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From Interpreter to ComposerSergio Assad | Writing 24 PreludesBryan Johanson | Arranging Pixinguinha Roland Dyens

Vol. 39 No. 3


Composing for Guitar

Guitarist/composer Kevin J. Cope at work.
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The Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America

GFA Board of Trustees Editorial Staff

Brian Head, Chair Matthew Hinsley Richard Long Editor-In-Chief: Kim Perlak |
Mary Akerman Douglas James Jeffrey McFadden Soundboard Art Director & Advertising Manager:
Michael Andriaccio Thomas Johnson Tony Morris Kim Kanoy |
William Bay William Kanengiser Jack Sanders
Sean Beavers Pamela Kimmel David Tanenbaum Associate Editors:
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GFA Executive Committee Richard Long
Martha Masters, President
Brian Head, Artistic Director Contributing Editors:
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Letter from the Editor
by Kim Perlak

As I write this letter, guitarists from all over the world are
headed home after an inspiring week at our GFA Convention in
Louisville. And, by the time you read this, all of us will be look-
ing ahead at new projectsand new musicfor the fall. No
matter your profession, there is something about the beginning of
the academic year that sparks our creativity as musicians.
With this in mind, there is no better time to feature composers.
For this issue, we invited composers to tell us about their creative
process in their own words. We are delighted that those included
in the following pages responded, and honored by their honesty
and candor. Sergio Assad invites us into his personal journey from Above: Kim Perlak, Soundboard Editior-In-Chief.

interpreter to composer. Roland Dyens takes us through his

arranging process. Bryan Johanson reveals the thought process and Editors note on the cover:
inspiration behind his 24 Preludes. Andrew York shares his com- In our new format, each issue of Soundboard explores a theme
positional philosophyand examples of its application. Stephen through the feature articles and other contributions. In the spirit
Goss offers his ideas on writing in an interview with Guy Traviss. of community, we ask our contributing authors to send us photos
In our regular New Music article series, Kevin Cope writes about that reflect this theme, and our art team selects the photo that best
composing for family members. Joseph Williams II takes us into the meets the theme. It has been our pleasure to communicate with our
process of programmatic writing as he explores the myths of his authors for this issue, and we look forward to more creative offerings
native New Mexico. for upcoming issues.
In step with this theme, articles in our regular series are also
creative in nature. In Performance Practice, Jeremy Grall presents Cover Photo Credit: Kevin J. Cope
Part II of his ornamentation article, inviting players to explore im-
provisation in a stylistic context. Rupert Boyd discusses the artistic
choices necessary in the arranging process, and gives us Part II of
his Granados arrangement. Jack Sanders discusses the importance of
composition as a learning tool in his essay for Pedagogy. In Commu-
nity Service and From the Professional Community, three guitarists
write about the projects they created in their communities. And our
Art Director, Kim Kanoy, compares composition for guitar with a
composition in fine art.
In upcoming issues, we will continue to feature composers. It
is our hope to welcome more and more new voices in guitar to our
forum here at Soundboard. We invite you to contribute your work
and your perspectives.

Note: Julian Grays Part II to his article, The Ten Laws of Learning,
will be published in an upcoming issue. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 3

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Vol. 39 No. 3, 2013

3 Letter from the Editor | by Kim Perlak


Composing for Guitar Pedagogy
8 From Interpreter to Composer | 60 Essays on Playing the Guitar: Caught Stealing |
by Sergio Assad by Jack Sanders
12 Arranging Pixinguinha, A Letter from
Roland Dyens | by Roland Dyens Community Service
16 Writing 24 Preludes for Guitar Solo | 61 The Guitar in South Central | by Scott Morris
by Bryan Johanson
22 Making New Music for Guitar, A Letter from From the Professional Community
Andrew York | by Andrew York 62 Starting the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival |
by David Feffer
29 Guitar Foundation of America Donor Acknowledgment 63 Starting All Strings Considered |
by Scott Wolf
Interview 64 Guitar Composition in Music and Fine Art:
30 Stephen Goss, Composer | by Guy Traviss Picassos Still Life with Guitar. | by Kim Kanoy

Performance Practice Recordings to Revisit

36 Arranging and Performing Early Music Part II: 66 Ida Presti: The Solo Recordings | by Candace Mowbray
Ornamentation, Alfabeto, and Basso Continuo |
by Jeremy Grall Gear Review
67 Onymyrrhe and Miros Nail Oil | by Christopher Mallett
43 Arrangement: Valses Poticos, Part II | by Rupert Boyd News & Reviews
70 Reverberations | by Connie Sheu
New Music 72 Publication & CD/DVD Reviews | by Uro Dojinovi,
50 Writing for Family: Selections from Suite No. 2 | Amy Hite, Al Kunze, Jim McCutcheon, and David Norton
by Kevin Cope
54 Hawikuh: A Story in Sound |
by Joseph V. Williams II Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 7

Composing for Guitar

From Interpreter to Composer

by Sergio Assad

One of the most intriguing things in my life as a musician has

been the dichotomy of interpreter/composer. To create a compo-
sition and to be able to play it in a concert performance are two
different aspects of the musical art. The interpreter is a carrier of
the composers ideas, and at the same time he realizes himself as an
artistic personality. Composers are creators of new works, and
normally need the mastery and artistry of an interpreter to make Above: Composer and Guitarist, Sergio Assad.
their pieces known. There are many out there who work as both
composers and interpreters, but most composers dont excel in their works, like their approach to form, motifs, elaboration of melodies
instruments technique and are unable to deliver their works at their and rhythms, development of ideas, and fragmentation. The result
best. It seems that one of these artistic sides has to give way in order is quite complex: my writing is polyphonically oriented, and the
to create room for the other to flourish. texture I seek is quite thick. Nevertheless, as a guitarist I keep an
Ive dedicated many years of my life to mastering my guitar eye out for the impossible and ensure that my final notation falls
playing, and formed a guitar duo with my brother, Odair, that has naturally under the fingers.
lasted nearly fifty yearsand keeps going! However, in my early Writing for guitar requires imagination because the instrument
years I remember trying to play songs on the guitar as I heard them cannot provide everything one needs to write advanced, complex
on the radio. I composed my first tune at age thirteen, and for a material. The fact that most of the bass line in a guitar piece is
couple of years I wrote with lots of enthusiasm. I imagined back played by a single finger (the thumb), makes complexity in bass line
then that I could indeed become a well-known songwriter! However, writing a real challenge. Keys also play an important role in the
playing the guitar with my brother was more important to me, and writing process, and this explains why we find so many pieces using
I postponed my dreams of being a composer for some years. I dedi- those that involve the natural open strings, E, A, D, G, B. Open
cated most of my time to playing and arranging music for our duo. strings help the shifting of the left hand and other guitar difficul-
In our work together, we covered a lot of repertoirefrom the ties. I try to use the open strings in my pieces as much as possible.
Renaissance to modern music. By playing different styles of music, I use effects and extended techniques very rarely, and use harmonic
you have a fair chance of understanding the fabric of composition. clusters with moderation. The rhythmic aspect of my work derives
Although I didnt have a formal training as a composer, by age thirty, from the intricate syncopation of Brazilian musicspecifically, the
I felt that had I accumulated enough knowledge through my playing 3+3+2 rhythmic pattern present in most Brazilian traditional styles.
to start writing music. At that point I had not composed since I For some time I was obsessed with this idea of exploring small
was a teenager, but I went back to it and wrote a few duets for my motifs, and used this device extensively in my early compositions,
brother and I to play in the early 1980s. I wanted, however, to try like Fantasia carioca and Three Greek Letters. Some examples of this
a solo piece. In 1986, I finally wrote my first guitar solo piece and exploration are also quite abundant in Aquarelle.
called it Aquarelle. To illustrate this concept in particular, Im going to give a short
The way I developed as a composer had a lot to do with my ex- panorama of my writingstarting with these three works, some of
perience with Brazilian popular music. I grew up playing traditional my first for solo guitar.
Brazilian music, like choros and other traditional forms. Brazilian Aquarelle was my first solo piece. The title is the French word for
harmony is quite complex, and the music I would compose later watercolor, a traditional painting style that uses pigments dissolved
in my life had a lot to do with this harmonic language. From the in water. The first time I saw a watercolor painting I was impressed
beginning of my training, I became very familiar with modulations by the number of techniques used to spread colors in different
to unrelated keys and their modes, as well as a certain language of textures to give the painted subject an ethereal look. Following in
improvisation. Brazilian melodies are very rich, and run from linear the idea of spreading pigments on a paper, I started building a motif
in shape to a high level of angularity. Mixing these elements with a of three noteslike three different pigments that form the basis of
more academic approach to composition helped me shape the way a palette. Based on this single motif I created multiple voicing layers
I write. I apply the tools Ive learned by observing other composers simulating the superposition of colors on an aquarelle.
8 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
The first movement, Divertimento, is based on the three-note
motif D-B-flat-C that will be fully explored throughout the piece
(see Figure 1).

