Make it Simple

One of my favorite blog titles is “Life is Hard, Music is Easy.”

Music is easy. But we make it complicated. Especially us guitarists — we look at fingerings on a page as if they’re the work of some higher being. Unchangeable. And we certainly aren’t allowed to change them. After all, Segovia/Koonce/Williard/(insert famous guitarist/arranger here) certainly knew better than us lowly amateurs right?

We sacrifice efficiency and simplicity at the alter of whatever guitar god typeset the piece.

I dislike this. In fact, I would enjoy my sheet music much more if it came with out anything on the page but the notes and expression markings.

What works well in practice may fall apart in performance. Why would we want to make anything more complicated that necessary? Make it simple. Change fingerings. If a chord is hard to get to, edit out some notes (don’t change the harmony).**

For me that means adding a lot of positions shifts and open strings and campanella fingerings. I think all of that makes it easier. If you’re a beginning student and don’t feel comfortable making your fingerings, ask your teacher to write them in for you. Comparing various editions is also a good way to get ideas on what’s possible — this is especially easy for public domain works.

Make it simple because music should be easy (and fun).

**editing is sometimes necessary for pieces by non-guitarist composers. Or even some difficult passages in guitar composer’s works. Use your discretion. Obviously it’s nice to do what the composer wrote, but if that makes it impossible to perform (not practice) you’ll have to weigh the options.

Posted on in Musical Interpretation and Musicianship