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Andrés Segovia, a Virtuoso, Makes the Guitar a Classical Instrument

Andrés Segovia – formally, Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña – was one of the greatest and most influential guitarists ever. He was born in Linares, Jaén, Spain in 1893 and died in Madrid in 1987.

Wikipedia says that Segovia was known for his virtuoso player as well as his transcriptions of classical and baroque works. He was an expressive player with a wide range of tone and his distinctive musical personality, style and phrasing.

AllMusic stresses the point that Segovia was self-taught. There is some disagreement between the profiles over who Segovia lived with and their attitude towards his music. In any case, the fact that he had no teacher led him to develop a unique technique. The difference from many situations in which people teach themselves is that Segovia’s improvised technique was superior to what was common at the time.

Wikipedia adds that Segovia was instrumental — there was no other word that fit there — in bringing the guitar into the classical orchestra. The profile goes deeply into Segovia’s many accomplishments. The bottom line is that he was an important figure in the development and acceptance of the guitar. Many of his students became well known virtuosos.

It is not all light, however. One of Segovia’s students was the guitarist John Williams, an Australian who now lives in the U.K. A biography was published a couple of years ago. Williams claimed that Segovia was a bully who looked down upon music without the right pedigree, that he used harsh teaching methods that were “unsympathetic” and “unhelpful” and bullied young students.

Above is Bach’s “Gavootte” 1 and 2 and below is “Asturias”by Issac Albeniz.

Wikipedia, AllMusic and The Guardian were used for this post. Home page image: Arturo Espinoza.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

🎼🎺🎻🎹🎷🎶🎵


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

🎼🎺🎻🎹🎷🎶🎵

The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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