Figure 5. Combination of the first and second motifs.

This is the opening bar for Section B. As one can see, the phrase
formed by the second motif is presented here in Figure 6:

Figure 1. The three-note motif introduced in Divertimento. Figure 6. Phrase formed by the second motif.

My piece Fantasia carioca, writen in 1994, explores a single

Variations on the same motif are used in different two contexts
phrase throughout. This opening phase will be submitted to different
in the piece: 1.) With 3+3+2 rhythmic pattern and a call/answer sorts of development, as you can see in the following examples.
technique, as in Figure 2. Seen here in Figure 7, the opening theme with two parts of the
phrase indicated, showing a change of direction in the second one:

Figure 7. Opening theme of Fantasia carioca.

Figure 2. First variation of the first motif. Four examples of development will follow:
1.) Canonic treatment with a perfect imitation on the first segment,
2.) With a more active bass line, as in Figure 3. and imitation at an interval of a fourth on the second one (Figure 8).

Figure 8. Canonic treatment.

2.) Expanded (Figure 9).

Figure 3. The second variation of the first motif.

And then a second motif is introduced, seen here in Figure 4.

Figure 9. Expanded treatment.

3.) Polyphonically (Figure 10).

Figure 4. The second motif of Divertimento.

This second motif will form the basis for the large second
section of the piece.
The second motif appears simultaneously with the first motif
Figure 10. Polyphonic variation.
until it grows into a section of a phrase. This part of the phrase is the
whole basis for Section B (see Figure 5). Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 9

From Interpreter to Composer (continued) The theme of Pi is presented in harmonics immediately
followed by the theme of Sigma (see Figure 15). In the 3/4 measure,
4.) Rhythmically (Figure 11). both themes appear simultaneously with a change in duration.

Figure 11. Rhythmic variation.

My piece Three Greek Letters offers a different use of

motifs. The piece was conceived with the fact that the letters Pi and
Sigma were the basis for the formation of the letter Psi in the Greek
alphabet. There are two small themes for both Pi and Sigma that are Figure 15. Pi and Sigma.
explored respectively as independent units. When they merge, they
form the motif for Psi, as you can see here in Figure 12: My writing has changed through time as I deliberately tried
to make my pieces more accessible. A good example of this is the
piece called Sandys Portrait, which I wrote last year. This piece was
a posthumous homage to Sandy Bolton, who was a wonderful
guitar supporter. He donated $3.2 million to the guitar department in
Figure 12. First theme used for Psi. Tucson, Arizona. That doesnt happen every day, and many students
will benefit from the scholarships provided from this gift.
Here, in Figure 13, the motif for Pi is reworked with inserted The piece is based on Sandys name. I wrote a motif for Sandy
notes and a completely different harmony and mood: Bolton by combining the notes of the musical alphabet with the
letters of the English alphabet. If youd like to try it in your writing,
this is the process: You match the seven notes of the musical alpha-
bet to the corresponding first seven letters of the English alphabet:
ABCDEFG = ABCDEFG. After that, you just move to the next
group of seven letters in the English alphabet, and match them with
the musical alphabet: HIJKLMN = ABCDEFG. Repeat the process
with the next set of seven letters, OPQRSTU, to find the third group
of seven notes. Finish by matching the last four letters, VXYZ, to the
first four notes, ABCD. When you have the set of notes matching
the name you want to use, you run the notes through the key system
to get the sharps or flats you need in order to build up a phrase that
makes some musical sense.
Figure 13. Development of the motif for Pi. The motifs derived from this process to write the name
Sandy Bolton are: E-A-G-D-C = SANDY, and B-A-E-F-A-G =
Here, in Figure 14, is the theme for Sigma, and here as they are BOLTON. Played naturally they dont sound nice to my ears, but
combined to form Psi. adding sharps to fit the home key of E-major helps to make some
sense of these particular groups of notes. The motifs become:
E-A-G-sharp-D-sharp-C-sharp and B-A-E-F-sharp-A-G-sharp. Here,
in Figure 16, is the resulting theme shown in the second movement
of the work, Passacaglia.

Figure 14. Sigma and Pi.

Figure 16. Theme for Passacaglia.

10 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

The piece is writen in three movements: Preludio, Passacaglia, Now that Ive turned sixty years old, Ive been writing more
and Toccata. For this piece, I also used the technique of theme com- than ever. It helps to keep the mind busy and provides lots of fun
bination in which both themesfrom the Preludio and the Passa- moments. Recently, I had fun writing a tremolo piece for Scott
cagliaare combined to form the theme for the Toccata. Here is Tenant that I called Scotts Barcarola, and a guitar duet for Bruce
the theme for the Preludio in Figure 17: Holzman to play with his brother, Adam, that I called The Holzman
Duet. I just finished a piece for two guitars and percussion ensemble
called Asphalt Jungle. It was commissioned by Andrew Zohn and
Paul Vaillancourt, and will be premiered next fall at Columbus State
University, Georgia. Currently, Im working on a set of Brazilian
dances commissioned by the French guitarist Thomas Viloteau.
In that balance between interpreter and composer in my artistic
life, it looks like my composer side is gonna win in the end!
Figure 17. Theme for Preludio.

And here they appear together in the Toccata as shown in Figure 18. Sergio Assad is an internationally acclaimed performer, composer, and
teacher. For the past twenty years, he has concentrated his efforts on
building a repertoire for guitar duo, extending the possibilities of the
two-guitar combination. He has completed more than three hundred
arrangements for different chamber music settings and eighty works
for guitar, many of which have become standards in the instruments
repertoire. Sergio Assad is currently on faculty at the San Francisco
Conservatory of Music.

Figure 18. Theme for Toccata. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 11

