Stanley Jordan (July 31, 1959) is an American jazz/jazz fusion guitarist and pianist, best known for his development of the tapping technique for the guitar.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and he received a BA in digital music composition from Princeton University in 1981, studying under computer-music composers Paul Lansky and Milton Babbitt. Stanley Jordan began his music career at age six, studying piano, then shifted his focus to guitar at age eleven. He later began playing in rock and soul bands. In 1976, Jordan won an award at the ‘Reno (Nevada) Jazz Festival. While earning a degree from Princeton in 1981 he played with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie. Jordan has performed at many jazz festivals, including: Kool Jazz Festival (1984), Concord Jazz Festival (1985), and the Montreux International Jazz Festival (1985). During the 1980s Jordan played with Quincy Jones, Michal Urbaniak, and Richie Cole. Since working at Birdland (jazz club) in New York in 1989–1990, Jordan has maintained a lower profile. Stanley Jordan has 4 Grammy Nominations.
Two-handed tapping technique
Normally, a guitarist must use two hands to play each note. One hand presses down a guitar string behind a chosen fret to prepare the note, and the other hand either plucks or strums the string to play that note. Jordan's touch technique is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. The guitarist produces a note using only one finger by quickly tapping (or hammering) his finger down behind the appropriate fret. The force of impact causes the string to vibrate enough to immediately sound the note, and Jordan executes tapping with both hands, and with more legato than is normally associated with guitar tapping. The note's volume can be controlled by varying the force of impact: tapping with greater force produces a louder note.
A helpful analogy to visualize this technique is the distinction between a harpsichord and a piano. A harpsichord produces sound by plucking its strings, and a piano produces sound by striking its strings with tiny hammers. However, while notes produced on a harpsichord or piano sustain after the pick has plucked or hammer has struck, fingers must remain on a tapped note for the sound to continue. This similarity is what led Jordan to attempt such a technique in the first place; he was a classically trained pianist before playing guitar and wanted greater freedom in voicing chords on his guitar.
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