When I composed this guitar piece some years ago I had the feeling of being in Provence - in the south of France, near to the Mediterranean. And now, when I play it or listen to it, I imagine that it's in the end of May, June is soon taking over, and I'm in the middle of a huge field, an ocean, full of blue flowering lavenders. And I'm overwhelmed by the scent of them.
I guess that "A Scent of Lavender" is somewhat influenced by the music of some of the South European composers who lived during the Romanceticism - e.g. like Spanish guitarist and composer Fernando Sor (1778-1839), who was born in Barcelona and died in Paris, or Italian Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841), who was born in Naples and died, like Fernando Sor, in Paris.
During a 3-4 year long periode in the 1970s I did some self-studying of the playing of the classical nylon string guitar.
I played a lot of music written by Sor and Carulli and found that it was really fascinating to play. To me, their music is the epitome of southern music and I'm convinced that playing their music at that time has left its marks in me.
In parenthesis I find it very interesting the way that different guitar genres shape one another - and how the music by former living composers sounds in new guitar arrangements - e.g. John Renbourn's steel string guitar arrangements of the Renaissance-lute-music of John Dowland - or Jeff Beck's electric guitar version of Giacomo Puccini's "Nessun Dorma". Jeff Beck's acoustic guitar version of "Greensleeves" on his album "Truth", which was a great inspiration for me, is another example.
You may have noticed that there is some string noise especially in the last half of the C part (2.48 - 3.00). The reason for this is that I play this part in high positions on the wound 4th and 5th strings. In order to give all the guitars I play in the 12 videos of Video of the Month 2014 equal conditions for optimal sound, I have put on a brand new set of exactly the same set of phosphor bronze strings on each and every guitar. Brand new strings and gliding up and down the wound strings - well, that makes the strings "howl"a whole lot☺
The guitar tuning
I play "A Scent of Lavender" in the guitar tuning of DGDGBD. This "open" guitar tuning is a G major tuning, having the key note (G) on the 5th and 3rd strings, the major third (B) on the 2nd and the dominant (D) on the 6th, 4th and 1st strings. It's a very obvious tuning for playing in the key of G major, just like this piece of music. But it is very difficult to play in other keys. As far as I remember I have only written one single tune in the key of g minor in this tuning - and maybe even one in D☺
When I'm composing in the G major tuning the character of the tunes becomes very major-like, open, friendly - and also very South European. Just listen to tunes I have written like "Down the Mediterranean", "The Green Parrots of Barcelona" and "The Troubadour and The Ballerina" recorded on my CD-album "Acoustic Guitar 2". Other examples are a couple of guitar pieces I wrote and recorded with Anders Roland: "Globetrotter" from CD-album "Globetrotter" and "Havblik" ("Still Water") from CD-album "DUO". If you go to the CD Gallery on this website you'll find sound clips of all these tracks. You'll also find a video version of "Havblik" ("Still Water") on YouTube.
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