The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142762   Message #3293071
Posted By: Don Firth
19-Jan-12 - 05:54 PM
Thread Name: Best female guitar players?
Subject: RE: Best female guitar players?
This young lady is local (Seattle area). She graduated from the Guitar Department in the University of Washington School of Music.

They didn't have a guitar department at the U. of W. School of Music when I went there in the late 1950s. I had to take lessons from an outside teacher (who was very good), but at the time some of the faculty didn't consider the guitar to be a legitimate musical instrument—despite the fact that while I was there, Segovia did a concert in Seattle, and John Williams did a concert at Meany Hall on the university campus! Anyhow, I like to think that I may have kicked a few bricks out of the wall for guitar students at the U. of W., like Elizabeth CD Brown.

What the "CD" stands for, I dunno.

Anyhoo, Elizabeth CD Brown is now out and around, teaching at Pacific Lutheran University (in Tacoma, thirty miles south of Seattle), she has at least one CD out, and she gives about fifty concerts a year.

She not only plays the modern guitar, but she also plays the lute. I understand that she studied with Paul O'Dette for a while. And she plays from time to time with early music ensembles.

In addition, she plays the Baroque guitar (1600 to 1750). The Baroque guitar has five "courses" (doubled strings), more or less tuned like the top five strings of the modern guitar, but with some interesting differences. She uses what is called "re-entrant tuning." The 5th course (pair of strings) is tuned to an A like the modern guitar, but both strings are an octave up. The same pitch as the 3rd string, 2nd fret. One of the D strings is the same as the regular D, but its mate is an octave up (same as 2nd string, 3rd fret). That lower D of the pair is the lowest pitched string on the guitar. The 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings are the same as those of a modern guitar—except that the 3rd and 2nd strings are doubled (like a 12-string guitar), but the 1st string is single (the "chanterelle," like the top string of a lute).

Interesting possibilities!

And the Romantic guitar (1750 to late 1800s). Like a standard, modern six (single) string guitar, but a bit smaller. Like a nylon-string (in those days, gut) parlor guitar. This was what Fernando Sor and a lot of the well-known eighteenth century guitarist-composers played.

I've never actually met her, but last I heard, she was also treasurer of the Seattle Classic Guitar Society.

Ms. Brown with her lute.

And with her Baroque guitar.

A photo on Ms. Brown's web site, showing her with her Romantic guitar.

Don Firth