Composing for Guitar

Arranging Pixinguinha, A Letter from Roland Dyens

by Roland Dyens

Hi Everyone,

I was humbled to be invited to write about my music for such a memorable four-hour concert). Tom attended the concert with
prestigious magazine. Many thanks to Kim Perlak and her (Sound) Marta, his Brazilian wife, and alerted me that he intended to build a
board. Instead of choosing to comment on and analyze one of my steel string guitar for Odair Assad. For this, he suggested that I
own compositions, I decided to work with you on an arrangement I compose a special piece for him. But this was just a few months
made on Pixinguinhas most famous tune, Carinhoso. Pronounced before Tom passed away.
kar-in-iozo in Portuguese, it translates more or less to dear one, or Later that evening, Tom, Odair, and I were standing in the
sweetheart. street in front of the venue, the famous 92nd Street Y. As we said our
Pixinguinha (1898-1972) was a composer, pianist, flutist, and a good-byes, Tom was TomI mean, the very same enthusiastic guy I
saxophone player. He was a musical genius and one of the founders always met, always full of new projects. Maybe he looked tired, but
of Brazilian Popular Musicwhat Brazilians call MPB. In 1940, I didnt notice anything else on his face this day.
the renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski asked Heitor Villa- Ill always remember how shocked I was a few months
Lobos to select a few musicians for a series of recordings that would later when Fabio Zanonwho was at Toms home a couple of days
represent the best of Brazilian Popular Music. Among the first earliertold me the terrible news of his passing as we were in the
musicians Villa-Lobos contracted was a musician with dazzling back seat of a car in Monterrey, Mexico.
original melodiesPixinguinha. When Antonio Carlos Jobim was For all this, it seemed obvious to me to dedicate my arrange-
asked about the influence of Pixinguinha, he replied, He is the love ment of Carinhoso to this great guitar maker who is already part
of my lifea true genius. He is both a blessing and an inspiration of the History of Classical Guitar. Rest in peace, Tom.
for my life. On February 17, 1973, while attending the baptism of To me, arranging is much more than some transposition or
his grandson in Ipanema, Pixinguinha died at the age of seventy-five. transcription from one instrument to another. Arrangement is a true
The next day the newspapers ran the headline, THE HEAVENS arta noble one, even. When the arrangement is on a song or a jazz
CRY! His funeral was attended by a huge throng of grieving tune, things then get easier since you can do it mostly your way.
followers, estimated to be over two hundred thousand people. As I mean, theres no serious restriction except the observance of the
they followed his casket through the winding streets, they spon- original melody and harmony. But when its about an original piece
taneously began singing his famous composition, Carinhoso. for, lets say, piano that youre supposed to move to the guitar, then
My arrangement is dedicated to Thomas Humphrey. The first arranging becomes the Art of Sacrifice somehow. This means that
time I met Tom was in 2000, at the prestigious GFA Convention since its technically impossible to bring all the original notes of the
in San Antonio, Texas. He showed me his new Millennium guitar, piece from the piano to the guitar, were then limited to go straight
which was soon to become well known, and which has since inspired to the essentialto the essenceand then to select the cream of the
many luthiers. I remember he came to my hotel room with a couple piece to be arranged. Therefore, this second case process implies
of his beautiful instruments. At that time I was married to my many skills, but most important is a wide knowledge of harmony,
French guitar by Fanton dAndon and didnt intend to divorce her ... counterpoint, and what I call the Geography of the Guitar.
yet! We spent hours talking guitars. A great first contact between us! So lets go to this arrangement of Carinhoso. The introduc-
I met Tom again a few years later. It was at the Nrtingen tion for an arrangement should always open the piece in the best
Festival in Germany where he was invited to lead a masterclass on manner possible, like laying out the red carpet for the leading
guitar making. The applicants were going to build their own guitar melody to arrive. For this, I love to use an existing element of
under his guidancein seven days! He told me that he was thrilled the piece, which should be a characteristic element, most easy to
to be part of this new experience for him. recognize and remember or catchy somehow. This element has to
The last time I saw Tom was in January 2008, at the New York be short and, where possible, a bit far from the main theme (or A
Guitar Marathon in New York City. This event was co-organized Section) in order to forget it for a while and then have it surpris-
by our mutual friends the Assad brothers (I remember I had the ingly reappear later in the arrangement. This is exactly the way I
honor to be the only non-Brazilian musician to take part in this treated the Intro of Carinhoso. I incorporated the motivic material
12 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
from bar 25, which is an ascendant movement also used as a link The B Section starts right on the upbeat of measure 21.
between the B and C Sections (see Figure 1). We wont stay long in its key (F-sharp minor) since the C Section
what might be identified as the continuation of Bbegins right on
measure 26, immediately after the four-note section I used as the
Intro. (Remember?) This third section ends at the beginning of
measure 33 (see Figures 4 and 5).

Figure 1. Intro.

Then the main theme starts at the end of measure 5 (upbeat)

(see Figure 2). I always take great care in having the accompaniment Figure 4. Beginning of the B Section.
part played piano, or even pp, at least during the first exposition of
the themein order not to force the melody. This is an essential
point to me. The guitarist should be able to differentiate the melodic
territory from the harmonic one.

Figure 5. The C Section.

Figure 2. Main theme.
Something essential to know about writing an arrangement on
On the A Section repeat (from the fourth beat of measure 13), I either a song or a popular tune (jazz, tango, bossa nova, etc.) is the
took the opportunity to have the harmony a bit more sophisticated, absolute need to renew the way you expose its various parts when
therefore making it a little busier. Note also that the dynamics are repetitions occur. Replaying them all exactly the same way is to be
a little less shy than previously (see Figure 3). avoided whenever possible.
Now take a look at the way I re-exposed the main part of the
A Section in Carinhoso. Do you notice something? This time the
melody is played one octave lower than the first couple of times. This
means the harmonic part of the song (the accompaniment) should
be written above it and not below. But instead of keeping the usual
arpeggios here, I tried to make this accompaniment a little more
interesting (and fun) by imitating the sound of one of the leading
instruments in Brazilian Popular Music. And this instrument is the
famous high-pitched cavaquinho, a sort of small four-string guitar
Figure 3. A Section repeat. (see measures 36-39 in Figure 6, next page). Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 13

Arranging Pixinguinha, (continued) Later in the arrangement the B and C Sections are developed,
but in a more sophisticated way than when first exposed. The music,
as always, is getting busier at the end than at the beginningthis is
a classic in arranging technique (see Figure 10).

Figure 10. Setting of the themes later in the arrangement.

Note also that, unlike most popular songs or tunes, Carinho-

so does not have an A Section (a head) that is replayed for a last
Figure 6. Imitation of the cavaquinho. time at the end. As a matter of fact, this was the reason jazz players
didnt consider it as a regular jazz ballad, in Pixinguinhas day. And
Then the melody returns to its original octave (see Figure 7). thats why, after the last variation of C, the arrangement goes straight
to the Coda (see Figure 11).

Figure 7. Revisiting the melody.

The re-exposition of B Section begins at measure 44with

natural harmonics this time (see Figure 8).

Figure 11. Coda.

Figure 8. Re-exposition of the B Section.

Now easy to detect, the signature for this arrangement comes

back in this four-note ascending segment (see Figure 9).

Figure 9. Four-note signature. Right: Roland Dyens at work composing (with his daughter, Dafne Lia).

14 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Just like with the Intro, the Coda should be taken either from
the historic Coda (from the original) or from a characteristic
part of the song. For my arrangement, I selected the beginning
of the main melody (just three notes). Then I repeated it, both in
harmonics and in different pitches.
Although it is somewhat difficult to do a soundless lecture on
such a musical topic, I hope my comments and explanations on this
arrangement will be of some help for you, dear readers, and for the
benefit of your works to come.
It is my pleasure to be part of this experience.

All the best with your music.

Roland Dyens

*Carinhoso is one of eleven arrangements of Pixinguinha by Roland

Dyens, and is recorded on the CD Naquele Tempo. The CD (GSP1035)
and music book (GSP265) are available from Guitar Solo Publications:

Roland Dyens is a performer, composer, and teacher whose music has

become an integral part of the modern classical guitar repertoire. His com-
positions and arrangements are widely performed and highly acclaimed
throughout the world. Roland Dyens has been on the faculty of the French
National Conservatory of Music in Paris since 2000. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 15

Composing for Guitar

Writing 24 Preludes for Guitar Solo Right: Bryan Johanson.

