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Ricardo Iznaola: Kitharologus The Path to Virtuosity by Ricardo Iznaola. For classic guitar. Chanterelle. Classic, technique. Level: Intermediate. Book. Technique. Size 8.75x11.75. 128 pages. Published by Mel Bay Pub., Inc. (95727)
Q: Who is This Book For?
A: The serious intermediate classical student who knows how to practice, and wants an excellent set of very innovative training exercises for both hands.
Although this book says it is for all levels, I would strongly advise you to stay away from it unless you are taking classical lessons from a good teacher, or are an intermediate to advanced player already. This book gives no information about vital areas of technique, hand positions and so forth. But with that disclaimer, I will talk about what the book does have to offer.
This book is a well laid out course of study for the student of classical guitar who wants to get a thorough technical workout. It covers all the traditional and necessary techniques for both hands, including arpeggios, scales, shifts, tremelos, double notes, harmonics, and more. It does so in a well graded manner that makes the book a long term study guide. This, I believe, is one of it's primary virtues. I would have liked to have had this when I was beginning, it would have kept me occupied for hours every day!
But, keep this in mind; working with a book of this type is like walking into a gym. There is great equipment all over the place, but it won't do you much good, in fact, it can harm you, if you don't know how to use it! Iznaola does give "goals" and "practice tips" at the beginning of each lesson, but they are very minimal, and very general. Phrases such as "use minimum finger pressure" will not be fully understood or appreciated by readers, and most will be slamming their fingers down because they have not discovered the proper sensation of the Light Finger, as taught in The Principles.
If you do know how to practice correctly, and achieve real results, then I heartily recommend this book. I use it myself. In that case, it can really be a "path to virtuosity". Otherwise, it will be a "path to nowhere".
Note reading is required, there is no tab. You are pretty much expected to know your way around the neck. I especially enjoyed practicing the arpeggio exercises on open strings, as they emphasize extreme separation of the right hand fingers while playing, which is great training for the hand. While less "user friendly" than "Pumping Nylon", it would make a good follow up to that book, or could be used alongside it. Each exercise is preceded by helpful, although sometimes too general, study guidelines.
So summing up, it is not a beginner book, unless you are planning to be a serious classical guitarist and are already in lessons. I am happy to have it in my library, and if you don't check it out now, keep it in mind for the future.
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