Guitar players are always looking for new material, often in compositions that were originally written for other instruments. In fact, two of the most famous pieces for classical guitar, Leyenda and Malagueña, began as works for piano, and many classical guitarists have recorded transcriptions of Bach's suites for cello. Recently, I discovered a collection of Spanish dances by the Spanish composer Sarasate. Though he wrote them for violin and piano, I felt they were destined to be played on the guitar. This project is about making that happen.
These Spanish Dances were written by Pablo de Sarasate, a 19th-century Spanish composer and violinist best known for his Carmen Fantasy, which was based on themes from the opera Carmen. His music is intensely romantic and virtuosic, and listening to it, I am convinced that it would benefit from performance on that most Spanish of instruments, the guitar.
Before the dances can be performed and recorded, however, they must be transcribed. Adapting music originally written for violin and piano is a complicated and painstaking process, and requires a thorough understanding of both the guitar and how it can be played. Below is a sample taken from my transcription of Sarasate's Spanish Dance No. 2.
After the transcriptions are completed, they can be learned, performed, and recorded. But my experience in recording four solo albums has taught me that this is a tricky business. Classical guitar has a relatively low volume. Therefore, it requires the most sensitive recording equipment, as well as a specialized studio environment.
The funds I'm hoping to raise will cover the costs of studio time and album production. If I spend three hours recording each of the eight Spanish dances at a cost of $50 an hour, that require $1200. I will need about another $1200 to cover the cost of production for the CDs and the books.
More Money Matters
Of course, before recording can begin, the pieces must be transcribed and learned. At a minimum, each dance will require ten hours to transcribe, and another ten to master. Right now, I am working on the pieces in my spare time, which is limited. But if I were able to raise funds over and above the cost of recording and production, I could take time away from my professional obligations to work on the dances. Put simply, the more I am able to raise, the sooner you will be enjoying these excellent dances.
Risks and challenges
I have learned the hard way that a lot can go wrong when you are trying to produce a professional quality recording. When I recorded my first CD in 2002, I wound up restarting three times. The first time through, there were too many string squeaks. The next time, the studio let in too much noise. And on and on. But after successfully producing four solo CDs and several more as part of an ensemble, I am confident that I have enough experience and expertise to create an excellent album on-budget.
I also have some experience with book publishing. Two years ago, I published Guitar Games: Learn Guitar. Read Music. Fight Space Monsters with music giant Hal Leonard. I learned a lot about publishing in the process, and look forward to applying my knowledge this book of transcriptions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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