by Bryan Johanson

In 2008, I began laying the foundation for writing a guitar

method. As I started to tackle the issue of how much to cover, one
of the many challenges that became apparent was that I would need
to learn how to compose short pieces. As a composer, I had spent
most of my professional life writing in large-scale forms. I had also
invested most of my compositional energies in writing works that these pairings may initially be difficult to discover, the careful
do not use the guitar. In order to succeed at my planned method, I listener will eventually find the commonalities, achieving what I
would need to master the miniature. hope will be a deeper level of musical and emotional engagement.
The short form is a unique compositional challenge. Where In composing music for guitar, I have tried to develop a
composing a symphony might be compared to writing a novel, com- language that is true to my own musical interests and
posing a miniature is more akin to writing a poem. Initially, I began upbringing. Like most American guitarists, I started playing on an
the prelude project as a composition exercise intended to instruct me electric guitar. In my youth I was attracted to guitarists like
on how to write short, concise works. The project rapidly evolved Wes Montgomery, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, and Jimi
into a cycle of twenty-four preludes. Many composers, includ- Hendrix. It wasnt until I heard Julian Bream performing
ing Chopin, Shostakovich, and Scriabin, have written twenty-four contemporary music that I found the classical guitar personally
preludes, usually basing their set on Bachs Well-Tempered Clavier compelling. As a composer, my principle influences have been Bach,
modelcomposing one in every major and minor key. However, for Scarlatti, Sibelius, and Shostakovich. These influences helped
me, composing a prelude in every key was not very appealing. guide the choices I made in developing my compositional style. In
There are several reasons for this: addition to the influence of individuals, it is also possible to detect
1.) My personal harmonic language tends to stray in and out of the influence of genres like blues, jazz, rock, and folk in my music.
keys, sometimes toward and away from tonality at the In the discussions and figures that follow, I will try to identify
same time. how these various sources express themselves, as well as how the
2.) The classical guitar itself does not fit all keys equally well. architecture of the cycle works.
3.) The reasons for writing in every major and minor key, though it
may have been challenging and essential to Bachs harmonic Part IPreludes 1-12
development, no longer exist. Nevertheless, the idea of Prelude 1: Allegro vivo. The opening prelude is cast in a perpetu-
composing twenty-four preludes grew on me, primarily because al motion frame centered in the key of E-minor. The music begins
the historical model proved successful at challenging composers using a rising melodic octave device, eventually settling into more
to dig deeply into the inventive possibilities of the short form. straightforward harmonic and melodic patterns.The pentatonic
nature of the music along with the irregular and changing meters
My set of 24 Preludes can be divided into two halves. In
suggests folk influences both eastern and western (see Figure 1).
Part I (Preludes 1-12), the pieces begin short and simple, slowly
working toward longer, more complex forms and increasing
harmonic diversity. In Part II (Preludes 13-24), the process is reversed
with the formal, harmonic and melodic content becoming more
simplified as the cycle works toward the concluding prelude. One
additional formal aspect is that each prelude in the first half has a
companion prelude in the second half. Though each pair is not
symmetrically placed, the pairs will become increasingly
obvious as the listener becomes more familiar with the work. The
binding agent between the pairs varies, creating pairs that behave
sometimes like mates, sometimes like siblings, sometimes like
cousins, sometimes like twins, and sometimes like enemies! Though Figure 1. Prelude 1 measures 1-15.
16 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
Prelude 2: Presto spiccato. This prelude features a simple ciaconna followed by a cadenza (Liberamente). All of this precedes the
pattern, heard in the first measures. The energetic spiccato material central Allegro energico, which is a quasi-salsa section, followed by an
indicated in the title slowly gives way to a soft, lyrical conclusion. arpeggio transition (Presto non molto), which leads back to a short
cadenza, a return to varied salsa and arpeggio transition sections, one
Prelude 3: Allegro moderato. One of the central challenges in this
last mini-cadenza, and finally closing with a variation of the opening
cycle was to find various ways to present the lyrical side of the
folas material. A sectional diagram would read as follows: A-B-C-D-
guitar. Because the fundamental sound of each note involves
immediate decay, writing in a style that features sustained
lyrical playing does not come easily or naturally to the instru- Prelude 9: Andantino. As an antidote to the short attention span
ment. This prelude, cast in C minor, is the first of several preludes high-jinx of the previous prelude, this one is clear in design and fairly
in this cycle designed to explore the various ways in which the transparent in harmonic content. There should be no impediment
guitar has learned to naturally express its melodic and lyrical charms. to your enjoyment of this ethnic-inflected, dance-like prelude (see
Figure 3).
Prelude 4: Animato. This prelude features an asymmetrical rhythmic
figure that is intended to create some irregular energy. Though set in
B minor, this prelude is the first in the cycle to assert some unpre-
dictable chromatically inflected melodic passages. The effect should
seem jazzy, not jarring.

Prelude 5: Tempo di valse lento. Tempo markings often can give a

fairly accurate indication of what kind of music is contained with-
in. This prelude, like several in the cycle, delivers exactly what the Figure 3. Prelude 9 measures 1-10.
tempo suggests. This is a short valse in A-major.
Prelude 10: Adagio cantabile. This prelude has a history that pre-
Prelude 6: Allegro. Another musical category I wanted to explore cedes the writing of this cycle. In 2003, the wonderful luthier Jeffrey
in this set of preludes was the etude. Most etudes are designed to Elliott made me a new guitar. As he was putting it together, he asked
conquer a particular technical skill. Often, on the path to if I would like to put a message in the bottle. Prior to the making of
conquering the particular skill, they also kill whatever musical the instrument, Jeff repaired a guitar by Antonio Torres. This was not
material comes their way. The result is technically engaging, but often just any old Torres guitarthis was the favored guitar of Francisco
musically uninteresting. I found that casting preludes founded on Trrega. When Jeff began to repair it, he noticed that on the inside
etude-type features was a more musically satisfying way to approach of the instrument there was some music paper that had been used to
the problem. This prelude is the first of this type that can be found in patch thin spots in the wood. What was most interesting to him was
this cycle. The tonal language is predominantly atonal, though not that there was music written on the paper. He called me and asked
by much (see Figure 2). if I could identify if it was music written by Trrega. I rushed over
and could tell immediately that Trrega did not write it. But, on my
way over I fantasized: What if we found an undiscovered Trrega
piece on the inside? How cool would that be? At the time I said to
Jeff that it would be great to compose a piece to put on the inside of
my new guitar. When Jeff called it was to let me know that the time
to paste the piece inside the instrument had come. He had secured
some parchment that was from the nineteenth century and said if I
wanted to write a piece and place it on the inside of the instrument
Figure 2. Prelude 6 measures 1-8.
I needed to do it quicklyby the end of the day. I wrote the piece,
Prelude 7: Sostenuto. This prelude is the first of the set that uses a giving it the title Hidden Prelude, and before it was sealed inside
fully chromatic/atonal language. Not to worry, though: this prelude I made one Xerox copy. I wanted to play the work once after it had
does not blast atonality in your face. Rather, it explores the more been sealed away. Eventually, I played the work in concert, and at
lyrical side of the atonal language by focusing on melody and inflec- the conclusion I shredded the one existing copy of the score that
tion, rather than brittle textures or strident harmony. was sealed inside my instrument! Everyone there took a strip of the
score and that was that. But, the memory of the work haunted me.
Prelude 8: AdagioLiberamenteAllegro energicoPresto non molto I liked the piece and wanted to play it again. However, my resolve
LiberamenteAllegro energicoPresto non moltoLiberamenteAdagio. was firmthis piece belonged to the guts of my instrument. When
What we have here is a kind of musical schizophrenic cocktail. The I recorded my I Dreamed About You Last Night CD, I included an
work opens with a paraphrase of La Fola de Espaa (Adagio), improvisation titled Pentamento. It is my improvised memory of Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 17
Writing 24 Preludes for Guitar Solo (continued)
what I could recall about that Hidden Prelude. I have no idea how
close or far away the improvisation was to what is sealed inside my
guitar. Prelude 10 is my transcription of the work as I recorded it on
that CD (see Figure 4).

Figure 6. Prelude 14 measures 1-16.

