World Music for Guitar

Including Scarborough Fair

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"World Music for Guitar contains 22 pieces

  1. Wild Grows the Clover This is a piece in the Celtic style that I wrote for my performing partner, Jessica Walsh. The guitarist will be surprised at how well this piece lies on the fingerboard. It sounds a lot more complex than it is. It's a great piece to play for fun or to bring to a performance. It works very well as a Celtic piece, and it's also one that I have had many comments about from listeners.

  2. Sarborough Faire A riddle song from 16th century England, this melody was designed to be sung as a round. There are many verses, summed up by this one: "Love imposes impossible tasks... though not more than any heart asks." This arrangement is one that sounds very old. There are many parallel fifths and fourths which help to make it sound medieval.
  3. Walking Song The words to this dreamy Ojibway song are "muje mukesin oyayon" which means, simply, "my moccasins are worn out." This arrangement begins with the unharmonized melody played on the fourth string. This gives the guitar an almost cello-like sound. I have also included a variation.
  4. Shule Agra (Irish) In America this moving melody has survived as "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier." Some of the words are the same: "Only death can cease my woe, Since the lad of my heart from me did go." The music is more than three hundred years old. The sentiment and anguish are timeless. The variation is by flutist Jessica Walsh.
  5. Villancico/Los Cuatro Muleros These are two old traditional dance pieces from Spain. They sound as if they belong together. I remember seeing the Jose Greco group performing years ago, and in addition to the Flamenco dances that were performed, there were many traditional dances performed to music similar to these two pieces.
  6. Nanatsu no ko This is a famous Japanese children's song. Although it was composed within the last hundred years, it is already considered traditional music. A loose translation follows: "Why is the crow singing? Because the crow has seven lovely babies up in the mountain. ‘Lovely, lovely, are my babies,' the crow sings. Come and see the old nest, where you'll see beautiful babies with lovely eyes." This arrangement is based on one created by flutist Jessica Walsh.
  7. Star of the County Down This is a haunting melody. It's old, dating back to the baroque period (1650 to 1750). It seemed natural to write a variation because the piece is a little short, and the variation flowed easily. I like the following portion of the lyrics: "As she onward sped I shook my head, And I gazed with a feeling rare, And I said, says I, to a passerby, ‘Who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?' He smiled at me, and with pride says he, ‘That's the gem of Ireland's crown. She's young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann, She's the star of the County Down.'"
  8. Syncope There are few things more American than jazz. It is a blend of cultures and styles that has become familiar the world over. The guitar plays in 3/4 in the bass and in 6/8 in the treble in much of this piece. If you are unfamiliar with this, it's also called playing "two against three." You might have to listen to the CD to get a feel for it, or you could learn it using the metronome. To play it evenly, you might try setting the metronome to beat on the eighth notes. This will help you play the notes in time. Listening to the CD will help to make it sound like two separate voices.
  9. Maid on the Shore I spend a tremendous amount of time looking for melodies to arrange and play. This one caught my attention immediately. It's lovely. I wrote an introduction for it and a variation to fill it out. This is a Canadian piece about a maid who would wait on the shore until she was invited aboard sailing ships. She would sing to the sailors, steal their gold and silver, and then leave them.
  10. Navidava Puri Nihua Although the sound of the music from South America varies greatly from country to country, the music of the Andes (which includes areas of many countries) has a familiar thread to the sound. This piece is from Bolivia. Perhaps after playing this piece and "El Rio" you will go looking for more of this type of music. I love Andean music. The most famous piece of music to come from the Andes is "El Condor Pasa." Although it has been popularized, the melodies are ancient.
  11. Hora Fetelor The music from the Balkans is just beautiful. This piece is from Oltenia, a region of Romania, and is a woman's dance. I love the syncopation and the easy movement of the piece. It makes a nice lullaby.
  12. El Rio The title of this Peruvian piece translates to "The River." It caught my attention immediately. The only problem was that the original melody is very short, so I wrote a few variations for it, my favorite being the last. That last variation is also the simplest and the easiest to play. Once I had it, I just kept playing it over and over.
  13. Elena Years ago when I was looking for music to play, as perhaps you are now, I discovered the music of the late Venezuelan composer Antonio Lauro. He wrote the most beautiful waltzes. I think his music is essential repertoire for any guitarist. An easy piece to try would be "El Negrito." But back to my story: I could not find enough of his things to play and so set out to write some of my own. This is one of my favorites. It's more challenging than some of the other pieces in this book, but worth the work.
