Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña (21 February 1893 – 2 June 1987), known as Andrés Segovia, was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Spain. Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, he is seen as the grandfather of the classical guitar. Many professional classical guitarists today are students of Segovia, or students of his students.
Segovia's contribution to the modern-romantic repertoire not only included commissions but also his own transcriptions of classical or baroque works. He is remembered for his expressive performances: his wide palette of tone, and his distinctive musical personality, phrasing and style.
Segovia's technique differed from that of Tárrega and his followers, such as Emilio Pujol. Both Segovia and Miguel Llobet (who taught Segovia several of his transcriptions of Granados' piano works) plucked the strings with a combination of his fingernails and fingertips, producing a sharper sound than many of his contemporaries. With this technique, it was possible to create a wider range of timbres, than when using the fingertips or nails alone. Historically, classical guitarists have debated which of these techniques is the best approach; the vast majority of classical guitarists now play with a combination of the fingernails and fingertips.
After World War II, Segovia became among the first to endorse the use of nylon strings instead of gut strings. This new advance allowed for greater stability in intonation, and was the final missing ingredient in the standardization of the instrument.
Segovia can be considered a catalytic figure in granting respectability to the guitar as a serious concert instrument capable of evocativeness and depth of interpretation. It was Federico Moreno Torroba who said: "The musical interpreter who fascinates me the most is Andrés Segovia". He can be credited to have dignified the classical guitar as a legitimate concert instrument before the discerning music public, which had hitherto viewed the guitar merely as a limited, if sonorous, parlor instrument.
Segovia influenced a generation of classical guitarists who built on his technique and musical sensibility, including such luminaries as Christopher Parkening, Julian Bream, John Williams and Oscar Ghiglia, all of whom have acknowledged their debt to him. Further, Segovia left behind a large body of edited works and transcriptions for classical guitar, including several transcriptions of J S Bach, in particular, an extraordinarily demanding classical guitar transcription of the Chaconne from the 2nd Partita for Violin (BWV 1004). During his lifetime, guitarists were eager to claim association with Segovia, and Segovia himself suggested that he had not actually taught as many students as has been claimed; he once said, "All over the world I have 'pupils' I have never met."
Share this post