Prelude 15: Largo maestoso. This prelude explores lyrical material

Figure 4. Prelude 10 measures 1-2. that emerges from an extremely slow and harmonically dissonant
foundation. It clearly displays my affection for slow, broad tempos.
Prelude 11: Vivace. This prelude falls into the prelude/etude hybrid
The metronome marking is not the slowest I have used, but it comes
category. It is primarily about scales, though not exclusively. The in-
pretty close (see Figure 7).
tent of this movement is to create heat. This prelude also illustrates
the importance of the musical concept of toccata. For me, toccata
is not so much a technique but a way to approach the instrument.
There are times in my music when I want the performers to have the
opportunity to tear into a passage that rips across, over or through
Figure 7. Prelude 15 first line.
the instrument. These toccata passages are there to remind the per-
former and listener of the awesome power of instrumental mastery Prelude 16: Allegro azzurro e molto fresco. An example of the in-
(see Figure 5). fluence of jazz on my compositional process can be found in this
prelude. The work features the guitar in specialized jazz continuo
role. The central musical argument fuses a walking bass pattern with
syncopated harmonic and melodic inserts (see Figure 8).

Figure 5. Prelude 11 measure 69.

Prelude 12: CalmatoVivo, man non troppo. As the tempo indicates,

the final prelude in the first half is written in two distinct halves. The Figure 8. Prelude 16 measures 1-6.
first part is a calm, slowly expressive canon. The second half is an
irregular arpeggio pattern that works its way down the fingerboard Prelude 17: Allegro comodo. Of all the connections I feel with
only to rise up and come down again. This prelude concludes with a composers past and present, my affinity with Bach has been the
rapid, descending chromatic riff intended to not only close the work, most sustained and, for me, the most profound. I feel his watchful
but also conclusively cap off the first half of the cycle. influence over my music in many ways. In this prelude, I use the
contrapuntal technique of crab canon, and though there are a few
Part IIPreludes 13-24 moments where the strictness of form is relaxed, the basic technique
Prelude 13: Gentile. This lyrical prelude is in the form of a Sicilian. is mirror writing as practiced by Bach (see Figure 9).
The material, mostly in G minor, features a gently swaying melody
in compound duple meter.

Prelude 14: Allegretto agitato, sempre ritmico. While the previous

prelude could be described as gently rocking, this one is just rocking.
The single focus of this prelude is a syncopated motif that gets tossed
around through a few keys that contrast with a secondary motif that
gets tossed around the fingerboard (see Figure 6). Figure 9. Prelude 17 measures 1-9.

18 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Prelude 18: Allegretto legato. This simple prelude, in ternary form, It was my intent to infill with some emotional content, removing
features a figure that juggles a syncopated sustained melody, a shift- the cynical pop sentiment found in the original. Though it makes
ing natural harmonic ostinato, and an open string. In its original no difference to the player whether you know which song is being
version, the syncopated sustained melody was assigned to the second paraphrased, it is my hope you enjoy the added puzzle of trying to
string. As it descended, the left hand had to work harder and harder hear for yourself what song I quoted (see Figure 11)!
to maintain the legato quality. There are, however, alternate ways to
finger the melody to create a more graceful legato quality. Neverthe-
less, the original concept is the way we have published the work.
Another added bonus to this more athletic fingering is that it is quite
fun to watch the progress of the increasing distances. The key to
the success of my preferred fingering is to play all the harmonics
naturally, never using an artificial substitution (see Figure 10).
Figure 11. Prelude 19 measures 1-7.

Prelude 20: Allegretto giocoso. After purging some of my musical

ghosts, I felt the cycle needed a little fingerboard romp. This is one of
the etude-esque preludes designed to have some fun with the fingers.

Prelude 21: Cantabile. This expressive prelude features the interplay

of two lyrical chunks of material, which alternate between flat keys
and sharp keys. This is the last of the purely lyrical preludes. The use
of flat keys brings out a particular sonority that is often neglected
on the guitar. The timbre between the two themes is highlighted by
Figure 10. Prelude 18 measures 1-12. these tonal shifts.

Prelude 19: Lento sostenuto. This prelude is an attempt at paraphras- Prelude 22: Allegro vivo. This is the last of the hybrid prelude/etude
ing a pop song from my youth. As a child I listened to the radio type. This prelude features a playful four-note motive that has, at its
constantly. At that time, commercial radio stations played pop, easy core, two sets of minor second intervals that mirror each other. Like
listening, or country and western. If you listened to pop radio, you the other prelude/etudes, this music finds itself moving around the
heard the same dozen or so songs over and over, week after week. fingerboard, looking for athletic ways to vary the main motive (see
Songs would come and go, sometimes enjoying a rapid rise and a Figure 12).
quick decline and sometimes just staying somewhere in the middle.
There would be songs that would rise to the top and stay there, week
after week. There would also be songs that defied musical logic
songs that would make it on the charts because of their bizarre or
quirky nature. Listening to pop radio in my youth was like listen-
ing to the craziest mix-up of joke-songs, love ballads, songs with a
good beat, the occasional R&B anomaly, and pop songs that are Figure 12. Prelude 22 measures 1-8.
the equivalent of spun sugarsweet confections with no nutritional
value whatsoever. The song I quote here was at the top of the pop Prelude 23: Allegretto maestoso. The penultimate prelude explores
charts for weeks and weeks. I never liked it, and eventually, over the various ways of inventing itself through an examination of its own
weeks, came to dislike it intensely. Even today if I chance to hear it I first bar of music (see Figure 13).
still dislike it intensely. It has all the things a pop song should have,
but without any emotional content or charm. This was a pop song
that was written to be a pop song. It was full of pop platitudes, pro-
duction glitz and glitter, and oozing with commercial aspirations. It
also had complete disdain for the listener. It provided fake sentiment
in exchange for cash. This was the commercial music machine at its
worst. But, sometimes, you have to embrace your past and make
peace with the ghosts of cruddy songs that somehow live forever in
the folds of your brain. I hope the song, now totally deconstructed
and transformed into a lyrical prelude, gives the listener pleasure.
Figure 13. Prelude 23 measure 1-9. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 19
Writing 24 Preludes for Guitar Solo (continued) 10 & 19 Both slow and lyrical with shared tonal/modal oscillation.
They both have extensive background stories that create a
Prelude 24: Largo sostenuto, molto cantabile. As any extended cycle of secondary narrative not present in other pairings.
music comes to a conclusion, the question a composer must face is: 11 & 14 Hard rocking in A minor.
How will it end? Fortunately for me, the musical approach used 1 & 17 Both feature canons as their principle constructional feature.
in this final prelude was my goal from the beginning. As the title
suggests, this is slow, sustained music. At the conclusion of most Although it is my wish that the work be performed in its
journeys, you arrive at your home. Home, for me, is where I feel entirety, it is also my understanding that this will rarely be the case.
most relaxed and unguarded. It is where I am happiest. As I brought Many of the preludes will stand by themselves as individual concert
this cycle to a conclusion, the sentiment I felt most strongly was offerings. Performers may also choose to create subsets. The nature
gratitude. I was thankful for the journey and all that I had learned, of these selected subsets will depend on the taste of the individual
discovered and invented, and I was glad to be home. performer.

