Juan Mercadal: A Biographical Sketch And A Study Of His Pedagogical Process

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


This essay will cover three aspects of the life of concert guitarist-pedagogue Juan Mercadal: a biographical sketch of his life; philosophies concerning various aspects of music (specifically aspects related to guitar); and pedagogical concepts.Chapter I encompasses early biographical information. Included is commentary on the conditions surrounding the guitar, such as the availability of instruments and how the guitar was regarded by various strata of Cuban society. The most influential people in his early life will be discussed, concentrating especially on his music/guitar teachers. The availability of didactic material (pre-1960) and repertory at this time, along with further details of his music education will be presented. The beginnings of his teaching career and his early approach to teaching is described along with the appropriate music literature. A comprehensive examination of Mercadal's performing career from a chronological viewpoint including the repertory is provided.Also included are Mercadal's philosophies and opinions on areas related to the guitar: transcriptions, new music, and advice to luthiers from a performer's standpoint. Also included are Mercadal's thoughts concerning recording and live performances and how the performer must approach each situation. His thoughts on the direction of the concert guitarist and his own personal goals are presented.Chapter II deals with Mercadal's teaching concepts, didactic principles and techniques beginning with posture and covering the most advanced playing techniques.Chapter III presents a complete study of Mercadal's teaching curriculum. The studies comprising this curriculum will be considered in a general order of progressing difficulty, under specific headings, but not necessarily in any specific order of study. The studies are catalogued into four groups according to specific techniques, such as slur, scale and arpeggio studies. The fourth category discusses studies dealing with miscellaneous techniques of which there is no large body of literature, such as harmonics and tambora effects.



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