  14. Cantiga 700 In the words of a couple of my students who play this tune, "It rocks." This could fit into the styles of many countries, and works well as a "world music" selection. The bulk of western music is written in 3/4, 6/8, 4/4 or some slight variation. There are many countries where rhythms such as 7/8, 11/8 and 13/16 are quite common. 7/8 is a lot of fun once you get over expecting to hear 4/4. The CD will help this, and it will give you a feel for the music. This is another piece where the left hand is not nearly as hard as it sounds. Of course the rhythm will take a little getting used to, but that is a very interesting experience. It's a lot of fun to play.
  15. Dospatsko Horo You would think that once I could play a number of pieces in 7/8 comfortably, the next tune would be much easier. Well, I do play a few of them in 7/8, but this piece from Bulgaria just scrambled my brain. I had the hardest time hearing it. So if you are sitting there getting dizzy trying to learn this, you will be pleased to know you have company. At least the left hand is fairly easy.
  16. Tomorrow Will be My Dancing Day This is a French melody from the 1800's. You might see it in a Christmas collection, but I rarely play it as a Christmas piece because listeners rarely know it. I usually just use it as a nice happy dance tune. This one is slightly harder than many of the pieces, and it's fine to take sections of it and play those. The object is always to have fun. I hear from people who tell me, "I just keep playing this tune, shouldn't I be playing something else?" I tell them that they should just play it as much as they want, and eventually they will get the itch to look around for something else.
  17. Cantico This is a very well-known song from Venezuela. I think that most intermediate players will find this tune very accessible. If the tune is hard, just play the first page and add the variation on page two later when the piece is easier for you. One magic thing that happens when the tune gets easier is that it seems to be a shorter piece. That is the time to add the variation.
  18. En Todo Nos Faz Mercee (Cantiga 375) This is one of the famous "Cantigas de Santa Maria." This is the title of a book of over 500 of these ancient dances. The pieces were collected by King Alfonso. They are wonderful melodies, and I have a lot of fun with the arrangements. Mostly the bass is just a drone. The melodies are "in praise of Mary," but the origins of many of the pieces were probably in pagan rituals.
  19. Canción and Bolero I This dynamic pair of pieces will get the attention of your listeners. The Canción ("song" in Spanish) is great fun and accessible to an intermediate player. The Bolero, traditionally a Spanish dance in triple meter, is exciting and more challenging but is well worth the effort. This is free practice time because it's so much fun to play.
  20. Arirang "I listen – a sad melody stirs my heart / I concentrate – it dispels my gloom." Pak P'aeng- nyon was 25 when he wrote this verse as part of a linked poem composed by five friends in 1442. It is called "Upon Listening to the Flute," and though it is not known to be associated with either the melody or the tragic story of Arirang, it seems appropriate to the feeling of the music. In Korea, Arirang is a well-known and beloved song. The original melody lies in first half of the piece.
  21. Canarios Gaspar Sanz was guitarist to Philip IV in the 1600s. A "canarie" is a vigorous dance from the Canary Islands, and this musical form became popular throughout Europe. This is an arrangement of Sanz's original composition.
  22. I Left Him on the Mountainside This is a lovely piece in the Scottish style by my partner Jessica Walsh. I have always wanted to play this, and as soon as I started noodling with it, I knew I just had to finish the arrangement for guitar. As Jessica said, "Sorrow and joy are often inextricably mixed. Maybe this is what makes a lot of Scottish music so real and close."

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Presented in both Tablature and Music Notation

The music is presented in both music notation and guitar TAB (for people that do not read music). The music notation is clear and crisp. It contains complete clear fingerings for the guitar. These will help you to learn the tunes quickly whether you depend on the tablature or the music.

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Comes With a Compact Disc of the Pieces Performed by Allan Alexander

The CD, played by Allan Alexander, gives the musician the advantage of being able to hear how these songs can be played and will make the learning process easier. This is a high quality Digital recording (DDD). In addition to helping the player become familiar with the music, it will also be a source of listening pleasure. The CD is almost 70 minutes in length.

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A High Quality Collection of Music From Around the World

There is over an hour of music in this book, gathered from many countries and beautifully arranged. If you have never played the Ojibway “Walking Song,” the ancient “Cantigas” collected by the Castilian King Alphonse the Wise, or the Peruvian “El Rio,” then there are plenty of reasons to get this book. There may also be tunes you already know. There is a great arrangement of “Scarborough Faire” included in this collection.Book $15.95 Book/CD $22.95

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