As mentioned earlier, there is a puzzle component to the cycle, The pieces discussed here are published by Les Productions DOz,
namely the heretofore-mentioned prelude pairs. Since the intent of and are available at: All musical examples were
this article is to give guitarists an inside look at my thought process, used by permission of the publisher. They were recorded by Michael
it seems like a good place to let the reader know what those pairs are Partington on his CD, Music of Bryan Johanson, Rosewood Recordings
and why I consider them linked. In the list below I have grouped the CD-1012.
pairs according to my thinking. If it is an aspect that you would like
to discover yourself, please read no further (spoiler alert!). Please keep Bryan Johanson is an active concert guitarist, composer, and author.
in mind that these are not pairings that require any special work to He has taught at Portland State University since 1978, and currently
connect. Their relationship will be revealed over time to the attentive serves there as Professor and Director of the School of Music. His com-
listener. These connections are a private substructure placed there for positions have been published by Les Productions DOZ, Columbia Music
my own sense of constructional unification and completeness. Company, Edizioni Musicali Berben, Frederick Harris Music Publishers,
Guitar Solo Publications, Thomas House Publication, Earthsongs Music
1 & 18 Both are in the same key/mode in rounded binary form Publishers, and Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
with some shared motifs. Though they share the same
key/mode, their conclusions form a tonic/subdominant
2 & 24 Both are variations over a ground bass. Again, tonic/
subdominant cadence relationship.
3 & 21 Lyrical, slow and in minor keys. Both use harmonic
progressions that are common in popular music.
4 & 20 This is the odd pair out. They only have in common their
opposite natures and their tonic/subdominant tonal
relationship. However, 20 has shared features with 22 and
4 has shared features with 12. Their connection as a pair is
opaque, but their connection to the overall architecture
and internal connection is absolute. It felt to me, from the
beginning of the cycle, that in order to create a perfectly
balanced structure there needed to be a little imperfection
worked in. For me that meant that at least one pair had to
break the pattern of explicit matching. This is that pair.
5 & 13 Shared valse/Sicilian style of expression.
6 & 22 Motivic connections with similar melodic content.
7 & 15 Atonal and lyrical. Both very sustained and slow.
8 & 16 Both are jazzy. Prelude 8 includes a paraphrase of a
common salsa riff, while 16 paraphrases a common
walking bass vamp.
9 & 23 Both in D minor and simple folk-style content.

20 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Composing for Guitar

Making New Music for Guitar, A Letter from Andrew York

by Andrew York
Dear Guitarists, 10,000 acrossand thats it. Now, if every seventeenth iPhone was
pulsing red, we introduce a hint of pattern complexity. Think about
We are all players, right? We know the guitar. So why should it it. You look at a brick wall that is one hundred years old. It looks
be difficult to write music for it? kind of nice. Probably because the bricks are irregular in shape a bit,
Anybody who has tried knows. It aint easy to make good and their coloring varies, the edges have worn to varying degrees
music. In my opinion, it is far easier to become a virtuoso guitarist all these things add deeper and deeper components of pattern rich-
than an excellent composer. Proof is in the pudding; our commun- ness. Hence it looks more pleasing to us than a brand-spanking new
ity is awash in technical chopsters, but not in excellent composers. brick wall, most likely.
Interesting. Why is this? Music is the same. Patterns within music can reside in the
I dont know. But I have some ideas. The first is that I think melodic contour, intervallic relations both vertical and linear,
many guitarists are asking the wrong question. I dont think it is phrases, form, syntax, rhythmic structure, harmonic relationships,
the best approach to ask, How do I compose for the guitar? There counterpoint, timbrethe list of possibilities is endless.
are immediate limitations implied in the question. Better would be, This is a problem with the current directions in popular music.
How can I write compelling, authentic, personal music that can (He says gruffly like every grey-beard throughout time criticizing the
be played on the guitar? This is a very different question, with very music of the current generation!) But I can explain why: the rich-
different suppositions up front. Because, first, we want to write ness of the patterns is being seriously eroded. When someone sings
music. And music is a big, abstract, ineffable part of being human. through auto-tune, there can be no extra patterns from using subtle
Music is unique among the art formsit is fully abstract and points pitch variations as another level of order. Just listen to Bob Marley.
to nothing in the real world, unlike paintings, movies, and stories. He often sang a bit sharp, and it added amazing tension and power.
It is a mystery, a language understood by our non-verbal emotional If he had sung through auto-tune it would have lobotomized the
selves. Music can also be fun, danceable, humorous, lightbut it is music. The same is true of direct repetition of a phrase by sampling.
wise to have respect for its highest purpose too. Why limit musics It goes nowhere, as there is no variation or evolution, unless it is care-
power right from the start? fully textured in, which it usually isnt: brand new bricks in a row.
So, after decades of writing and thinking about all this, Ive I worked with this concept of patterns in the piece I wrote as
come to see music as orderspecifically, a pattern-rich order. We the set piece for the 2012 GFA Competition, Just How Funky Are
think something is beautiful because we consciously recognize You. By measure 17, I have established an E Locrian mode as the
rich patterns within its make-up, even as our subconscious mind main harmonic foundation (F harmonic minor with E as the tonal
perceives a more complex set of hierarchical and multi-faceted center). The 5/8 pattern and its contour will inform much of what
patterns. So, to be good, music has to be pattern-rich on two levels. follows. Counterpoint is gradually introduced until measure 24
A couple of examples will suffice. Bear with me; I dont speak (or begins a descending scale of the mode on top of a transforming
write) in sound bytes. No complex or worthy idea can be expressed ostinato below. Measure 33 culminates with a related statement from
twitter-style. the opening theme of the piece (not shown in this example). Now,
Okay, take a tree. We look at it, and it is pleasing. Why? I notice that this four-note pattern at measure 33 is echoed in the next
think because it is a frame of an algorithmic fractal process frozen in section. Specifically, in the top line of measures 37-39, we see the
time. In other words, the form of a tree is an unfolding process. Its notes F-E, G-E, A-flat-E, which are obviously derived from measure
form expresses deep order, evolved over eons, that gives it structural 33 (which, in turn, comes from the opening theme). I like intercon-
integrity and viability over time. We sense all this in a moment, and nections like this, and they are everywhere in this piece. Now look
perceive the richness of its patterns, extending both into the future at the bottom voice in measures 37-40. Here we have two notes that
and into the past, as beauty. move in contrary motionG-A-flat, F-B-flat, E-C, F-B-flat. Ive ex-
So if we perceive patterns as beautiful, why cant we just stack pressed this pattern in different variations in measures 41-43, 44-52,
one million iPhones in a grid, and see that as beautiful? Because it and 54-57. There are more variations on this fragment throughout
is not a rich pattern. It is simplistic, easily perceived and explained, the piece, but not shown in this excerpt. The idea of sketching a frag-
both in words and equationsstack them one hundred high and ment with lots of variations will be discussed further (see Figure 1).

22 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Example A, Just How Funky

Figure 1. (Example A) Just How Funky, measures 16-57, inclusive. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 23
Making New Music for Guitar, (continued)
Classical Guitar So, now the guitar. To compose on it, you have to know it.

Studies at Juilliard
What did Charlie Parker say about improvising? First you learn your
horn. Then you forget all that s*** and play. That is profound
philosophy condensed into two succinct maxims. The same thing
Sharon Isbin can be said for composing. The better you know the fingerboard,
Department Chair the better off you are. Unfortunately, to really learn the fingerboard
conceptually is a very different process from practicing repertoire.
Typically, a jazz player will know the fingerboard far better than a
classical player. So, real effort must be made to understand harmony
on the fingerboard. Without functional harmonic knowledge of the
neck, writing well for the instrument is really hard. So if you want
to write, or already do compose and want to be better at it for the
guitar, spend some real time learning chords and inversions up and
down and across the neck. This is a huge subject, and worthy of a
separate discussion. For a start, look at the first volume of my book
series Jazz for Classical Cats published by Alfred Musicit explores
understanding and using harmony on the fretboard. Though in a
jazz style, it opens the process of acquiring real fingerboard knowl-
In Figure 2, also taken from Just How Funky Are You, Ive
added part of an agile section that has more traditional harmony,
and Ive begun to analyze it harmonically in jazz style. You may wish
to continue the harmonic analysis, and notice how at the end of the
excerpt the original mode of E Locrian (from F harmonic minor) is
again re-introduced as the harmonic focus (see Figure 2).

