Fernando Sor’s guitar technique: a good analysis by Rob MacKillop

“Sor played without nails. He generally used only the thumb, index and middle fingers.”


I think that the blog of Rob MacKillop is inspiring and very useful.

His research on the guitar technique is very interesting, especially regarding the use of the right hand: as I have got to write, Rob plays guitar without using fingernails of his right hand, with extremely charming results.

Today I want to share with you a brief but interesting article written by Rob in 2008, about the guitar technique of Fernando Sor:

Sor’s Method, published when he was 52 years old, presents the mature reflections of a successful, internationally respected musician. 
It contains as much text as music, and speaks with an assured voice.

Obviously MacKillop also focuses on the right hand technique of Sor:

It is in the use of the right hand that Sor distances himself from most of the players of the day, a fact which he was conscious of. 
He shared the same hotel in Paris as his compatriot, Dionisio Aguado, a nail player who could dispatch lightening-fast single-line runs, which Sor could not.

Sor played without nails. He generally used only the thumb, index and middle
fingers. He sometimes placed his little finger on the soundboard.

[…]

He never uses the right hand for damping the strings, favouring the left hand

[…]

He sometimes plucks the strings nearer to the fretboard in order to imitate the harp, and sometimes places his left hand fingers half-way between frets, producing a deliberate buzzing sound in imitation of the trumpet.

Never in my life have I heard a guitarist whose playing was supportable, if he played with the nails. The nails can produce but very few gradations in the quality of the sound: the piano passage can never be singing, nor the fortes sufficiently full. (F. Sor)

Therefore I strongly recommend you read the full article, available in PDF on Rob’s site, at this address:

https://robmackillop.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/sortechnique.pdf

Comments