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Lesson notes

On August 15, 2015 Muriel Anderson stopped by Keith Holland’s Guitar Hospital in Los Gatos and gave a clinic to a small group of guitar players. Part 1 is almost “behind the scenes” as we were getting started. Muriel plays a couple chords and decides she needs some nail repair before continuing. She breaks out quite a collection of sandpaper.

Part 2 is really the beginning of the evening. Muriel gives a little background on getting the guitar to sound like a koto, then plays the Japanese folk song Sakura, ending with an unusual technique, the harmonic chord.

Part 3 Muriel’s performance of Sakura ended with an unusual technique she discovered looking for a way to get a sound she heard in Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha’s recording of Leyenda. It was a way to play all the notes of a chord as harmonics very quickly. She demonstrates it and then goes hands on with some of the students on the technique.

Part 4 Muriel stayed on interesting techniques after her Harmonic Chords demonstration with a little tremolo disply based on a Beethoven piece. Then she went into how she got some of the Japanese sounds in Sakura, including bringing in some flamenco technique.

Part 5 Muriel started taking some questions from the group. First she addressed using the left thumb to fret notes, which led to a comparison of guitars and scale lengths, then she gave a little of her history with the harp guitar.

Part 6 A student in the workshop brought up the CAGED System and Muriel talks about how she learned chords in the beginning and the relationships of chord shapes up the neck of the guitar. Her description of those was very clear and understandable.

Part 7 Muriel was asked about practice habits and she confessed that hers are probably not exemplary. Keith and I weighed in with some of our experiences and suggestions.

Part 8 Muriel gave the students a little more advice on harmonics and exercises to work on artificial ones.

Part 9 Continuing with her talking about harmonics, Muriel played her piece View From Space as an example.

As the first part of the workshop came to a close, Muriel talked about Open Tunings, DADGAD in particular and some of the artists who have taken it to a new level, Laurence Juber and Pierre Bensusan.