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24 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Example B, Just How Funky

Figure 2. (Example B) Just How Funky, measures 68-84, inclusive. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 25
Making New Music for Guitar, (continued) wholes. None of this is to diminish the intellect or conscious minds
importance. We must view the intellect as an invaluable tool in
The world is a dream. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, life, and also an essential ally in composing. We will let it help us
and a good portion of that dreaminga world without limits, rules compose, but we will not let it try to run the show. If you succeed in
or boundaries. The vast majority of our personality is unconscious, this, you have found a recipe for music with the soul-stirring rich-
and most of our processing, emotional and otherwise, takes place at ness of pattern that only the non-verbal, non-linear part of you can
levels far below and far richer than our conscious, intellectual minds. bring to the table.
I say this because you have to enlist the larger parts of your person- But how are we supposed to begin writing this way? I think the
ality if you want to write good music. Think about thiswhen an first thing is the way we approach our musical ideas. When cast-
emotion surges up within you, it doesnt originate in your intellect. ing about for thematic inspiration, it is best to look for ideas that
Far from it, indeed. In fact, it threatens to engulf your intellect with you find fascinating, stirring, exciting. The kind of little melodic or
forces far out of its domain. Now, the intellect believes it is control. harmonic fragment that just sounds so cool that it delights you, and
But in truth, the intellect is a thin veneer of consciousness overlay- you cant wait to share it. Beware of musical ideas that you have to
ing an ocean of profound depth, currents, and mystery. If you want talk yourself into: if you have to convince yourself verbally of the
to make profound art, let it arise from the deeps. If your efforts at ideas worth, that is often a bad signthe intellect is trying to talk
creation are centered only in the intellect, the results will be disap- you into something. But if your responses to the musical idea are
pointing. Art derived from strictly intellectual thought rarely moves feelings of mystery, deep interest, joy, introspection, then this shows
anyone, as it doesnt contain evidence of our emotional depth and a deeper emotional connection and a more powerful potential for
humanity. See, the problem is many folks are trapped in their intel- producing compelling art. To me, when an idea is really interesting,
lects and believe that that is all there is to their being. Thus they will it gives me the feeling of a doorway into another realm. This feeling
gladly accept and defend the output of others that is created from this cant be verbalized. Well, it can, but then we are shifting our artistic
veneer of the mind, as something they can relate to. All truly creative focus into poetry or story writing. So, while in the abstract musical
artists are immediately at odds with the status quo. Most fields exist domain, beware of thinking too much. Feel it first, and then begin.
to protect and propagate the established views. This of course is the We invite the thinking mind into play. When we have a good
antithesis of creativity. It is also human nature, and the guitar world is theme that we find intriguing, now we ask the intellect to help. How
no exception. So there is an innate tension between creating art, and can we sketch it? Where can it go? Could you employ augmentation,
any structure that purports to represent that very art form. diminution, reharmonization, fragmentation, add counterpoint,
The reason I am telling you this isnt to disparage the state of or put the melody in the bass? These ideas make the intellect very
affairs. The world was always this way, and it always will be. But if happy, because they require thinking and analysis. So we begin to
you want to create, you have to listen to your own personal passions sketch and develop, often going far afield into styles or techniques
and interests, and largely ignore the opinions of others about your that we wont even use (because this helps keep us from building a
work. No one can truly judge the expressions of others, as art is box around our creativity).
an intensely personal expression of the self. But this means that the Now, we dont let our thinking selves decide what is good, how-
onus is on the artist to learn this craft in great depth to allow unfet- ever. What I do is a simple comfort test. If I play a phrase, or just
tered and authentic expression through his or her art. And of course hear it in my mind, I watch to see if I am comfortable with it. If any-
there will be times when advice from truly wise ones will come to thing about it bothers me, then it is not right, and I begin to sketch
you, which you should heed. But for the most part, criticism from again. However, I dont need to analyze it in words. That doesnt
others is not a helpful or accurate gauge of your work. A more take me anywhere I want to go with the music. It either feels right
reliable indicator of your music is this: If your music is responded to or it doesnt. If it doesnt, begin to change it. It if does feel right, it
with lots of words and dry analysis, positive or negative, then you are is probably fine. The same approach will take you up to the finished
probably not writing from the deep water. However, if the response piece. If you can play or think through the entire piece, and nothing
to your music is authentically emotional, as in people expressing feels wrong, then it might be done. If you feel, The ending of the
how it is there for them in moments of transition, how it enhanced third phrase, something isnt satisfying , that is a clear indica-
their joy or helped them through their pain, how it made them want tor that you must work and sketch some more. And this feeling of
to learn guitar, how it changed or informed their livesthen I salute musical satisfaction will work at any hierarchical level, from needing
you. You are most likely on the path of an artist, and you are intro- to change a few notes in the contour of a phrase, to increasing the
ducing richness into the world. contrapuntal texture of an entire section to make the energy flow
After their journey within, all mystics come back with the same right. By trusting the deeper parts of our minds, we often make
insight: The world is one. This is a concept that frustrates the in- much better musical decisions.
tellect, because it is out of reach of linear thinking, and despite the In the following example I try to show how I developed three
left-brains breathtaking self-confidence, it cannot think in gestalt thematic fragments from my piece Mechanism. Most of the vari-

26 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

ations come from the sketching process I described earlier, going by In the last example from Mechanism, this rock and roll state-
feel, but also employing my thinking mind as assistant. Measures ment is derived on the bottom from Figure 3, and on the top from
1-6 show the first theme. The rhythmic structure is set up and the Figure 4 in diminution (see Figure 6).
scalar polytonal theme introduced on top. The strong rhythm will
Example F, Mechanism
be the structural bones for the entire piece. Also, I mentioned that
sketching ideas should be an unlimited process. In this case, my far-
ranging sketches of this rhythmic motif spun off into two separate, but
related pieces, Mechanism and also Just How Funky (see Figure 3).
Example C, Mechanism

Figure 6. (Example F) Mechanism, measures 75-78.

These examples illustrate the rudiments of sketching an idea

and taking it in different directions. The more sketching you do
on a theme, the better. In the final piece you may only use a small
percentage of what you sketch. But it stretches your creativity and
composing chops to push your sketching beyond boundaries, and
Figure 3. (Example C) Mechanism, measures 1-6, inclusive. helps you avoid formulaic writing. And like these two pieces, you
The next thematic fragment, related to the first, is measures 29-32 (see might find the same thematic material to be rich enough to create
Figure 4). more than one piece.
I hope you enjoy each frame of the unfolding process.
Example D, Mechanism
Subconsciously yours,
Andrew York

Figure 4. (Example D) Mechanism, measures 29-32, inclusive.

Now lets take a look at how these themes are altered during
a later development section. Notice how measures 49-50 are
derived from Figure 4, and measures 51-52 come from the first
theme, Figure 3 (see Figure 5).
Example E, Mechanism

Andrew York is an internationally recognized guitarist and composer.

His writing crosses over stylistic boundaries, blending styles of eras past
with modern musical directions, creating music that is personal, multi-
leveled, and accessible. His works are available at:

Figure 5. (Example E) Mechanism, measures 49-52, inclusive. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 27
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Stephen Goss, Composer

