Neil Caulkins to Perform in Hong Kong


What You See, And What You Don’t; Improvised Preludes From Early 19th Century Guitar Methods

Neil Caulkins will be presenting a lecture/recital on the early 19th-century performance practice of improvised preludes.  It will be on July 17th at 9:45 a.m. in the International Guitar Research Centre’s conference as part of the Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium in Hong Kong, China.

Overview: We see descriptions of composers and performers from the 19th Century being tremendous improvisers.  We also see reference to improvisation in method books from that time.  What we do not see is improvisation on the modern classical music stage.  There were more methods for the guitar written in the early 19th century than for any other instrument. Because the guitar was not yet taught in the conservatories, these methods had to offer detailed instruction about every aspect of music. This makes them a treasure trove of information from which all musicians can benefit.  This lecture/recital focuses upon the early 19th century performance practice of the improvised prelude. A detailed examination of existing written examples of these improvisatory preludes will be beneficial to all musicians who perform music from this period.  Then we will explore how to construct/compose our own “improvisatory” preludes using historic cadence examples as the basis for historically informed introductions.

Sources: Current scholarship, such as by Kenneth Hamilton, has focused upon the piano literature such as by Cherny. This lecture draws upon guitar methods and music from the early 19th century. The foundational methods by Sor and Aguado establish a basic understanding or recognition of improvisation. Then the methods of Batioli, Boccomini, and Opus 100 of Mauro Giuliani, will be examined in detail.  Cadence examples, particularly from the Batioli method, will be presented as grist for construction of our own “improvised” preludes.

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