This Guitar Piece Can Take Your Skill To the Next Level – This Is How –
Here’s the lesson I filmed for “The Waltz” by Aguado.
It’s a short 2nd grade piece and it is perfect for someone that hasn’t been playing all that long to learn. In turn,this piece will help us get ready to move onto the next level with our playing – it’s very effective as a vehicle to help us improve our guitar technique.
Dionisio Aguado was born in 1784 in Madrid and by all accounts was a gun guitar player and along with Fernando Sor, the other great Spanish guitarist of the time, together they pushed the guitar to a higher level of technique.
They were both great teachers and wrote a lot of music for their students to help develop their playing and this Waltz is one of those compositions.
A Brief History Of The Waltz
So what is a waltz?
It started out as a folk dance but became so popular that it was danced at all the Royal courts of Europe and became enormously popular in Vienna during the 1800’s through to the Strauss family with their big hits like “The Blue Danube”.
A waltz has 3 beats to the bar; so a triple feel.
If you’ve never seen anyone waltzing then maybe google “couples dancing the waltz” and you’ll see how it’s done.
Part of the attraction was that the couple held each other which wasn’t how various dances were performed until that point.
The hangover of the popularity of the waltz today can be seen at any wedding, where the couple after being married, their first activity as a married couple, is to dance the Bridal Waltz.
Our little waltz here is not meant to be danced to.
We say it’s in the character of of a waltz so it’s “Character Music”.
There have been so many waltz’s written over the years and the range is mind boggling.
Everything from simple studies like this one to the Waltz King, Johann Strauss and his modern equivalent Andre Riue, through to more serious compositions that qualifies as Art Music.
That raises the question, what is music for?
Is music just light entertainment or something bigger?
I think there’s room for both!
I came across this quote by Beethoven that may give us something to consider. He said
“Music is one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but mankind cannot comprehend”.
I have a lot of questions about this quote but I think I see where he’s coming from.
Jazz, The Waltz and Fats Waller
Chopin’s Waltz’s were described by Schuman as “aristocratic from the first note to the last” and Ravel’s “La Valse” was declared a masterpiece and today is a concert favourite.
Jazz has also explored the waltz and a favourite from the Jazz Genre “Jitterbug Waltz” was written by one of music’s true characters- Fats Waller.
He was a hell of a musician but without meaning to be he was a comedian also.
The legendary Sax player Coleman Hawkins played with Fats in Fletcher Henderson’s band and described him as such: “Fats was funny, he even looked funny, you looked at him and you’d start to laugh”.
I heard a radio broadcast that Fats had done from the 40’s and when he went on a verbal rant it reminded me of Muhammad Ali and his rants which made me wonder, did Muhammad listen to Fats and take down some notes?
“Ain’t Misbehaving” is perhaps Waller’s best known song but he wrote a lot of music and Coleman Hawkins said that Fats could knock up a song in 10 minutes.
His son said that Jitterbug Waltz came about when his father, Fats, was helping him with his piano practice.
He was learning something by Bach and Fats played the piece through for him then started improvising around it, finally that improvisation became “Jitterbug Waltz”.
“Waltz For Debby” by Bill Evans is another Jazz Standard that is a waltz and is an important tune in the repertoire.
Bill Evans is unique as a pianist.
His playing is subtle and understated considering that he was the pianist on Miles Davis’s “Kind Of Blue” album which is the biggest selling album of all times.
Bill Evans played with monster players like Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane yet Evans contrasted with his more introspective approach.
Chopin, Ravel, Fats Waller and Bill Evans all composed waltz’s but all so different.
Exploring Guitar Genres
“Music is one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but mankind cannot comprehend”.Beethoven
I originally got into music because I loved the electric guitar sounds I was hearing when I was young and then I started looking for what else there was to explore on the guitar apart from Rock & Pop music.
I found that there was Renaissance Lute music and Baroque music by Bach & Scarlatti that we can play on guitar.
It was challenging but a lot of fun so I wanted to see what else was around from those periods on other instruments.
I later discovered that there’s a huge world to explore and one thing’s for sure, there’s no time to get bored if you take a keen interest in music!