Rodrigo and the art of the Classical Guitar Essay

1.  The early 20th century came with the decline of avenues for music.  The closing of Teatro Real in 1925 along with the dearth of other outlets, sapped the enthusiasm out of the composers of this century.  Another problem for guitar and orchestra composers at this time aside from the post war effect, was the change of genre to popular music.  This was the era of musical experimentation and the rise of advances in music technology–recordings and electronic instruments.  Bands were booming and halls were packed with people wanting to dance to the tunes of rhythmic jazz and swing so there was more pressure for composers like them.  Also, with the advent of the early music movement, orchestras were played in styles derived from the study of older pieces which became too common and left people with nothing to be excited about.

2.  Rodrigo was able to solve the problems that confronted the guitar and orchestra composers of his time by being unique in his composition.  He presented the guitar as the solo instrument throughout the whole piece and had it backed up by the orchestra.  Never has this been done in the history of music and it was Rodrigo to be the first to display this kind of flexibility.  His flexibility in composition allowed people to look at the orchestra and guitar in a different way.  Rodrigo’s orchestration is simple, clear, and yet interesting: at times he creates a dialogue between soloist and ensemble, and at others he manages to turn them together into one giant guitar – an extremely imaginative and successful effect (“Concierto de Aranjuez guitar and orchestra” 1).

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3.  Rodrigo being blind since age 3, was not able to see the natural beauty and history that surrounded the walls of Aranjuez gardens.  He therefore channeled this dark view of Aranjuez into something positive by thinking of the only beauties he could appreciate which was the the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds and the gushing of fountains.  This formed the slow pace and quiet melody of the concerto.  The piece also had strong references to events in the personal life of Rodrigo.  Particularly, the miscarriage that his pianist wife, Victoria had.  This on the other hand, helped in shaping the emotional elements of the song especially that of the second movement, the adagio.

4.  We all encounter daily problems that dampen our spirits.  Usually whenever I feel down, I listen to my cd compilation that plays all of my favorite songs.  This really uplifts my mood and puts me on a productive, creative mode.  I am able to do more, think more and review better when I am listening to music.  There was also this time when I was really feeling frustrated and I found myself strumming a few chords on my guitar. The next thing I knew, I already had a simple melody.

Works Cited

Marco, Tomas. Spanish music in the 20th century. United States of America: Franzen Harvard

University, 1993.

Internet Sites

“20th century 1900 to present.” 11 April 2001. W.W. Norton and company. 5 June 2009


“20th century composers.” 20 July 2008. Epitonic Incorporated. 5 June 2009


 “Concierto de Aranjuez.” 5 February 2008. Learn classical guitar Incorporated. 5 June 2009            ;;

“Concierto de Aranjuez guitar and orchestra.” 9 January 2009. All music guide. 6 June 2009


“Concierto de Aranjuez.” 28 May 2009. Wikepedia Foundation Incorporated. 6 June 2009