Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Dionysian Symbolism in the Music and Performance Practice of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is considered by many to be the most innovative and influential electric guitarist in history. As a performer and musician, his resume is so complete that there is a tendency to sit back and marvel at it: virtuoso player, sonic innovator, hit songwriter, wild stage performer, outrageous dresser, sex symbol, and even sensitive guy. But there is also a tendency, possibly because of his overwhelming image, to fail to dig deeper into the music, as Rob Van der Bliek has pointed out. In this study, we will look at Hendrix’s music, his performance practice, and its relationship to the mythology that has grown up around him. Excellent analytical work has been done in the field of popular musical studies, but coverage of Hendrix has been limited. This is possibly because analysis of his music is somewhat difficult, as it combines elements of rock, psychedelia, blues, R&B, and soul. In Albin Zak’s penetrating and extensive article on Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” for example, Hendrix shares the focus of analytical attention with Dylan, and only one song is discussed. Nicole Biamonte’s invaluable study of rock harmony includes several references to Hendrix, yet only one original song is briefly analyzed, “Voodoo Child (Slight...

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