Hi... Has anybody heard of these things? I stumbled across some videos, and they look a lot like Baroque guitars. It seems there's some strong fold music in S. Italy around this instrument. Here's a link to some interesting right-hand technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2TzstCQ1XA
I think my primary interest is in the music and playing technique. Thankfully, there's a wealth of examples on the net. It seems the more "traditional" playing doesn't include anything we'd call punteado. At least, looking at the videos I can find in an un-scholarly fashion. I've seen references to "innovators" who seem to be about 40 years old or so... they seem to be the oldest people I can find who do any finger picking of note.
I guess it would be telling to see that both were built at the same time. So it's interesting that Sellas made them... Is the Mateo Sellas? That would mean a split in use/technique that existed contemporaneously. And so perhaps one influenced the other? Did they use metal strings at that time as well?
But I wonder, if playing in an ensemble, should a guitarist take a cue from the Bettente and actually execute percussion on the instrument? Note that Flamenco guitar does that as well... I haven't read anything about actually beating on the guitar, but then again, I haven't read much at all about the right hand for Baroque guitar...
Yes, I am familiar with (and thankful for) this video. From what I know of Flamenco technique, and what I've seen of bettente, I have to say Rob's technique reminds me more of the latter. I say that because when you strike the guitar in Flamenco, it's a very different movement. Actually tapping the face is an important part of the Flamenco technique, and there are very deliberate gestures to do it -- no less deliberate than gestures to play two or more strings at one stroke. In a way you could say that in Flamenco striking the face is like punteado in Baroque guitar. It's not necessarily part of a rasgueado. But as I recall, lot's of Rob's striking the guitar are extensions of rasgueados. And that looks a lot like what I see in the bettente youtubes...
But definitely, there's a lot of common ground between rasgueados in Baroque and Flamenco techniques. At least today, anyway.
I'll tell you what interests me about this. I cannot believe this majestic and venerable guitar, after being converted into a Chitarra Bettente, was wielded by peasants singing laments about fishermen dying at sea, or playing dances for the village revelries. No indeed, I find that hard to believe. So there must be some continuity from the Baroque guitar to this other tradition, and it must have passed through some fairly rich hands.
Reading the description on that web page, it says bettente was played with a plectrum. Today that's not the case, according to the youtubes I've seen. That alone is an interesting thing to follow. Oh, were I an official scholar able to get funding for such a study!