Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Alternatives in guitar notation: Towards a practical implementation of clef and score reading on the guitar
by Gallardo, Gonzalo, D.M., The Florida State University, 2011, 346; 3498102
Abstract (Summary)

There is still debate regarding the origins and implementation of treble guitar notation: pedagogical treatises indicate that such notation was normative already by the early nineteenth century. Guitarists' development throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially at the level of writing and playing contrapuntal music, was not accompanied by a substantial notational advancement that would emphasize counterpoint. With few exceptions, the appropriateness of single-stave treble guitar notation has remained unchallenged since the nineteenth century; no pedagogies have previously been written that would systematically instruct students how to read multiple staves, or clefs other than treble. As a result, a majority of Western-trained musicians up to the present day consider single-stave treble notation an inherent, immutable component of reading guitar music. Such a conception seems like a radical change from that of the nineteenth century: Fernando Sor and Ferdinando Carulli (notable nineteenth-century pedagogues) advocated guitarists' familiarization with both the double stave and orchestral scores.

The purpose of this treatise is two-fold: first, to revalorize counterpoint (one of the main features present in the "classical guitar" musical corpus), and to assert the guitar's viability as a contrapuntal, score-reading instrument. And second, to supply a clef and score reading pedagogy for guitarists, which could in turn promote and facilitate the recognition of counterpoint in both solo and ensemble playing. This treatise is divided into three parts: in the first part I affirm the necessity and feasibility of guitaristic-notational exploration beyond the single treble stave. I discuss nineteenth and twentieth-century pedagogies and their treatment of counterpoint and music reading, as well as possible ramifications of implementing score reading with the guitar. In this first part I also outline a pedagogical methodology, considering the music I edited for the present work; I include sample lessons, which an instructor could use to begin teaching students how to read clefs and scores of up to four parts.

The second part of this treatise consists of two sections: first, a clef-reading pedagogy for the treble, bass, soprano, alto and tenor clefs. This pedagogy is based on Georges Dandelot's clef-reading model, and is applied to positions I, III, V, VII and X on the fingerboard. Second, a collection of 138 score reading studies in different clef and stave combinations. I edited these pieces from solo works by Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Matteo Carcassi and Dionisio Aguado, and provide critical commentary for my editorial work as part of this section. I chose the pieces that comprise these studies considering works that are relatively simple to play on the guitar: the pedagogy thus emphasizes reading rather than technique.

The treatise's third and final part consists of twenty-one beginning-level trios, which I arranged from solo guitar works by the aforementioned composers. This last section is designed to promote an appreciation and understanding of contrapuntal music at the early stages of learning, and is a contribution to the still-growing corpus of guitar ensemble music.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Glahn, Denise Von
Commitee: Holzman, Bruce, Shaftel, Matthew, Welch, Leo
School: The Florida State University
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music education
Keywords: Clefs, Guitar, Music, Music reading, Notation, Reading, Score
Publication Number: 3498102
ISBN: 978-1-267-20200-0
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