Welcome To The Creative Act

A pro-musician making sense of the creative process within the context of his life experience.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Dream by John Dowland - Guitar Solo

I was recently exposed to this beautiful Pavan by Elizabethan Era Lute Master, John Dowland. I've been working on the fingering for this piece all week and have finally completed that stage of the study. The next phase is to play it with fluidity and grace (that's the really fun part!). Many people are under the false impression that all a guitarist has to do is read the notes off of the page and play it. Studying a piece is much more complicated than that. As you can see from watching this guitarist's fingers, there are many complex decisions to be made concerning the proper placement of the fingers in order to 'set up' the next chord or phrase of the piece. All of this is figured out during the fingering stage. Of course, that can all change as the 'fluidity and grace' phase may dictate that a fingering position be changed for the sake of the proper performance of the piece. It really is very challenging!

The best way I can describe the study of a complicated piece such is this is to imagine looking through a very dirty window pane. You know that there is a beautiful vista on the other side of the pane, but you just can't view it immediately. With each practice session, more obstructions to the view are removed and just a little more of the image can be seen. Eventually, the reward of diligent, intelligent practice is that a beautiful sight can be perceived without obstruction. The vista in all its glory can be beheld! Another reward is that the musician can continue to perform the piece for the rest of their life and share it with others.

There are many rewards in being a musician. Most of them are interior such as overcoming a great challenge as well as being able to play a beautiful piece of music for ones own self and for others. The material rewards are few. Love for the music and for the instrument on which it is played is what makes a musician's struggle worthwhile. I'm glad that my love affair with music has never wavered and that we have been ever faithful to one another!

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