Hucky Eichelmann



World Music on Guitar

About being a musician

The dilemma of the classical guitar and how to be a musician

One of the main dilemmas of the classical guitar is that many players attempt to copy other (famous) players rather than developing their own musical language.   

It is true that unlike in jazz, classical music has many rules and regulations but there is still plenty of room for individuality within that framework of rules. Besides that the guitar has the advantage of being at home in almost every thinkable musical culture and style; we should make full use of that great opportunity.

To develop our own musical personality, language and interpretations it is utmostly important that we fully explore those spaces and possibilities as without our very own personal musical message our playing will be meaningless. 

We ought to strive to develop ourselves as meaningful and cultured people, as people who got something to say and contribute towards society, people who have a meaningful message to convey. While trying to achieve that we should be aware that tradition is something highly valuable to our past, present and future but that getting stuck with it would prevent us from developing further and hence prevent tradition from growing and retaining itself as such.

As performing musicians we should listen to others and study their way of playing but in the end we will have to think and create ourselves and develop our very own style of playing, our own signature to what we do. Shallowness and copying is a sure killer of good music and it surely won't travel far. Without offering a genuine message nobody will be interested in listening to us.

Firstly we MUST understand the music we are playing. That requires thorough studies of music theory and music history. Furthermore, it is very important to listen to different styles and genres of music, to other instruments and other musical cultures besides just the classical guitar repertoire which, unfortunately, is very limited compared to other instruments such as the piano etc. 

As guitarists (and pianists) we tend to think vertically (in chords rather than in lines) whereas the singers, woodwind players and violin players think horizontally (melody lines, phrasing etc.). Both approaches are very important in music and we need to learn these different approaches from each other and combine them in order to become accomplished musicians.

However, most of all, we always have to play "honestly", from the depth of our hearts. In common language, if we do not tell the truth our listeners will realize that and consider our words a lie; this is the same in music.

Our performance reflects our personality and that makes music such a wonderful thing!
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