The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guitar Regain'd

Ten years after buying my first one, I bought another guitar the other day. This time it's a classical, so I can serenade all the ladies :-)

Recently, upon being asked what else I did apart from reading, I realized that I seriously needed a hobby that has nothing to do with my work. I already knew how to play guitar (though it had been about 2-3 years since I played), so I decided to get a playable one and keep at it. So far so good: I've learnt a couple of pieces by the greats, such as Tarrega and Albeniz.

One guitar related internet phenomenon, however, has made me feel old: nowadays, tabs (tablatures for guitar, i.e., instead of sheet music) are created and read using free programs you can download, such as PowerTab. In my day (the late 1990s), there were no such things: tabs were basic .txt files which, in retrospect, must have been a pain to produce. A tab created in the late 90s would have looked exactly thus:


This is only if you wish to denoted the basic E chord on the guitar; it gets more complicated depending on the song. Things have come a long way. I feel old because I say to myself, "in my day, tabs were like this...."

One thing that still bothers me about tabs is that they must always be taken with a grain of salt, program or no program. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate the efforts of people who wish to disseminate music free of charge, but I can't believe how tone deaf some people are. In some extreme cases, people can't even get the key right! For instance, I was looking for a tab of Albeniz's "Malaguen~a," which is surprisingly hard to find (unlike, say, Leyanda), and the piece is clearly in the key of B, but a tab I read yesterday had it in the key of A. Big difference!

Strange coincidence alert: as I mentioned earlier, the last guitar I bought (or last major guitar related purchase, for that matter) was at Steve's music in Toronto in 1997. This time, ten years later, I went to Steve's music in Ottawa. Weird, huh?

The course on 18th century London taught by Professor London is going well, but the reading for next week is brutal: we are doing Fielding's /Ameilia/, which is damn near impossible to find, on Tuesday, and Sarah Fielding's /David Simple/ for Thursday, which totals nearly 900 pages! To make matters worse, it's been a couple of years since I've read a novel, much of what I have read in the meantime being in the form of drama, poetry, theory, and criticism. Fortunately, things get a little lighter afterwards.

As a side note, I was prompted to consider Google Adsense, so I'm toying with that right now. I must, after all, have some sustenance in order to persist with my wit and humour :-)


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