20th Century Masters of Finger-Style Guitar, 1982

20th Century Masters of Finger-Style Guitar
Transcription, study notes, and history by John Stropes
Biographies by Peter Lang

Page 2

      His 1981 release, Guitar Music, is a good example of the reasons for Kottke's popularity.  He uses unusual, unorthodox, creative, and flashy technique:  harmonics in the midst of fast arpeggios, classical-style pizzicato, flamenco-style rasguedos, raising the pitch of a harmonic with his slide.  These are all unusual techniques.  Some are innovative.  And this highly guitaristic technique is matched by musical sensitivity.  His ability to project two and even three coherent voices is amazing.  The music is alive.

      Leo Kottke has garnered the award "Best Folk Guitarist" for five consecutive years in the prestigious Guitar Player annual readers' poll.  In 1977 he received a German Grammy award for "Best Instrumentalist."  His music has been featured in motion pictures and television scores including soundtrack work in the movie Days of Heaven which was nominated for an Academy Award for its music.

      There is an easy explanation for all of Kottke's success.  It can be summed up in one word -- brilliance.

About the Authors

      John Stropes and Peter Lang are contemporaries.  They were born in the same year.  They both began playing guitar at the same time.  They were inspired by many of the same practitioners of this style.  They share many of the same likes and dislikes.  They have a sense of camaraderie.

John Stropes:

      John is a fine performer, but, unlike the others in this book, he chose a different avenue to direct his talents.  He became a historian, researcher, and instructor of this style. Until now there has been little written about the history of finger-style guitar.  This volume for the first time collates previously scattered information in order to bring a proper perspective to this style of guitar playing.

      John Stropes was born in 1947 and grew up in a very rich and diverse musical environment.  He graduated form the University of Wisconsin in 1969.  John has taught guitar for the past 20 years [i.e., in 1982], and since 1976 has been on the faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

      He is a director and the president of the Milwaukee Classical Guitar Society.  John, and the lovely Frances Ullenburg, reside in a modest Victorian mansion off the shores of Lake Michigan with their dog, Ruby.

Peter Lang:

      Born in Minneapolis in 1948, Peter Lang began playing the guitar during the folk boom of the late 1950's.  Although influenced initially by the blues, and later by the playing of guitarist such as John Fahey, Peter's playing has always been marked not only by a strong sense of the tradition of the style but also by a willingness to experiment with new ideas.

      His first album, The Thing At The Nursery Room Window, established him as an extraordinary guitarist.  His second album, recorded jointly with Leo Kottke and John Fahey [John Fahey/Leo Kottke/Peter Lang], introduced him to a much wider audience.  His third album, Lycurgus, was nominated for a Grammy award.

      Although technically one of the finest players in this style, Peter's most important contribution to finger-style guitar has been in the area of composition.  Working in standard tuning and in an imaginative variety of open tunings, he has added dozens of beautifully lyrical compositions to the repertoire of finger-style guitar.

      Peter brings his personal experience as a performer and composer of this style, his knowledge of the music business generally, and a ribald sense of humor to this unique book of finger-style solos.

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