EXHIBITION SUMMARY

This document describes the highlights of an important exhibition that is currently being proposed to "El Museu De La Música" in Barcelona, Spain.  The exhibition, which is tentatively entitled Guitarrista y Guitarrero (The Guitarist and The Guitarmaker), together with all of its related events, has evolved out of a unique collaboration between an award-winning guitarist and an internationally-renown luthier. It is built around an integrated program of static displays, interactive experiences, performances, and workshops.  The exhibition has six major components :
 Interactive Flamenco Experience
 The Snakewood Guitar
 Seminar for Guitar Aficionados
 Music Theater Concert
 "The Making of ..." Documentary
 Flamenco Guitar Masterclass

The primary goal of the exhibition is to provide a fascinating educational and entertaining experience to museum visitors who are interested in the musical art form known as Flamenco - especially as it relates to the role of the guitar in traditional Spanish music and Andalucían culture.  This event will give visitors an opportunity to see and hear a very rare flamenco negra guitar, as well as listen to, play with, and learn from one of the world’s great flamenco guitarists.


INTERACTIVE FLAMENCO EXPERIENCE

The Interactive Flamenco Experience is designed and developed to provide a unique opportunity for museum visitors to play along, in a sophisticated version of virtual reality, with a traditional flamenco quartet.  It also gives visitors a chance to experience the energy behind this captivating style of music while they learn about the Gitano (gypsy) culture from which it evolved.  By playing special instruments that are provided at high-tech music workstations, visitors will be able to interact with Grammy Award-winning guitarist Tomatito and his group as they perform an original flamenco composition.

The composition, which will be written and arranged by Tomatito especially for the exhibition, provides the musical background for an interactive experience that is suitable – depending on user-selected options – for visitors whose knowledge of music ranges from the basics to the more advanced.

Each music workstation consists of a guitar or a percussion instrument.  It also includes a remote control tablet, a set of headphones, and a large digital display. Based on the current configuration (as illustrated below), a maximum of four visitors, at any one time, will be able to independently play along with the Tomatito Quartet.



The Experience begins when a visitor picks up an instrument and selects the options for an interactive performance.  During the performance, the music created by the visitor is blended with the pre-recorded audio tracks of the Quartet and output in stereo to the visitor’s headphones.  Any one of the pre-recorded audio tracks, depending on the selected instrument, can be muted to allow a visitor to play (and effectively replace) one of the parts being performed by a member of the Quartet.

The large screen at each workstation will display a video of the Tomatito Quartet as they play their version of the flamenco composition.   Users can also specify performance settings that will activate the scrolling of a synchronized score through a special window at the bottom of the screen.  In addition, the visitor will have the capability to visually zoom in on any one member of the Quartet.  This will enable workstation users to see individual techniques (e.g. right-hand strumming, clapping, and other hand movements) in more detail – as the performance progresses.

The workstation instruments, which are built to be robust, will include two electro-acoustic Sóla flamenco guitars that are specifically designed and constructed for the exhibit by luthier Daniel Turner.  They will also include a muted version of a cajón (box drum), which is commonly used in flamenco music for percussion, and a handheld ‘clapper’ for palmas (a flamenco clapping technique).  Since all of the instruments are effectively muted, workstations can be situated in the general exhibition area of the museum and only the participants will hear their own "performance".

To further enhance the visitor’s experience, a video-implemented User Guide can be accessed through the control tablet and headphones.  On-screen tutorials also provide an educational perspective into the world of flamenco music, including a look at rhythm patterns, chording and strumming techniques, and melodic improvisation – with reference to the historical development of these techniques and the instruments upon which they are played.

Additional content for the Interactive Flamenco Experience, in the form of new compositions with all related performance media, can be provided to the Musical Instrument Museum, as required, on an ongoing basis.  This will allow the Museum to continually re-energize the exhibit as it builds a library of interactive experiences that are produced with the creative support of today's – and tomorrow's – most celebrated flamenco artists.


THE SNAKEWOOD GUITAR

One of the very special features of the exhibit is a rare and valuable flamenco negra guitar made from snakewood.  Wood from the snakewood tree (of the family Moraceae) is beautifully marked with a grain that often resembles the skin of some of the most exotic and venomous snakes of South America – from which it originates.  It is this “one-of-a-kind” flamenco guitar that Tomatito will play during his concert performance at the Museum's Music Theater.

