Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Wednesday 30 January 2002

Guitar Craft Levels 1 & 2 - Convento di S. Maria della Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy


Personal meetings with the Level One are underway.

At breakfast Hernan reported that a Level One asked him how he could tell his wife that everything has changed. RF: clean the bathroom & do the washing up. The courses asked what they needed, at breakfast.

Level One is learning Eye of the Needle in response to their expressed needs: work in small groups & in the large group. Level One are working in either a committed group for containment, or another small group, or individually where the aims & specific exercises are clear & definite and can be simply & clearly verified at the end of the afternoon.

10.49  Life issues are emerging in Personal Meetings. And the question – “how can I tell the musicians / people I work with about Guitar Craft?” Well, you can’t. But you can make music more strong within yourself & people will recognize this. But if you tell other people how to “act with presence”, they’ll say – this man is mad. He belongs to that Guitar Craft cult.

12.47  Personal meetings at an end today. I am no longer able to sit with unknowing hands as once I was. Nor am I prepared to do so: not until the hands have acquired some experience of their own. Probably, by practicing 4 hours a day for 3 months; or 1 hour a day for 6 months.

Right hand principle: Establish the motion and apply the motion to the guitar.

13.43  Performances at lunch continue.

16.32  I have just asked Hernan Nunez to form a League of Crafty Guitarists in Europe, and to find them a geographical base for operations. Hernan feels a resonance with this idea. Ideas which were discussed at the Red Lion House, but which proved impractical at the time for several reasons - most notably the collapse of EG and the adverse effect of that upon the lives & finances of their artists - have returned as points of necessity.

Collating Dear Crafty letters from 1988-91 has stirred a lot. Also this course, the Level One & Level Two & Kitchen Team participants, and my work with them; a new generation of assistant instructors; and the difference place I now inhabit; what is possible & necessary for me?

Meeting with the Kitchen Team & guitars at 15.00: addressing the right hand. Overall, a tremendous improvement on what there has been.

18.01  I have discovered a whole pile of early Dear Crafty letters in document files which I have never opened in MS Word, ever. Some files are degraded with no information present, but several may be on very early floppy disks back from the days when…

While passing water in the bathroom, this flew by:

Q.        How to get more energy?
A.        Do something that you dislike. This releases the energy trapped in that particular automatic reaction.

20.27  Al the Worthy printed the following document at 18.20, we ran it by Hernan right afterwards, and at 18.30 Hernan agreed to accept the position. This was posted on the board at 19.00…

Convento di S. Maria della Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy.
Wednesday 30th. January, 2002;

Dear Team,

This afternoon at tea-time, during this Level One & Two combined course, I asked Hernan Nunez to form an official Guitar Craft performance ensemble, to present and represent the work of Guitar Craft to the world. Initially, this would have the aim of performing in Europe and would be named

The League of Crafty Guitarists,
director Hernan Nunez.

I have also asked Hernan to find premises in Europe where Guitar Craft activities and projects may be based for the medium-term future. Hernan has agreed to accept responsibility for both these projects.

Currently, our sense is that Spain is likely to be the place, and the second half of 2003 the likely time to acquire that place. The League of Crafty Guitarists is operational immediately.

Very best wishes to you all,


. . .  

c/o The American Society
For Continuous Education,
Rt. 1, Box 279,
Charles Town,
West Virginia 25414.

December 17th. 1987.

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Sirs,

Hernan Nunez is a student undertaking a course of instruction in Guitar Craft under my personal supervision. The instruction is sponsored in America by The American Society For Continuous Education, a registered not-for-profit corporation of which I am a past-president, and in England by the Red Lion Trust, an educational trust for the promotion of music and the arts. The trustees are myself, Toyah Willcox, the actress and singer, and S.G. Alder, Treasurer of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh' Award Scheme.

The presence of Mr. Nunez in America is solely as a student, and in no professional or employment capacity whatsoever.

If I can be of further assistance, please contact me. 

            Yours faithfully,

            Robert Fripp.


The second letter is partly fun, partly a history of the early years of GC, and partly a declaration of Hernan’s credentials. Alessandro is posting this to several Guitar Craft persons around the world to inform them of the decision and next step. Hernan called his wife Bettina, he told me at dinner. Bettina feels this is very much the right move and is fully supportive of Hernan. 

Several performances at dinner, plus some very good comments on the day’s work, including some Japanese whispers: originating from Haruko & presented by her in English, then presented by her in Japanese, then translated back into English by Fumihito, then translated back into Japanese by Shinkuro. Haruko felt the final translation at the end of the chain was somewhat short of her original observation.

We are meeting at 21.00 for Level One to present their work to the house, then for Level Two to present their ongoing work to the house.

22.14  The two presentations covered a space close to the sacred, then to burlesque, all within seconds.

The first presentation, of Level Two, began in silence. It was if the quality of listening, and atmosphere within which the notes appeared, changed the timbre of those notes. Silver. A simple circulation hovered and passed around the room. Then Hope, which despite some poor execution, was Hope. The musicness transcended the weak playing. This was a musical performance that is exceptionally rare in our contemporary professional musical culture. Actually, impossible, for several reasons. Then the Level Two left & the Level One entered.

Eye of the Needle. Hilariously bad, so hilarious that laughter burst out among the audience. Excruciatingly, holleringly bad. So bad that a precious piece in the Guitar Craft repertoire being trashed so uncompromisingly, was not even offensive. Then the Level One left, to laughter. And came straight back. Minus one player who arrived late, after the door had been closed, this late addition to the team giving rise to more laughter.

Eye of the Needle again and this time, despite poor playing, it sufficiently got there that there was no applause afterwards. This is a good sign.

Then, a full house meeting with comments on the presentations and one of the Level One, who has been loosing it, lost it some more. But his heart is not bad so, whatever place he is, he doesn’t feel dangerous.

Announcement to the House: Guitar Craft has moved to the next stage of its history with The League of Crafty Guitarists, director Senor Nunez. They will be presenting a performance for the town’s Secretary of Culture tomorrow evening. And Level One, large or small group piece/s, and Level Two, may  be presented to Hernan for auditioning tomorrow around 17.00. Performance presented to the outside world has to meet certain criteria: being in tune, in tone, and in time. Hernan will make the call on whether these criteria are met.

The League of Crafty Guitarists are meeting to rehearse now, and the Level Two has a commitment for the day to discharge.

23.00  Some early GC computer files have downgraded and lost their information. Now to wind down with the sound of thrakking from the lower levels; i.e. the floors beneath.