KEVIN J. COPE, Composer/Guitarist


Musical Time Periods: Medieval Period

c. 400-1400 (There is sometimes listed a time period before this one taking up the 400-800 called the Antiquity Period)

This will be the shortest history lesson for the time periods, because music notation as we know it did not start to develop until about 1100 A.D. which is toward the end of this time period.  There was indeed a great deal of music being performed and composed, it was largely not written down.  We can only guess about what most of it would sound like.  

With that being said, the Catholic Church did start music notation.  The myth is that Pope Gregory "The Great" received word from God through a bird of the idea of notating music.  It's quite likely that he was not even the one to initiate the invention of music notation, though.  The first notated music was Gregorian Chant, named after Pope Gregory.  The notation was not completely the same as we have today since the notes were squarish and there was no set number of lines, among other differences.  I've posted an handwritten example below (everything was transcribed by monks).

This is an example of what the first notated music sounded like. It is the same Gregorian Chant that is handwritten above.  

I'm not intending to push any religion, this is just how music notation started in Europe.

The lute was the "guitar" of the day.  Here's is a little video of what it sounded like.

Philly Classical Guitar Festival Performers

Each year the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society hosts a Classical Guitar Festival at the Settlement Music School at 416 Queen St in Philadelphia.  The festival always opens on Saturday evening (venues vary year to year) with a high profile performer which in recent years has included Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, and Scott Tenant.  This concert is then followed on Sunday by a full day festival.  This festival typically includes two concerts (competition winner from previous year and a closing concert), three workshops (topics ranging from education, technique, composition, and guitar building), vendor fair (guitar for sale, sheet music, guitar repair estimates, etc.), student recitals, and the current year competitions (High School and Adult). 

Below are the three performers that will be featured this year whom will not want to miss.  All three concerts will be amazing this year.

Sharon Isbin performs Agustin Barrios Mangore's "Waltz Opus 8 #4" on Korean Television January 2002.

Celil Refik Kaya - 2013 Philadelphia Classical Guitar Competition Winner - Sonata: III. La Toccata de Pasquini by Leo Brouwer

Debut CD now available at Spanish Dance no. 1 from La Vida Breve by Manuel De Falla (solo guitar) Performed by Gohar Vardanyan Gohar Vardanyan is sponsored by Strings By Mail (, a complete source for strings. accessories, & sheet music.

Paco de Lucia (1947-2014)

Paco de Lucia has passed away today at the age of 66.  His impact has been enormous on flamenco guitar playing.  He has inspired many and expanded the love of flamenco even to the classical guitar world, which is often too full of itself to see the beauty in other styles.

Flamenco is a traditional style that is performed not from sheet music but is improvised around forms that have been developed over time in the same fashion.  It is characterized by the rasgueado (strumming) and incredibly fluent and fast scale work that makes so many classical players envious.  

I've posted several videos below for your enjoyment.  The last is a full performance from the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2012.

Copyright 2017 Kevin J. Cope