Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guitar Notes

I realize I may be absolutely the last person on the planet to have heard of this Erik Mongrain dude, but I like.

Check out another video of his here.

And just to set the mood, an excerpt from the new novel by one of the most lyrical writers of our time:

What night gave Rafael was a formlessness in which everything had a purpose. As if darkness had a hidden musical language. There were nights when did not bother to even light the oil lamp that hung in the doorway of his trailer. He reached for the guitar and stepped down the three laddered steps into the field, carrying a chair in his other hand. 'I don't work, I appear' - he remembered the line of Django Reinhardt's and imagined the great man slipping out from the shadows grandly and disappearing efficiently into his craft. The alternative was to arrive, as most musicians did, like an eighteenth century king entering a city, preceded by great fires on the hills that signalled he had crossed the border, and then by the ringing of bells. But Rafael was not even appearing. Dissolving perhaps, aware of night bugs, the river on the edge of his hearing. His open palm brushed a chord that was response, just response. He had not yet stepped forward. This was the late summer of his life, the year he met Anna, and he had no idea whether he would ever be able to return to the corralling work that art was, to have whatever he needed to make even a simple song. Dissolving into darkness was enough, for now. Or playing from memory an old song by a master, something which his mother had loved or his father had whistled, when he accompanied his father on a walk, for there was one specific song his father always muttered or whistled. In the past Rafael had travelled from village to village, argued a salary, invented melodies, stolen chords, slashed the legs off an old song just to use the torso - but he had come to love now most of all the playing of music with no one there. Could you waste your life on a gift? If you did not use your gift, was it a betrayal?

- Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero


Anonymous said...

"Could you waste your life on a gift? If you did not use your gift, was it a betrayal?"

And who decides that...nice..more importantly for the gits that are us -how do u pronounce the name!

h'shepsut said...

if you haven't heard erik mograin, then you may not have heard andy mckee, whose compositions i tend to like better. he exploded on youtube just before christmas:

km said...

Erik's already acquired the dreaded "new age" tag.

Duu-ude :)

Anonymous said...

Havent heard of this dude before..but you know "tapping guitar" is pretty much similar to playing the Veena...that magnificent musical instrument!
- me

Anonymous said...


Anon, I presume its French. Let me try to be of assistance therefore.

Its Eh-rique (with the gargle for the r, alternatively you can pretend nicely enough by doing the arabic/urdu "h" at the back of your throat, though I would advise you not to try this in Paris) Mo-n (the "n" as in the hindi "haan" and the "mo" with your mouth all puckered up - gra (gargle again here) -n (this should be the merest nasal sound floating away on the air which should now be filled with the germs of your gargling.

Hope that helps. End of lesson. You're welcom.


km said...

To Anonymous:

Tapping produces legato notes (typically). Veena produces glissando notes (again, typically). Therefore, they are the exact opposites of one another.

I am not sure why you are comparing tapping to playing the veena.

Falstaff said...

anon1: Actually, if you check out the second video I link to, they actually introduce him.

h'shepsut: Thanks. No, hadn't heard him. Good stuff

km: Shudder! Poor guy.

anon2: See km's comment. I have to say I didn't think it sounded much like a veena. More like a harpsichord. But that's just me.

n!: Thanks

Anonymous said...

ahem!..i meant 'Ondaatje'.:p Mongrain .lol
i Dont think i'll everr say the name out loud post the detailed tutorial!,french does Not come to me!Thanks though n! :)....

Anonymous said...

@Km: Mea culpa. I was referring to the "plucking of the strings" bit resembling a veena ( Now dont throw musical jargons at me :) Though delighted to know there are words like "legato" and "glissando" ) and not "tapping".

km said...

@Anon: Ah, I see your point. You were referring to the slide-playing. (Musical theory suggests it was the veena that led to the development of the slide guitar.)

And btw, "tapping" has become a semi-technical term among rock guitarists, ever since Eddie VH legitimized it :)

ahol said...

Please help me out: which song of Reinhardt's does this line come from? 'I don't work, I appear"