Feeling under the weather, on the down and out, bummed over, all thoroughly and exhaustively tuckered, I take a look back at how my guitar practicing has been going this year.
Overall, suffice it to say things haven’t been so good lately. Health wise and otherwise, not sure how much of it I’ll get around to posting on here, but I’d definitely would like to if only for myself as a ‘getting it off my chest’ or ‘putting it to rest’ kinda thing. I’ve been meaning to write a lot more than this, and I have, actually. I thought I’d be more ready than this, but I’m having a hard time of it. I’d feel uncomfortable sharing these pages in their current state. So enough with that for now, it’s not even what I was wanting on posting about anyway.
There’s also so many things that end up in my media playlist I’d like to get around to talk about too.
Then there’s the arts and crafts section, as well as what’s up and going on with the badly drawn animals thing.
And Léonard, can’t forget about Léonard. Like, literally, he’s quite affectionate and commands a lot of attention.
So I’ll have to get around to making separate posts for those because now, guitars.
I’ve got my full size guitar back again, yay. Finally. I’ve been on that tiny MC-1 exclusively over a year now, and now after a summer and autumn of barely any play, I’ve been feeling progressively better and intensifying the practicing again. Watching my previous recordings from this year actually cheered me up this time. I was playing a lot more this springtime, often going through my setlist several times a day, and regularly spending proper time slowly going over specific sections and songs, or just doing general exercises.
Can’t think of a fancy title on this next one. Despite an obvious miss in the 2nd part of the first sonata, this is by far my best attempt at recording these this year, and ever. I’m just going by the book, trying at least. Book which I bought because of an old Segovia recording. Obviously I can’t play it anywhere near like that, like he would. Been teaching it to myself with only these notations and the vague memory of some pleasant sounds, doing it like I can, learning the classical guitar and how to read sheet music along the way. For near enough two decades now. So why isn’t it better than that? It’s never been more than just a hobby. An obsessive one, sure, an intense burning war of passions. A ravenous time consuming love affair racing from one embrace to the next. Haunting desire trapped behind the cruel realities of tempo and expressive style, strict measures rhythmically staring down colours defiantly feeling their way outside its lines, laughing with delighted joy at the face of perfection and its jealous envy of the melody, still then not even exhausted, playfully dancing away in a half-satisfied hungry smile, longing for more music.
Is it just me or is that song just so fucking ridiculously difficult?! Yeah, I get it, it’s not for beginners, ok ok. I mean, … like that tempo switch on page 2 of part 4 … mf … The recording is sped up obviously, but still. Damn does it sound good though, not me, the music. Sometimes I amaze myself with it, or rather, it amazes me, here and there, for a few bars, or a measure or two, on landing a specific note in a specific way at just the right time, by managing to carry a particularly difficult voice beyond what I’d usually be able to sustain and letting those harmonics sing it back at me like so much joy… Nothing on how it felt those times I first heard the Maestro, it’s a different beast I pluck. I often wonder how much of it gets lost to the audience, of the music and its beauty, how much of it gets lost through my poor skills. Too much, without a doubt. Can you still hear it?
I’m just blissed out whenever it sounds half as good as how I hear it, as how it’s pulling me to express it through me or whatever… the Maestro, he’d go at it the whole song, hours of them without missing a beat, without dropping a single note or busting up any of the decorative flowered carpetry, deliberate and precise with every touch. And he’d make it look easy too.
Yeah, easy, until you try and learn it yourself and realize the insane amount of effort and work it takes just to even memorize the parts and get the basic fingering for it right (not to mention at proper tempo) without having to wait for a snail to cross the street every time you need to change positions (hey, assuming you even care about doing it like it’s written. But otherwise why are you even bothering with this anyway, ugh? respect the notations of GTFO! no typos allowed! no deviations! improv is down the hall, up the stairs and second door on the left past the toilets). Got that? Ok, now try make it sound like the music you’re supposedly trying to be playing right now instead of some dry, monotone mechanical noise that sounds like it’s coming from a donkey scratching its arse on a rock to the beat of a chilled unhurried turtle.
Guitars, the six stringed box orchestra of instruments.
It’s not much. Just listing here my best takes this year, most of them. I’m feeling confident about the coming months. Working really hard on a couple of Chopin pieces (though I doubt I can top that typo (ok ok, those typos…) I made in 280% Nocturnal, and the funky sound I got from the MC-1 in the bathroom that day… overall I can do better) There’s a couple more I’m happy about despite some flaws, like several nice takes of S-Class Pouncer Missiles and LNPFBICWL despite their flaws. I think my updated blues beat is pretty kick ass too, really happy about how that turned out.
I was a bit surprised when looking back on this next one. I first wrote it off because of how I messed up the tempo and sped after the repeat. I’m practicing the English Suite heavily these days, and I’d like to record the three parts one after the other in just one take if I can. I improved on it a lot already. I’m comfortable with playing it at tempo now, for the most part. I do like it a tad faster though. Still can’t figure out when it was I first learned the Folk Song part. Must’ve been around 2007 or so, I haven’t a clue where I then got the sheets from or what I did with them. In any case, now I’m using the notations I ordered from the composer’s publisher last year.
So what’s the plan? Practice practice practice. Then play for fun. And play the whole setlist, at least once a day. Focus on the individual songs but ultimately work up to where a I can get a decent recording of all of them in one go (as in with not so many typos). Specific ones I’m set on, like Cavatina… wow, Cavatina… so close… so… damn difficult… stays on top of that list, keeps eluding me, amazing song though, stupefying… my favorite weren’t it for the 3rd part of Romántica… eh. Specific songs I’ve my heart set on focusing on in the coming months: the two Chopin nocturnes, la Frescobalda, English Suite, and of course, Cavatina.
Did I mention how stupidly difficult these things are already? They should warn you about these things when you opt out of taking music lessons in school you know, just a thought: “Hey, you like the guitar now but maybe one day you’ll really really really like the classical guitar. So maybe sign up for guitar class ugh?”
And that’s the plan. Upon bad shape, bummed out over sound quality issues or lack of funds for new strings, just shut off the mic and enjoy the music, cause it’s always more fun and sounds way better when it’s just for that, fun, and when typos just cause a, oops, ah well, either keep going or let’s try that part again, maybe we’ll get it right this time, or we’ll just keep moving on to the next part if not.