vai alla Home

I Guitar Convention


On 21 May 1933, by Professor Romolo Ferrari’s initiative, the first Italian Guitar Day was held in Modena.

        The meeting took place in the Dopolavoro Provinciale halls.

        The «Day» starts with Maestro Primo Silvestri who welcomes the participants in the name of the O.N.D. that he represents; he wishes the best success to this first Italian Guitar Day, praising the promoter and expressing the desire for ever more similar events in the future.

        Then Proffessor Romolo Ferrari takes the stand, who in his brief introductory speech illustrates the reason and the goals of the event. Then he began the Order of the Day discussion.

        «Classicness in Italian Art». – Everyone agrees in deploring the unjustified abbandon of Italian classic art and also recognizing the need to put it back in the right light. Following our classic school doesn’t need to mean the exclusion of all the others as it happens now for the Spaniards, who we criticize for the excessive attachment to their own customs and traditions. With this, the convention retains as much as possible that one must choose the best of every school without paying attention to nationality; therefore, we would like to more often see the name of some of our classic masters in the first parts of today’s concert programs.

        On this topic, there are some questions dealing with technique:

        I. – The left hand thumb, used by Carulli, Legnani, and Giuliani, forbidden among the classics by Sor and the moderns by Mozzani (who generalizes the use of the bar chord), is only admitted in extremely rare cases.

        II. – By now, the use of fingernails on the right hand is generally accepted (at least for the index, middle, ring) for a correct pluck; the correct shape is left to the freedom of the guitarist.

        III. – The right hand thumb will be kept at most without a ring; the use of fingernail is allowed.

        IV. – The use of the footstool is essential for those who want to maintain the traditional position.

        For these details, the Convention doesn’t form strict rules about adopting one system or another, but advises a sort of universal school that serves as the extract of the best of the single schools. In other words, every performer needs to choose from the different trends what’s most appropriate to his own technical and artistic abilities.

        «Methods and their Application for the Development of the Italian Art» – The Convention completely approves the draft of a complete course of study of the guitar put down  by Proffessor R. Ferrari, reserving the right of the teacher to modify it according to the aptitudes of the student. It finds, furthermore, the need to integrate the studies on the instrument with knowledge, even in part, of the musical sciences and of the History of music, in particular that of the guitar.

        «Guitar Music». – For transcriptions, a limit is advised. Music for large orchestra is obviously to be excluded from transcriptions. Music for piano is preferable, and among these, those that are more adapted to be transcribed for guitar without altering the character.

        Regarding originals, the maximum liberty is given both for form and content.

        «Guitar Technique». – The convention retains that the best daily exercise for technique, for whoever has completed a regular course of studies, consists of scales and chord formations.

        Regarding the use of tremolo, moderation is advised in order to not ignore the numerous other resources of the guitar; this also goes for harmonics, the unrestrained use of these can only harm the just evaluation of the possibilities of the instrument by a layman.

        «Construction, Shape, Sizes and Voice of the Guitar». – Regarding the shape of the guitar, the Convention finds unanimously that it must maintain its classic form. As a consequence, it will have to have these characteristics: six strings, vibrating length of these 65 cm. (sixty-five – twice that of the violin – 32 1/2); no mother-of-pearl fret markers on the fretboard, at most on the side of it on the 5th, 7th, 9th fret; thirteenth fret on the soundboard. No attempt is permitted to «nineteen-hundredize» the instrument or to alterate the above mentioned form. It is permitted, however, to attempt to augment the volume or better the quality, either with special woods or other means.

        «Strings». – Regarding strings, for soloists only those made of bound silk (4th, 5th, 6th) and gut (1st, 2nd, 3rd) are admitted, and so excluding metal strings from every artistic possibility.

        «Current Events» – In this title, it is particularly worth mentioning the promise made by Dr. Riccardo Vaccari to found an exclusively guitaristic periodical that deals with the activity performed in this field throughout the entire world, with the history of the guitar and all the questions inherent with it in general, and also publishes pages of chosen music.

        At the end, Prof. Romolo Ferrari, wishing for the guitar to be taken into higher consideration and introduced in the Italian high schools and Conservatories, invites all the participants to work for the divulgation of the instrument.

        Thanking everyone for their presence and for the contribution made, the first part of the «Guitar Day» closes.

        The participants then return at 3 p.m. in a large hall of the Casa del Fascio where the second part of the program took place, consisting  of an accademy performed by a group of participants themselves.

        Here is a list of the performers and pieces presented:

        Mr. Riccardo Vaccari - Study n. 5, op.48 by Giuliani – Serenata by Malats.

        Mr. Edoardo Capirone - Study by Aguado.

        Mr. Aldo Ferrari - Study by Sor.

        Mr. R. Vaccari and Mr. L. Orlich - Two duets: Tango by Albeniz (transcribed by E. Pujol) – Allegro from the Sonata op.2, n.1 by Beethoven (transcribed by L. Orlich).

        Mr. Lando Orlich – «La fille aux cheveux de lin» by Debussy (transcribed by the performer) and a characteristic piece of his own composition. He also presents a duet composed by himself, performed with the collaboaration of Mr. S. Piccinini who was asked an encore at the end of the meeting.

        Mr. Amedeo Savoldi - Feste Lariane by Mozzani – Adelita by Tarrega.

        Mr. Suzzi, Ansaloni, and Sassoli, students of Mr. Vaccari, perform music by Mozzani.

        Mr. Romolo Ferrari performs various pieces including Gondoliere by Mertz, Caprices by Legnani, pieces by Sor, Giuliani, Tarrega and Torroba.

        At the end, an Order of the Day is voted.

        With this act, the «Italian Guitar Day» is closed.



La prima giornata chitarristica italiana, in «La Chitarra», I, n. 2, 1934, pp. 13-15.