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‘THE GUITARIST'S GUIDE TO COMPOSING AND IMPROVISING 26 The symbol {| represents the player's fingernail. Bringing the symbols together tells the player at a glance where to strike the string, and the angle of striking mm —n ~— *- 4 Fig. 1.12, Alvaro Company's Articulation Diagrams In Las Seis Cuerdas, each note has a different attack! Its inspiring for me to learn about guitarists who explore one of the instrument's great assets: its infinite array of tone-color possibilities. The Jazz and Blues lyric School How many times have we seen the word “lyrical” used to describe a perfor- ‘mance? From my perspective, the term lyrical refers to how a player ‘emulates the tone colors of language—our most basic sound communi- cation—through their articulation with their instruments. The jazz and blues legends truly spoke through their axes (instruments), from the slide guitars of Blind Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson to the horns of Miles Davis, Lester Young, and Sonny Rollins, to the innovations of Jimi Hendrix. ‘They were inspired by one of the most ancient of musical instruments: the hhuman voice. Many of the players sang and/or worked with singers. In the jazz idiom, many of the tunes the players chose to blow (improvise) over ‘were originally heard and sung over the radio or at the movies. These tunes were Top 40 popular tunes! “All The Things You Ate” was on Your Hit Parade for eleven weeks, twice in the #1 position! These tunes were consis- tently heard, sung to, and danced to by lots of folks. When the cats (players) played these tunes, they were quite familiar with the lyric content, The wonderful jazz dictionary, A Jazz Lexicon, by Robert S. Gold, isa testament to the blues and jazz players’ love of language. | guess | am from the lyric school. I would rather learn tunes from recordings Of singers than from anywhere else. It helps me in my playing to think less about what notes to “speak” but how to “speak” them Language can be inspiring, and we can use it to explore tone colors on the guitar. At first | was overwhelmed by the possibilities. Since there is no tone color “scale” to help my studies, | devised my own. Other folks who have tried this idea have added to their tone color range. It is called “Alphabet Study.”