Music for Guitar
Including Scarborough Fair
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"World Music for Guitar contains 22 pieces
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.'"
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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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