discretion (within the appropriate musical style).

But back to the topic of "FEEL," this is difference in making an etude sound like a song rather than a study, regardless of being a classical musician or not.
#16
Quote by Geldin
Bach was one out of a very many. That kind of improvisational skill was not expected from just any musician. Bach was certainly notable as an improviser and he would have been in any era of music; the reason for that was that he outshone his contemporaries.

For ensemble players, there was much less tendency to improvise considering the more fragile and necessary nature of their interactions.


Oh, I definitely agree. Now BEFORE the Baroque period just about every non-church, professional musician was probably an excellent improvisor since none of their music was written down, and the mostly made it up on the spot.