December 13, 2023

Listening and guitar II

After the last post on listening and guitar  it’s time to focus upon one of the world’s greatest listeners, Evelyn Glennie, the Scottish virtuoso percussionist who has been profoundly deaf since age 12.

This does not inhibit her ability to perform at the international level. She regularly plays barefoot for both live performances and studio recordings, to better “feel” the music. Glennie contends that deafness is largely misunderstood by the public. She claims to have taught herself to hear with parts of her body other than her ears.

In the photograph at top we can see Evelyn with English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith who uses some highly unusual and  enlightening techniques. Here is Evelyn discussing how to listen with your whole body rather than simply using your ears.

Indeed, this is a highly valuable lecture for any musician and the reason I’ve included it here on the Jamorama guitar blog is because of the highly tactile nature of the guitar – especially the electric guitar – and how the guitar as an instrument makes such a tight connection possible between physical approach (strumming, fretting, vibrato etcetera), the intellectual (musicality) and the emotional. Remember there are no rules and no right or wrong – we all hear differently, we all play differently! Groove to the beat of your own drum.

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