Basic Classical Style

A Very Basic opening on what to expect in Classical Guitar Music and Piecies.

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What is Classical Guitar Style? Its the style of old Pieces of Music like Bouree and Air on G and so on. There is music today produced that fits in with the Classical Music so its just not all Bach, and Bradenburg! How do we start Classical Guitar? Most Classical Guitarist like Myself use a Nylon string Spanish Guitar. You can get them almost anywhere, Check Musiciansfriend or Ebay! I'm not saying you cant pick up your favorite Les Paul or Axe or maybe that lovely Steel String acoustic but generally Classical Music is played on a Nylon String Guitar! Another Thing Guitarist Use is a Foot Stool! Yes the Foot Stool, A little Stool not to big, just a couple inches that elevates the guitar from the standard postion to the Classical Postion. You don't need it But I myself find it very yourself when playing! They are cheap too for a good one, they are 11-20 bucks for a good one that'll last a long time, Heck I even found it usiful when I play my Les Paul or Kramer! Now Put Down Your Pick cause Classical Music makes HEAVY use of... Wait for it... Your Fingers! Many Classical Guitarist grow their nails out and use their nails as picks when playing. Its 5 Times as hard as using a regular pick but the sound is 10 times better! Now we Have Our Nylon Spanish Guitar at Hand, Our Foot Stool, and our Nails grown out abit, Lets get into Bouree in E Minor by Bach and break down a little bit of the song! This is Tuned in Standard Tuning!
E|--0--2--|--3----2--0-------0--2--|-------------0----------|
B|--------|-------------4----------|--0----2--4-------3--1--|
G|--------|------------------------|------------------------|
D|--------|------------------------|------------------------|
A|--------|-------0-----2----0-----|------------------------|
E|--3--2--|--0---------------------|--3----2-----0----2-----|
Okay Here is the Start of it, As you can see its not Complex..... WRONG! As you can see we are playing a Bass Note (G on the Low E String) and a Melody with it (The Open High E String). Classical Guitar Style uses alot of Bass Notes while playing A Melody. Our next Group of notes is a F# (F Sharp) on both the Low and High E String. The Bass Notes and Melody are the Same Note just an Octave apart, Little Clever there huh? The Next part is a G on the High E String and Open Low E String. Same thing as the start but different Octaves. Now Lets look at that, That was Chromatic (Chromatic: The Ascending or Descending of Notes Not according to a scale and By ethier Sharp or Flat. Example: A, A#(A Sharp or B Flat), B, C, C# (C Sharp or F Flat), F, etc.) That was very Clever of Bach, Ascending and Descending in Octaves at the same time. Next the Next part is F# (F Sharp) on the High E String and Open A on the A String. Not Much to that that can be said as in intersetting, But we play an Open High E next. We went down a Whole and 1 Half Step from that Note we played before on the High E String, and We don't have a bass note, Well according to the pattern before we should have a bass note right? Nope! What you can ethier do here is let that A Ring as you play the High E or mute it after u play it and Play your High E. He left you to deicde there, Clever Bach always keeping it mixed up. Next is our B Note on the A String and the D# (D Sharp) on the B String. Again nothing intersetting but Note Naming, But we gotta have our Notes Names, Right!? Next is an open High E and A String playing, High E being the Melody as you know and A being the Bass line. Then that F# (F Sharp) Again! That Tricky F# always in there lol. Now we repeat a group of notes! Now lets see the next part here, Classical Music has a Melody, One Melody played over and over but varied or changed alittle so its not repeptitive like the note naming here! Basically we are playing a Melody and making a Bassline, now you may say, Why bother to play a Bassline, the melody is what you remember mostly! True But Bass lines can determine the "Theme" or "Mood" of the song, If I played a Happy bass line the Melody will generally sound happier. and vice versa with different moods. The Bass Line Creates ALOT of Dynamics in Classical Music as much as the Melody. Its a VERY impressive thing, the Harmony of the Bassline and Melody affect the Mood or Theme Alot. Another thing Composers did of this time was use ALOT of Chords. They know A Chord has a Root, A 3rd, a 5th. Now they most likely added a 7th or 9th and repeated notes octaves higher to add effect. An Orchestra for example playing a C Chord, The Bass Playing the C, The Cello playing the E, The Violias playing the G and Violins repeating the C but an Ocatve higher sounds very good. Because Its a chord and every note fits nice and good with the others! Impressive Yes? Look at all the Magic we uncovered here with this Short little Lesson on Classical Music! So much in so little, How did these guys do this all? Theory, A Good Ear, and hours and hours of composing! I Hope this helped you a little in starting your Journeys into Classical Music and Classical Guitar with the basic Gear and Basic break down and Some Theory and Some Note Recongizing and break downs! Thank you, Xter

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9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    sparta09
    A bit bleh on the grammar, I found myself having to reread through a sentence in order for it to make sense a few times. As far as the lesson goes, I think you did a decent job. I dont know anything when it comes to classical guitar, I just know some of the questions I've had for a while were never answered. Ill eventually look them up, but I was hoping to find them here. Specifically I wanted to know about the different meters used in classical music (as opposed to the standard 4/4 in todays music) You speak about the chromatic notes and the bass line, which did teach me something, however, are there any scales or something that they did use often? In other words, what makes composing classical music any different than composing other genres of music? I know I obviously hear the difference, and of course the use of an orchestra but are there any differences within the actual composing process?
    Xter
    To my Knowlegde theres alot of Music Theory and development in Composing Classical Music compared to a different Genre of music, and sorry for the grammar, im not much of a keyboard user. What may help you though is that Classical Composers used alot of Music Theory to make their music compared to different Genres. They used alot of Tonal and harmonic principles too. But depending on the type of Classical music you are thinking of I would need to know to help you better understand the principles which composers used. There are different compostional forms and eras of classical music so it varies mostly. Classical Music also uses alot of "Musicial Development" or the process of which a musicial idea is repeated in different context or an altered form. For your Meters you would have to be more specfic on the era and type but they kept everything tight mostly so you couldnt really improvise if you wanted too unlike a Blues or Jazz piecie.
    sparta09
    Hmmm, I get it, I mean with all the blanks still left over at least I understand why I still have questions. I'm not sure how great of a response you'd get from an overall UG community, but, I'd really like to see take something like cannon in D, or fur elise and just point out the different methods used in the entire song.
    Xter
    I can do that but it'll be abit before I can. But I can diffently do that and i'll triple check it to make it more clear then this article.
    MetalheadforJC
    The only thing I don't like about the lesson was that it didn't give me enough info on how to play the style. Other than that it was one of the better lessons I've seen.
    Weirdbag
    G - F# - E isn't chromatic in e-minor. All the notes are in the e minor scale. Oh and F# on the bottom string and F# on the top string are TWO octaves apart, not one
    Tomas_slash
    Not much information given about the note choice in this lesson, just a bunch of note naming. I would like to know an explanation of why in the key of e harmonic minor do you add that C#/D flat?