Snakewood has exceptional acoustic qualities, but it is rarely used in guitar making because the snakewood tree is relatively small and grows with a twisted, often bent trunk, which does not allow for the harvesting of suitable wood.  After a five year search, however, guitarmaker Daniel Turner, who is widely known for his exquisitely-handcrafted instruments, was able to locate a perfectly book-matched set of snakewood taken from a tree in Guyana in the north-east region of South America.  It is this wood that is being used in the construction of the instrument, which is scheduled to be completed in December, 2012.

This "work-in-progress" has already inspired the composition of a major concerto for flamenco guitar and orchestra (modeled on Joaquin Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez) by eminent composer/conductor, Kevin Purcell – an accomplished musician who is known for his work with celebrated composers Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch and Stephen Schwartz, and renowned producers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

The snakewood guitar will be complimented by a matching table-top display stand and a collection of enlarged monochromatic photographs taken of Daniel Turner creating the instrument in his workshop on the west coast of Canada, and Tomatito playing the guitar in his recording studio in Almeria, Spain.


DOCUMENTARY FILM

A short film, entitled Guitarra de la Serpiente (Guitar of the Serpent), produced in the form of a high-quality, observational, “work of art” documentary, records the creation of the exhibition's snakewood guitar.

An up-close look at the birth of this very rare instrument (from which the film takes its name) includes a journey across three continents – from the jungles of South America, to a master luthier’s workshop on the west coast of Canada, and finally to the stage in the hands of a world-famous flamenco guitarist in Granada, Spain.

This high-definition film is suitable for viewing on large-format television and projected screens.  It has a running time of about 10 - 15 minutes, and will be supplied in Blu-ray format – together with a 46" HD 1080p television screen and a Blu-ray DVD player. The audio track of the film can be followed by museum visitors on their standard headphones whenever they are in reasonable proximity to the screen.


TOMATITO CONCERT

Another one of the major highlights of the exhibition is a live performance by Grammy Award-winning flamenco guitarist Tomatito.  During the concert he will play several pieces from his own flamenco-jazz-classical repertoire, including the composition that he will create especially for the exhibition.

This event will be held in the Museum's Music Theater and, if possible, should be scheduled to coincide with the opening day of the Guitarrista y Guitarrero Exhibition.  Film and photography, which are an integral part of the whole exhibit, can be used to provide a multimedia background for Tomatito's on-stage performance.


FLAMENCO GUITAR MASTERCLASS

On the day prior to Tomatito’s concert at the Museum's Music Theater, he will give an “open” Masterclass to guitar students from across Europe, and beyond.  It is Tomatito’s preference that this Masterclass be available to students at all levels, so the event will be structured more as an interactive presentation to a large group, as opposed to a more traditional Masterclass format that usually allows for an opportunity to learn one-on-one from a master guitarist.

During the event, Tomatito will speak about and demonstrate various flamenco guitar techniques, which will graduate in complexity – beginning with simple techniques and moving to those that are more complex.  He will also be sharing the history of his personal background in flamenco and the music-related experiences that have helped him develop into the musician he is today.

It is expected that this event will be very popular, not only with flamenco guitar students, but with aspiring guitarists from many musical backgrounds.  The Museum's Music Theatre will provide the space and resources to make this a memorable experience for all who attend.


SEMINAR FOR SPANISH GUITAR AFICIONADOS

Daniel Turner, who has earned an international reputation as a maker of fine custom-made flamenco and classical guitars, will give a one-day seminar together with a small group of famous Spanish "guitarreros", which covers topics of interest to guitarists, fine instrument collectors, future luthiers, and flamenco aficionados.  This event will also be held in the Museum's Theater and will be open to all museum visitors – and to participants from the Flamenco Guitar Masterclass.

Topics of interest will include an overview of flamenco and classical guitar construction techniques – with a special focus on the exotic woods that are often used by the luthier in his custom-made instruments.  A multimedia-supported presentation of the history and evolution of these instrument will help answer the frequently-asked question : "What is the difference between a flamenco guitar and a classical guitar?".

A segment of the Seminar will also be dedicated specifically to the acoustic appraisal of fine Spanish guitars.  A number of high-quality instruments will be used to demonstrate the complexity and variation of sounds typically found in both flamenco and classical guitars.


ABOUT US

The contents of the proposed exhibition, including all media, instruments, classes, workshops and performances are, or will be, prepared, created, produced, and supported through Sola Productions Limited, an enterprise, based on a partnership between Daniel Turner and José Fernández Torres (Tomatito), that is dedicated specifically to the creation and implementation of music-related exhibits, concerts, and multimedia productions around the world.

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Last updated November 28, 2012

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