Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Portuguese Guitars and Laúds

Two videos, both of Libertango, captured me this morning both because of the unusual instrumentation used and their musicality. A jazz version by the Portuguese group Amar Guitarra featuring the Portuguese guitar work of João Cuña and a classical/nuevo tango version by the Spanish group Acantun which includes two guitars and the laúd work of Eva Donet (and the bandurria work of Angel Pozo).

The Portuguese guitar and the laúd look a lot alike but a little Wikipedia work reveals some of the differences. Both have 12 strings. Both have the shape of the lute family. But the bass strings of the Portuguese guitar are tuned an octave apart and the instrument is played like a 12-string guitar being picked with the thumb and forefinger. In the laúd, the strings are tuned in matched pairs and the playing technique involves rapid "trilling" with a pick between two strings with the same pitch - something Americans are used to hearing on the mandolins used in bluegrass music.

Enough on the esoterica, here are the videos. First, the Portuguese guitar:

If the video does not appear, click here.

And here is the laúd/bandurria version:

If the video does not appear, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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