• Rogue Folk, article by Tony Montague

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    Category: General
    Posted by: torvund

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    Martin Carthy - books

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    Martin Carthy is another of these very influential british guitarists who are more or less unknown to the general public. To start with his most well known contribution to contemporar popular music: He was the one who thaught Paul Simon the old English folk-song Simon & Garfunkel perform the song is basically basically how Paul Simon learned it from Martin Carthy. A lot not very nice have been said about how Paul Simon took the song Scarborough Fair and made a hit out of hit, without giving Martin Carthy any credit. But in the most recent interview I read with Martin Carthy, he said that everything with Paul Simon was cleared up and settled. As it happens too often, the "Big Bad Wolf" was the record company and publisher, not the artist. They were finally reconciled and sung Scarborough Fair as a duet when Paul Simon called Martin Carthy on stage during his last (?)London concert.

    Martin Carthy's influence did not stop there. Bob Dylan learned from him too, and he too liked Scarborough Fair. But instead of recording the old song, it inspired him to write his own Girl From The North Country. It is Bob Dylan's verison of Scarborough Fair, and the song was written thanks to Martin Carthy. Bob Dylan also learned the song Lord Franklin from Martin Carthy, and used the melody in his own Bob Dylan's Dream. Here Bob Dylan gives Martin Carthy credit for being the one who thaught him the melody, see the liner notes on The Freewheelin'. It has been said, and it is probably true that the Bob Dylan albums The Freewheelin' and The Times They Are A-Changing could not have existed without the influence of Martin Carthy and other British musicians.

    Martin Carthy was also one of the founding members of the British folk-rock group Steeleye Span.

    But if the general public has not realized the influence and importance of Martin Carthy, others have. He has received the Order of the British Empire for his work with British folk music. It is the same order as The Beatles got from the Queen.

    Martin Carthy invented the tuning E-A-D-E-A-E and several variations of this tuning. It is a sus4 tuning, closely related to the more common D-A-D-G-A-D tuing (invented by Davey Graham). It has the same relations between the strings as the D-A-D-G-A-D tuning, but is a fourth deeper. While D-A-D-G-A-D lends itself to a playing style where you play the melody on the top strings, the E-A-D-E-A-E is better suited for melody playing on the middle stings - and it is better if you find DADGAD a bit too high for your vocal range. And this is one characteristic of Martin Carthy's playing: A strong, syncopated rythmic fingerpicking, with the melody lines played on the middle strings.

    Martin Carthy's uses various open tunings. His favourites are EADEAE, DADEAD, CGCDGD, CGCDGA. But he also uses DGDGCD, and even DADC#AC# and CGCDGG - and who knows, maybe he uses other tunings as well.

    Unfortunatly there is very little documentation on Martin Carthy's playing style. Guitar magazines have frequently asked for permission to print tabbed versions of his guitar arrangeents, but he turns them down. He thinks that you should listen to the music and learn from what you hear, not from printed music. If I would have agreed on this, I would not have made this web-site .... Some elements of his playing style has been covered in books on Open Tunings. But I do not know of any book that covers his playing style more in depth. And I have been searching for such a book for years ... I have found one video by Martin Carthy, I have not seen it and cannot give any details.

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    Fingerstyle Guitar/New Dimensions and Explorations
    The solo guitarist who are presented in this collection represent several strains of development in fingerstyle guitar.
    Level: , pages
    RefNr: MB95328
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    Amazon US

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