Rob MacKillop

what’s next?

In Music on November 1, 2009 at 8:02 am

I’ve removed ‘Three Renaissance Spanish Pieces’ because it was out of tune. I was pushing the limits of the cheap beginners guitar that got me excited about playing classical guitar again. The prospect of playing 400 years of music on one instrument goes against the philosophy I’ve lived by for the last twenty years – the right instrument for the right music- yet I can see a way of retaining integrity through an aesthetic of historically-informed perfomance on a modern instrument. The technique I’ve developed through lute and baroque guitar plucking has allowed me to bring something new to the modern classical guitar. Fernando Sor used a similar technique, and he too knew he was swimming against the tide. It might not work for music by Koshkin or Ohana, but why does it have to? Lots of people playing that music already.

I plan to record quite a bit of lute and vihuela repertoire on the modern classical guitar, but to do that I need to upgrade the instrument. Manuel Rodriguez Jr is overseeing a 60cms guitar for me, with an ebony fingerboard (never liked rosewood) and a French polished top. Should arrive in a month. Manuel has been very impressed with the videos I made of the ‘Baby Rodriguez’ guitar, and is giving me a good deal on this new model. Looking forward to it. So I might hold back on recording new pieces until it arrives.

  1. Hello Rob,

    First, a massive THANKS from a long-time fan for all your work.

    The right instrument for the right music is ideal. But the opposite question has kept me wondering — off and on! — ever since you first brought out Flowers of the Forest, and has got more interesting as you’ve tried different instruments over the years …

    Do you have a favourite instrument (eg, one you have never sold or would choose for an indefinite stay on a desert island, etc)?

    And if this makes sense without any particular music in mind, what size of instrument do you most enjoy playing on nowadays — something minimalist like a uke, or the biggest lute you can find, or something in between?

    There are not many people with your breadth of experience, so it would be really interesting to know!

    Many thanks,

    Dene Ryden

    • Hi Dene,
      Yes, I play too many instruments! Too many distractions – nice instruments, unexplored repertoire, etc. My favourite instrument is the one I’m playing – otherwise I would play something else. Today it is an English banjo from circa 1900. Tomorrow…?

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