Sérgio Assad né le 26 décembre à Mococa, est un guitariste et compositeur brésilien issu Latin American Music for two Guitars, Astor Piazzolla, Leo Brouwer, Radamés Gnattali, Sérgio Assad, Alberto Ginastera, Hermeto Pascoal, . The Assad brothers, who first encountered Astor Piazzolla as young music students in Rio de Janeiro in the s, capture the venerable. Assad on Arranging Classical Guitar. Sérgio Assad on Piazzolla, the Beatles, Ginastera, Transcriptions, and more. Joey Lusterman March
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After all, even though we published an interview with him just a few piazozlla ago, that was solely about composing. He has been important and esteemed as an arranger as well, helping bring so many wonderful pieces, spanning centuries from the Baroque to modern pop, into the guitar repertoire.
Much of that work was for the duo he has played in with his brother Odair for the past five piazzplla, but he also arranges for solo guitar and for configurations with other instruments. And it was there that the three of us convened late one afternoon, as the sun was setting across San Francisco Bay, for a freewheeling conversation about arranging. Because sometimes people confuse what is arranging and what is transcribing.
What would I call what I did with the Nazareth? In places where the [piano] texture was much thicker for an instrument with limitations like the guitar, I actually had to remove a lot of notes. So you have to choose the notes you want to keep asxad to keep the integrity of the chord, and the harmony. I probably changed keys here and there too, because the guitar is good in certain keys where you have open strings. You have to choose the right notes; sometimes you even have to change the written notes a little bit in order to fit under the fingers.
It can be frustrating to play, however.
With something like the Nazareth are you working exclusively from original scores, or do you listen to recordings, too? That was a different approach altogether. Nowadays, you can usually find the original notes in published scores.
Sérgio Assad on Piazzolla, the Beatles, Ginastera, Transcriptions, and more
I think those were published by Berben; there were several publishing companies. He was still with his quintet and most of the manuscripts were not published. So the only way of approaching that music was assadd what they do in the jazz world—copying the solos [from records], listening to the harmonies and all that; you really have to do it by ear.
But translating his quintet to two guitars, or one guitar, was very difficult. Trying to not go fancy and not do things that are impossible for the instrument. So you make choices. Why is it that Piazzolla became so popular with guitarists and arrangers?
If you think about music in Latin America, there is quite a range. There are classical-labeled composers like Ginastera or Villa-Lobos, composers like Jobim that are really traditional Brazilian music, and then you have someone like Piazzolla who sits right in the middle. His music has more elements to it than just a single beautiful melody, which is what Jobim is all about—a beautiful melody with a nice harmony under it.
Piazzolla used simple forms, but the writing was more classical; it had several layers and everything was notated and written down—although he left room for improvisation as well. It became an important piece in the guitar piazzlla, and helped make the popularity of Piazzolla take off. He was not very known back then—a little bit in Europe, more so in Brazil—but his music was so advanced and so rich.
I used diminished chords that created this descending arpeggio-like thing, and he went nuts over that. I think he heard something there that surprised him and he liked it.
Then, when we got the Tango Suite, that [musical figure] was in there! The end of the first movement is exactly what I did. But there was really nothing to change in his music—everything was written there for two guitars and he did a wonderful job. On your early albums you were doing a lot of Scarlatti and Couperin and composers like that.
Do you consider aasad transcribing? Piazzolla wanted me to try different things—and I did. I did another album with him [ Latino Gold] where I really went out of my way to arrange things for real—like I took Mas que nada and did some interesting things with that; and other songs, too. But things changed a bit when they started adding things, like [singers] Tori Amos and Piazzlla Porter, and the bass [Chris Hill] and Anoushka Shankar [on sitar].
So some of that was not followed so closely to the Beatles. I always work with the two guitars in perspective, but I always try to not play one line against the second line, because I always heard two lines in a single guitar. So even playing with just two instruments, I always had about four lines going on, so the polyphonic thing inside has always been very thick in our arrangements and the things I write for two guitars. I worked for so many years with just the two guitars that I thought it was impossible to add another instrument.
How do you choose the repertoire you arrange? Are some pieces more friendly for the guitar? It depends on how slow it is. I think of the distance between two notes in order to make it legato, but if the distance is too long. The guitar does have a little paizzolla. Well, a lot of people think arrangement is just taking the melody of the song and playing the harmony behind it.
But I think you have to do something—embellish, add something of your own. But arranging guitar at that level is very rare. When you arrange a well-known piece, aassad your ideas about it change over time as you hear it played? You can always do it differently.
piazzolla Archives – Clarice Assad
You can take any given measure and think of something that you could do to change it. They like it the way it is. Alas, we just play the traditional repertoire that we know already; those are the notes the composer wrote. We fear changing them.
Remember when people would argue about whether it was a good idea to arrange Pictures at an Exhibition? Some people thought it was a bad idea, some people thought it was a good idea. The energy he plays with makes it as good as the piano version in my opinion.
But some of them do, of course. I think that was a surprising choice. Well, there was also a piano version Gershwin did immediately after the orchestral one. So I had to come up with ideas to make the guitar a little stronger. I used a lot of different things there—more percussion, different colors.
It became more of an orchestration of that piece. A pianist played that piece and I was mesmerized by it. After the concert, it was the only thing I could think about. The texture is different. But I managed to bring things into the guitar world.
For instance, in the second movement, the prestissimohe plays here [left hand and right hand far apart on the keyboard], really distant, so what did I do? I figured out a way to bring it to the middle of the guitar. I also had to do a little bit of scordatura, because it has been my dream to play a seven-string guitar to make the task a little easier, but I never learned and it seemed very hard to jump from six to seven [strings]. So I had to do all the scordatura, like getting down to B, which is a tricky thing to do because the string starts to be too loose, and to do that in a concert is risky.
You take an existing piece but you have to create everything around it, and sometimes things inside it, too. It depends on the style. They will do it anew.
Is there some quality you hear going through his arrangements? When Roland did his arrangements, his stamp was really strong.
All his clever little tricks came out on just about everything he did. I think he steps back a little bit more. But the thing I hear that goes through all his arrangements is a sense of how the guitar should sound. I always can tell that a great guitarist with a very strong sense of what makes a guitar sound good is making decisions every second of the way. And, of course, he also knows how it feels physically to play it.
It feels as though a lot of guitarists are diving into Ravel and Debussy these days with interesting results. To do the Impressionists well, you really need more than one guitar. But even if you do have two it might not be enough.
It depends on the repertoire. The problem is, on piano with the pedal open you have this fantastic sound—how can you do that with a guitar? Still you can do fabulous things, it might just asad a different color than the original. If you know how to use open strings of the instrument, that will help.