Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mysterious Habitats - Dusan Bogdanovic (Guitarist)

My old guitar teacher first introduced me to this song, and this composer, about a year ago, and I just realized that it would fit fairly well into this blog... Hopefully!

Dusan Bogdanovic is a Serbian-born classical guitarist, but, since I never could really find him playing this song, I settled for the above version on YouTube by Joe Galambos. I wasn't exactly sure of his nationality for a long while and, while surfing Wikipedia to learn a bit more about Bogdanovic, his page eventually led me to one about "Russian guitar."
Apparently, until around the 1920s, the more common type of guitar in Russia was a seven-stringed variety, as opposed to the traditional, Spanish instrument. The tuning (Open G, or DGBDGBD) is supposed to allow for a more flexible playing style, and also enables a large number of chords to be played fairly easily. In addition to this, the guitar was designed specifically for arpeggios (or broken chords, to put it simply), having adopted the tuning of a common harp.
Nowadays, the six-string guitar has become much more popular in Russia, largely due to a tour of the country by Andres Segovia (arguably the father of "classical guitar," and a contemporary of Stetson's own Stephen Robinson). Those who wish to emulate the sound or style of the seven-string guitar, however, often resort to switching from the standard EADGBE to DGDGBD, dropping the lowest B.

Just a little extra background information:

During the early years of the Soviet Union, both Lenin and Stalin considered all guitar music to be "bourgeois;" the two favored large orchestras and similar types of music, instead. After Segovia's tour in 1926, a large number of Russian guitarists switched to the six-string variety, including one Piotr Agafoshin, who later authored a book on six-string technique. Despite this, the Russian guitar remained popular until the emergence of groups such as The Beatles in the 1960s, but, at the same time, a second style of "bard music" also gained fame. Vladimir Vysotsky was one person who continued to use the seven-string guitar, whereas a so-called bard named Bulat Okudjava simply used the six-strings tuned to Open G. More recently, the Russian guitars have experienced a growing fan base, due to the work of Dr. Oleg Timofeyev, who has sought to expand and revise the database of classical songs.

(First Recording - Darian Shump and Collin Dougher - Игровые ситуации, Page 26, #1)
(Second Recording - Darian Shump and Collin Dougher - Диалоги, Page 23, #3)

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