Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Legend of Niibori Guitars

"Alto guitars portray butterflies fluttering delicately over ripe blossoms;
Cembalo guitars reflect the mystery and drama of the constellations shining in the evening sky;
Prime guitars are best suited to express the sweet pathos of lost love;
Bass guitars surpass other instruments in describing the swell of the ocean"
These are the unique characteristics of each type of Niibori Guitar,
the brainchild of Hiroki Niibori.
With their distinct builds and exclusive tones,
they have brought the realm of Guitar Ensemble music into new dimensions.
With Niibori Guitars, tuned to different tunings (mostly Perfect Fifths from the Prime Guitar [aka Classical/Spanish Guitar]),
Guitar Ensembles can now expand their reach of music into octaves never possible with solely the Prime Guitar.
Their different sizes and construct also allowed for the use of the "Niibori Rhythm Method",
which involves using the Guitar as a percussion to express different emotions and feelings.

GENUS (Guitar Ensemble NUS) is the most representative body for Niibori instruments,
being one of the biggest and most reputable Niibori Ensemble in Singapore.
In fact, most of the school-based Guitar Ensembles in Singapore, most notably Dunman High School, Victoria JC, Temasek JC etc.,
have long acquired and mastered Niibori Guitars, having various overseas trips to the Niibori Institutes in Japan to learn the Niibori Method.
Hwa Chong Institution, on the other hand, has lived up to her reputation as a school that respects tradition,
still resisting the change and probably even acceptance of her Guitar Ensemble as a full-fledged Performing Arts group,
and has yet to provide sufficient support for her Guitar Ensemble for her evolution into a highly respectable Niibori-based Guitar Ensemble.

I believe we have all witnessed the capabilities of Niibori Guitars from the outstanding performances of various Guitar Ensembles.
May we work towards a better future by patching up our technical inefficiencies and innate logistical limitations,
and live up to our true potential as Hwa Chong Guitar Ensemble.

HCGExco '10-'11,
- Jin Jian

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paco de Lucia

Hey all,

Its been quite a long time since there was a new post,
so I figured I'll intro you'all to another guitar legend,
Paco de Lucia.
Paco De Lucia
He's famous for his Flamenco style, especially his blinding runs and unique improvisations.
Its kinda hard to put in words, so check out the two videos of his performances below XD

Tico-tico (Guitar solo, percussion accompaniment)

Rumba Improvisada (Guitar duet, improvisation)

A true master of the spanish guitar.
*Flamenco guitars are slightly different from classical guitars, in terms of build and material.

Classical/Concert Guitar:
  • Slightly higher action (~3mm)
  • Usually made from "denser" and thicker wood i.e. rosewood
  • More "depth" i.e. thicker when viewed from the side
  • Absence of Golpeador
Flamenco Guitar:
  • Slightly lower action (~2mm)
  • Usually made from "less dense" and thinner wood i.e. cypress
  • Less "depth" i.e. thinner when viewed from the side
  • Prescence of Golpeador (tapping board)

These account for the differences in tone and technique between classical and flamenco guitar.
I'll post an update to this in another post.

- Jin Jian

Saturday, April 30, 2011

SYF rehearsal videos

Hi all, here are our SYF rehearsal videos XD
I've written a short writeup for each piece to guide those who have not heard them before.

1st piece: The Days of Wine and Roses / Moon River
With a subtle chord, the piece sets itself in the comfortable rhythm of foxtrot.
The melody then switches over and pronounces itself with strong low notes, accompanied by the gentle undertone of melodious quavers.
Following a distinctive transition in meter at the end of the stanza, the melody eases itself into light waltz steps.
Harmonic chords now drive the strong rhythmic beats, with underlying quavers expressing the flow of emotions along a river.
The piece then comes to a resounding coda, followed by a decending melody and closing with a beautiful chord.

2nd Piece: Asturias

Initiating with a rhythmic spanish melody, the piece brings to one the picture of a solemn palace.
A unique bongo/tabla rhythm then enters the picture and the excitement mounts with a driving cresendo and flaming rasgueados.
The climax then diffuses into subtle pizzicatos and a unanimous harmonic E.
The piece then takes a breather and slips into a conversing phrase between melody and chords, utilising the full expressivity of the guitar.
Suspense then builds with a intoxicating melody,
thereafter plunging the music right into an exciting arena of strong melody, flamenco-style cassanets and authoritative bass.
Following a short bridge of calmness, the music erupts into a grand fanfare of the theme, leaving echoes in the air.
A familiar tune then returns as the piece reimmerses in clear memory, right back to the distinctive harmonic E.
A feeling of emptiness is then felt with the swelling bass and lethargic melody, as the initial melody is repeated for the very last time.
With a force of two successively repeated quaver chords and a harmonic note, the piece explodes with a resounding E chord into finality.

Enjoy XD

- Jin Jian

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Windy Hills

Haha, hope you'all like this song XD
Preview, maybe?

- Jin Jian

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cat Music

Joe Hisaishi is simply amazing!
The joy of the performers simply flows~

- Jin Jian