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This study examined attitudes and perspectives of classroom guitar students toward the reading of staff notation in music. The purpose of this qualitative research was to reveal these perceptions in the student's own words, and compare them to those of orchestra and band students of comparable experience. Forty-seven students from four suburban middle and high schools on the east coast were selected through purposeful sampling techniques. Research instruments included a Musical Background Questionnaire and a thirty-five question Student Survey. Follow-up interviews were conducted with students to clarify or expound upon collected data. Guitar, orchestra, and band teachers were interviewed in order to provide their perspectives on the issues discussed. The Student Survey featured a five-point Likert-type scale, which measured how much students agreed or disagreed with various statements pertaining to their feelings about music, note-reading, or their class at school. Collected data were coded and used to calculate mean scores, standard deviations, and percentages of students in agreement or disagreement with each statement. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed into a word processing document for analysis. The study found that while a variety of perspectives exist within a typical guitar class, some students do not find note-reading to be necessary for the types of music they desire to learn. Other findings included a perceived lack of relevance toward the classical elements of the guitar programs in the schools, a lack of educational consistency between classroom curricula and private lesson objectives, and the general description of the struggle some guitarists experience with staff notation. Implications of the collected data were discussed, along with recommendations for better engaging these students.
Johann Sebastian Bach's violin Sonata I in G minor, BWV 1001, is a significant and widely performed work that exists in numerous editions and also as transcriptions or arrangements for various other instruments, including the guitar. A pedagogical guitar performance edition of this sonata, however, has yet to be published. Therefore, the core of my project is a transcription and pedagogical edition of this work for guitar. The transcription is supported by an analysis, performance and pedagogical practice guide, and a recording. The analysis and graphing of phrase structures illuminate Bach's use of compositional devices and the architectural function of the work's harmonic gravities. They are intended to guide performers in their assessment of the surface ornamentation and suggest a reduction toward its fundamental purpose. The end result is a clarification of the piece through the organization of phrase structures and the prioritization of harmonic tensions and resolutions. The compiling process is intended to assist the performer in "seeing the forest from the trees." Based on markings from Bach's original autograph score, the transcription considers fingering ease on the guitar that is critical to render the music to a functional and practical level. The goal is to preserve the composer's indications to the highest degree possible while still adhering to the technical confines that allow for actual execution on the guitar. The performance guide provides suggestions for articulation, phrasing, ornamentation, and other interpretive decisions. Considering the limitations of the guitar, the author's suggestions are grounded in various concepts of historically informed performance, and also relate to today's early-music sensibilities. The pedagogical practice guide demonstrates procedures to break down and assimilate the musical material as applied toward the various elements of guitar technique and practice. The CD recording is intended to demonstrate the transcription and the connection to the concepts discussed. It is hoped that this pedagogical edition will provide a rational that serves to support technical decisions within the transcription and generate meaningful interpretive realizations based on principles of historically informed performance.