Music The Hearts Lingua Franca English Literature Essay


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I remember the first time I challenged myself to change my electric guitar for a classical guitar. Listening to "Asturias la Leyenda" and mastering the piece became a really strong incentive for me to make such a dramatic shift in my musical taste. This prelude had sixteen pages of musical scores and tablatures; they were spread out all over my bed. I had no idea of how to start, however its beauty and challenging difficulty seduced me completely. It allowed me to express my character to the extreme. Each of the classical guitar songs I've chosen reveal about me the multicultural tastes, historic awareness, complexity, and dedication I give when conveying wordless thoughts charged with emotions. "Capricho Arabe," "Asturias la Leyenda," "Recuerdos de Alhambra," "Cavatina," and "Schindler's List Theme" are, in essence, my emotional voice.

I consider myself a music performer; my tool of preference is the Spanish guitar. Classical songs not only contain structure, pulse and melodic progressions, but also they tell a story that we might understand only if we pay close attention. Model of it, is "Capricho Arabe," which is an enormous master piece example of the seven hundred year Moorish occupation in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain). Composer Francisco Tarrega meant to tell the story of Spain in every bit of its musical phrases. Reasons why I love this song, because it only asks that you close your eyes, listen to the story and see the picture carved in the silence. As a performer, it is imperative to have a deep understanding of the history and the musical meaning of this piece, as well as to leave no room for mistakes, because it is rattling important to communicate as precisely as possible, the emotions felt by the Spanish people and not just to show off abilities and techniques, that's for immature souls that have nothing else to say.

Also composed by the same author, Francisco Tarrega, "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" is in reality intended to be a practice focused to work the tremolo technique, which consists of playing three notes consecutively with the annualry, middle, and index finger, while the thumb carries the rhythm. Within its sweet and melancholic chords, "Recuerdos" takes the best and finest sounds the guitar can provide. Andres Segovia, who was a virtuoso Spanish guitarist, noted in his autobiography: "Francisco Tárrega was the father of the modern Spanish guitar; he perfectly blended every facet of classical and romantic elements in classical music with typical details proper of the Spanish music" (23). This is why the practice pieces left by Tarrega became de rigueur, and if any dedicated guitarist really desires to know what their fingers can do, this is the song to choose. In my opinion, this is definitely the greatest classical guitar piece of all time; it is simply, poetry made music.

Isaac Albeniz, who was contemporary to Francisco Tarrega, composed in his later years "Asturias la Leyenda," which is another dramatic masterwork inspired by Albeniz's nostalgia for his homeland. Stanley Yates, an international performer and recording artist notes: "Imagining himself of Moorish ancestry, most of Albéniz's own comments concerning the programmatic aspect of his music derive from images of the Alhambra - the elaborate Moorish palace-fortress that overlooks the Andalucian city of Granada." Expressed in a romantic and inventive manner, "Asturias" feels magical, mysterious and audacious. The Moorish palaces, gardens, and the refreshing sound of water, symbol of life and purity, can be felt when listening to this work, definitely conceived to give pleasure to the senses.

After pieces like "Capricho Arabe," "Recuerdos de Alhambra," and "Asturias," it is very hard for a new piece to turn suddenly into "the new classic" (particularly after almost two hundred years of musical experimentation in the Spanish guitar). Nevertheless, "Cavatina" highlights for its melodically and harmonically simplicity. "Cavatina" reaches climax so softly but yet in such a powerful way, that it washes your soul and makes you feel you can overcome anything on earth. As a matter of technique, "Cavatina" is very challenging because the leading guitar tries to reproduce a guitar duo performed by Grammy Award winner for best chamber music performance, John Williams. One must keep the melody separated but also tied together at the same time; it demands no less than a perfect fingering but rewards with a strengthened heart and a reborn soul. Performing this song makes me feel very emotional; it reflects a time of sacrifice and hardship, and that as well is big part of who I am.

The way we convey our emotions diverges not only from culture to culture, but most important, from person to person. For some it can be writing a book, painting on a canvas or writing a symphony; however, translating a book or a novel faces the struggle not to be literally and conceptually equivalent to its original source. However music is different:

It provides a means by which people can share emotions, intentions and meanings even though their spoken languages may be mutually incomprehensible. Music can exert powerful physical effects, can produce deep and profound emotions within us, and can be used to generate infinitely subtle variations of expressiveness by skilled composers and performers. (Hargreaves, Miell, and MacDonald 1)

Music extends the spectrum of expressive perceptions, and it allows a person beyond the individual. It is a deep mirror proper of knowledge itself that tunes with our senses, feelings, and reasoning intuition.

Thomas Michael Keneally, Australian novelist, author of Schindler's Ark (book from which the "Schindler's List movie was based on) once said:  "it is the story of the pragmatic triumph of good over evil," however this story is not of a "virtuous" man as we might think; Oskar Schindler was rather immoral. He had many character flaws such as greediness, sexual misconduct and selfishness. Writing about evil "is fairly straightforward" says Mr. Keneally, but "it is more risky and complex to write about virtue." The Schindler's List story was reconstructed through fifty eyewitness survivors of the holocaust. What makes this theme so memorable is in my opinion Itzhak Perlman's spectacular violin, which is the leading voice of the song. The theme starts off with several violins that bounce to the cellos and then it goes back to the violins, helping Perlman's violin to bring its solo. The counterbalance performed by the traverse flute enhances very much the tonality and the lamented values of the notes, as the solo violin tries to depict the melancholic events while its somber nature sneaks in.

Music represents the collectivized role that is expressed in song. It assumes the role of lingua franca and provides a vital lifeline to human interaction when all the other means become difficult. It serves as a medium to exchange feelings, thoughts, and knowledge through individuals and cultures, conveyed in a very harmonic manner. As Johan Paul Friederich, a German Romantic writer, expressed: "Music is the poetry of air."

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