Take Five…

Have been sitting here for a while perusing different music videos and whatnot, just re-visiting old favorites ( D. Krall, M.Schenker, LA Guitar Quartet ( just to remind myself that even though I am now officially a Guitar Teacher, I still can’t play a goddamned thing ) Those who can’t do…

And watched an hour’s worth of Andres Segovia teaching a Master Class in 1965; this would have been right about the time that Chet Atkins wanted to attend one, and hang around and be famous and cool and stuff.

Segovia wouldn’t let him in… because ” electric guitar is an abomination.” In a way, he was actually right. There is still nothing to match the level of accomplishment that even a moderately capable classical guitar student must achieve. I think that anyone could actually do it if they set their mind to it, but most people simply cannot imagine the level of dedication necessary, and when they find out…they realize that it would take up the entirety of their lives. Simply, literally, no time for anything else. Ever. That’s probably why Segovia was still having kids when he was over 80; he finally had some time.

I also came across a video of Bobby McFerrin and Esmeralda Spaulding at a Grammy awards thing, doing something far, far more musical than anything that might have actually won an award that night.

And was reminded of another B. McFerrin video, recommended to me by a student when I introduced my class to the pentatonic scale. Just five notes, simpler even than the major scale that we have all known since we were four, courtesy of Richard Rogers and Julie Andrews

Yes, you do. Here, I’ll prove it…

Doe, a deer…

Yeah. That one. That’s a major scale. The song teaches you the major scale, drills it in so effectively that you couldn’t get it out of your head if you wanted to. What a great hook that is.

But it hadn’t occurred to me that people inherently know the pentatonic scale on an even more fundamental level. This video illustrates this in a really neat way.

For good clear examples of pentatonics in use, listen to the blues. B.B King, Clapton, Stevie Ray, Hendrix…it’s a very long list. And they certainly don’t have to be guitar players…how about John Coltrane or Miles Davis? How about Ella Fitzgerald, scat-singing? How about Gregorian chant, the original use of a pentatonic scale?

OK. I’ll shut up now.

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