GYPSY JAZZ GUITAR WORKSHOP SYLLABUS
To begin, a brief history of the style will be explained. Drawing attention to key elements within the historical framework which will help students understand the growth of the genre from its roots to present day formats. Attention will be given to certain exponents of gypsy jazz and the influences that helped shape current playing trends.
The first area to be focused upon will be the fundamental principles of:
During the morning session the discipline and role of the rhythm guitar will be analysed.
Despite a wealth of instructional tools available to guitarists ( books, CD’s etc. ), the basic principles of gypsy swing rhythm are often misunderstood and consequently , there are some unusual interpretations by non-gypsy players. The only true way to learn is to have had the luxury of regular experience playing with the people themselves. The aim of this session is to identify the common faults that crop up with players and put into practice a more coherent sense of the gypsy swing rhythm.
Also covered in this topic will be the waltz style of accompaniment, Latin variations including Bossa, Rumba and Bolero, also, a look at the mysterious and difficult 2 beat style.
Attention will be drawn to chord and voicing movement, which plays such a huge role in the overall sound. The Gypsies use an economic and efficient system that contributes to the smooth and effortless rhythm, at any tempo.
The Afternoon session will focus the role of the soloist in gypsy jazz.
A great emphasis will be placed on picking technique, which remains one of the most argued about and essential components of the gypsy guitar sound. As with rhythm, there is a whole range of tutorial material available. Yet the attack, tone and control this picking method helps develop, remains one of the most difficult areas to master. To try and achieve a level of authenticity in phrasing of the style, an in-depth analysis of the tricks and devices used by well-known soloists will be put into practice. Starting at slower tempos and building upwards.
Examples of standard riffs‚ and clichés‚ will be demonstrated and shown to students.
Approaches to improvisation on Major, Minor and Latin tunes within the style will also be under scrutiny.
The gypsy jazz course are available to plectrum guitarists of all styles, beginners through to advanced players. The guitar most associated with gypsy jazz is the Maccaferri style acoustic guitar with its characteristic ‚oval‚ or ‚D‚ sound holes. Students can use whatever guitar they favour the most, acoustic, semi-acoustic or electric. The course would not be suitable for finger-style players.
There will be an emphasis on playing‚, practical demonstration accompanied, where possible, with photo-copy hand-outs.
Don’t be concerned if theory gives you nightmares, all aspects of the course will be digestible and questions welcomed so everyone, hopefully, will feel comfortable in their own ability.
Students will have ample opportunity to put into practice the different techniques and ideas that crop up during the day. This will be in the form of regular jam‚ sessions after each new area of study has been reviewed.
Due to its ethnic origins, this particular approach to guitar playing is arguably second only to Flamenco in terms of technique, control and response.
Even Django himself was shown the picking method when he was young.
The guitar as a recognised popular instrument, is relatively in its infancy when compared to the piano or violin. Yet, the method of playing stringed instruments with a pick‚ has been honed over hundreds of years by musicians from India right through the Middle-East and Europe. Many of these musicians, one would guess, were probably of nomadic descent. Transferring these techniques to the guitar was just another link in the evolution of physical command over the instrument. This powerful technique can be learned, the most difficult task lies in making music!
GYPSY SWING IN THE 21st CENTURY
Now, more than ever, the guitar style of Django Reinhardt and the Gypsies is growing in popularity. Guitarists from all corners of the globe are hungry to learn this most dynamic of pick styles. There are web-sites dedicated to this form of playing all over the world. One of the most popular is the www.hotclub.co.uk site. You can buy guitars, plectrums, strings, Artist CD's, meet other players, download charts, melodies and solos, get involved on the on-line members forum and debate about the size and colour of Django's pick if your 're truly after an anorak achievement!, Buy instructional books with backing CD’s, videos, DVD’s or learn on-line if you wish. There are gypsy jazz Festivals happening all over the world. The most famous being the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois sur Seine , France, in June.
In the UK there is the L‚esprit Manouche Festival in Mosley, Birmingham in July and the International Gypsy Guitar Festival in Dursley, Gloucestershire which floats over the July/August period. All the well-known and cult under-ground players crop up at these three events and many more, over time.