by Guy Traviss
Stephen Goss music receives hundreds of performances world-
wide each year and has been recorded on over fifty CDs by more
than a dozen record labels, including: EMI, Decca, Telarc, Virgin
Classics, NAXOS, and Deutsche Grammophon.
Steve has built up several long-term collaborative working rela-
tionships with a wide variety of musicians, including: John Williams,
David Russell, Xuefei Yang, Nicola Benedetti, Milo Karadagli,
Thomas Carroll, Jonathan Leathwood, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Steve is currently composer-in-residence for Londons Orpheus
Sinfonia, which premiered his Triple Concerto (2013) for saxophone,
cello, piano, and orchestra in July. Steve is now Professor of Music
and Head of Composition at the University of Surrey, U.K., and a
Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
All musical examples in this interview were reprinted by kind
permission of Cadenza Music. For further details please visit: and Above: Stephen Goss, composer.
GT: Half of your works involve the guitar. Is being a guitarist an advantage
when writing for the instrument? Recently, I have been looking for ways to unlock the poten-
SG: Its a double-edged sword. If youre an outsider wanting to tial of the instruments resonance. In an attempt to get beyond
write for guitar, its a steep learning curve. Its not like learning how campanella effects or held chord shapes, its been more about the
to write for saxophone, for arguments sake. With a wind instru- color and precise starting and finishing points of every sound and
ment, you learn the range and fingering charts, the qualities of the the consequent building up of subtle and intricate compound
different registers, whats comfortable and whats not comfort- texturesan emulation of the pianos sostenuto pedal, if you like.
able, how certain articulations and effects are executed, what the Other composers like Roland Dyens and Gilbert Biberian are also
balance issues are, and off you go. With guitar, there is a lot more becoming very much more precise over the exact duration of any one
tacit knowledge to unpick. Very few non-guitarist composers note in a multi-layered musical texture.
have really understood the idiom well. There are exceptions, like GT: How long have you been particularly interested in aspects of resonance on
Britten and Takemitsu for example, but significant collaborative the guitar?
input from a guitarist is absolutely crucial for most non-guitarist SG: This preoccupation dates back to Oxen of the Sun
composers. Performers like David Starobin, David Tanenbaum, and (Cadenza 2006), which was commissioned by Jonathan Leath-
ChromaDuo work very closely with composers in this way. Many wood to be played on two guitars simultaneouslyone six-string
composers fall into the trap of thinking of the guitar as first and one ten-string (see Figure 1). Here, textures are built across
and foremost a harmonic instrument. I think of the guitar as a the two instruments through a number of new techniques that
melody instrument, more a violin or a cello with extra possibilities we developed together for the piece (see Figure 2). Next came
of resonance, than as a piano with debilitating limitations. three solo pieces that explored resonance. El llanto de los sueos
If youre a composer and a guitarist, then you tend to know (Telarc 2009), a collaboration with David Russell, developed
the dark secrets of the instrument, but there is a danger that you elements of resonance in Flamenco and Spanish folk
depend too much on familiar formulas and pre-conceived ideas of guitar writing as well as in the Spanish-influenced piano works
the instruments boundaries. In a similar way to Stephen Dodgson, of Debussy and Ravel. (The first movement, Cantiga, appears
I like to think of music as something imagined rather than found. on page 33.) With Xuefei Yang in The Chinese Garden (EMI
Im always trying to escape default responses to musical stimulithe Classics 2008), we looked at resonance in various Chinese and
war against clich, as Martin Amis put it. I think composers have to Japanese forms of traditional music. In Sonata (Rosewood 2009),
keep finding new and interesting ways of writing for the guitar in the Michael Partington and I looked at ways of simulating the effect
light of an already extensive repertoire. of the pianos sostenuto and una corda pedals in guitar writing. I
30 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
have now written many other works that explore resonance further. double bassfor the City of London Festival, he started by asking
Several of these pieces feature guitar in a chamber music setting for something that celebrated the open spaces of London, even re-
where the sound of the guitars resonance is colored and partly questing that particular places be portrayed. He also suggested the
masked by other instruments in the ensemble. Both my guitar con- instrumental line-up. The collaborative side then picked up again
certos are designed to be played with amplification so that subtle once the score was drafted with details of fingering, phrasing, and
resonant textures can be heard in an orchestral context in a big hall. articulation. Others like me to tailor the music to their playing style.
When Graham Roberts commissioned the Guitar Concerto (2012),
he specifically asked for something that would make the most of his
phenomenal range of strumming techniques. I remember one day
we met and recorded a whole load of them for possible inclusion.
GT: There is a common perception that composers have an ideal version of a
piece in mind and that often the collaborative process dilutes and muddies the
purity of the composers conception. The recent urtext editions of the Segovia
repertoire are testament to this.
SG: I would argue that true collaboration works towards an
original version rather than away from one. As Jonathan Leath-
wood has said, many of the best collaborative performers are
composeurs manqus. It may well be that any score is not only a poor
translation of a composers ideas, but also something incomplete.
Figure 1. Jonathan Leathwood performs Oxen of the Sun.
The composers initial text may not take the form of an imaginary
performance, but something slightly more abstract: something that
only comes to life in performance. In that case the performer/collab-
orator has the job not only of interpreting, but also of completing
the composition. The Segovia-Ponce letters make fascinating read-
ing on this topic.
GT: When your music is so closely linked with specific performers, what happens
when it is later played by other people? Many of your pieces, like the Welsh
Folksongs or The Raw and the Cooked, have been recorded several times by
different performers.
SG: Thats a very good question. When Im working on a piece, I
never think about possible future performances. Its impossible to
predict what might happen after the initial run of concerts, publi-
cation, and recording, so I focus on the circumstances surrounding
the commission. Who is the piece for? Who is playing it? Where
are they playing it? What else is in the program? These questions
really help to crystalize the piece in my mind and give it a context.
And the answers to them help make my pieces different from one
Figure 2. Excerpt from Oxen of the Sun.
another. They make each piece bespoke. I dont think about produc-
GT: It sounds like your work is highly collaborative. ing a body of work, I only think about the particular job in hand. I
SG: Collaboration is a very important part of my compositional think the idea of writing for posterity is a hangover from the nine-
process. Having someone to bounce ideas off feeds my music. I teenth century. Ill gladly admit Im a pragmatist.
always come into any project eager to learn new things, to find fresh Once a piece is in the public domain, it doesnt mean its fixed
ways of solving compositional problems, even to completely rethink like a relic in a museum. Michael Partington recorded my guitar
my approach to composition from the ground up. Some collabo- sonata twice. Once after around twenty performances and again
rators like to be involved in the nitty-gritty of working on musical after hed done fifty more. His reading of the piece had shifted over
material. When I was writing my recent Triple Concerto (2013), the intervening time and he felt he had something else to say about
which transforms pre-existing music in unexpected ways, pianist the piece. When the ensemble Music on the Edge recorded my
Graham Caskie would send me short recordings of musical ideas for Welsh Folksongs and The Garden of Cosmic Speculation they reworked
possible inclusion. Others like to discuss the overall design and con- them considerably, not unlike a remix in popular music. The result
cept and leave the music to me. When John Williams commissioned is wonderful. Once my music is out there, people can do what they
The Flower of Cities (2012)for violin, two guitars, percussion, and want with it. Musicians are imaginative people. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 31

Stephen Goss, Composer (continued)
GT: What happens if you dont like what they do? from the Opus 18 quartets to the Grosse Fuge or from The Firebird
SG: It doesnt matter in the slightest. For example, wouldnt it to Agon.
be dull if people always performed Shakespeare in exactly the GT: This freedom sounds liberating, but does music still have the capacity to
same way? All the parts played by men, Elizabethan costumes, no shock? Are there any musical taboos left?
amplification: somehow always aiming to emulate a Platonic ideal SG: I think many people still find pastiche, kitsch, and sentiment-
version of the work. Baz Luhrmanns film of Romeo and Juliet is a good ality uncomfortable. Back in the 1970s, David Del Tredicis Final
example of how art can be reinvented. Sometimes people ask me Alice caused quite a stir, and George Rochbergs Third String Quartet
to rework a piece for a different instrumental combination, some- was criticized for its use of pastiche Beethoven. The middle move-
times performers rework it themselves. Adapting music for different ment of my Guitar Concerto is an homage to Elgar and, for the most
performing contexts has a long history. Somehow we have inherit- part, Elgar is kept well below the musical surface. At one point, how-
ed the anachronistic Hegelian model of the genius artist producing ever, he is brought into sharp focus in an orchestral tutti which is
original masterpieces through divine inspiration. I like the idea that pastiche Elgar. The section seems to have split the critics so far. One
music is adaptable rather than fixed. This may well come from being things for sureit never goes unnoticed.
a guitarist growing up with a repertoire that has transcription and GT: While you celebrate variety and contrast in your work, are there any
arrangement at its core. constants in your compositional process? Do you always start in the same way,
GT: Your music often quotes or refers to other music. Appropriation is very much for instance?
part of your musical world. SG: There are certainly constants. The underlying process goes
SG: I dont see interpretation, transcription, arrangement, impro- through roughly the same stages each time: impetusideas
visation, and composition as different things with distinct bound- designfinding good notesrefinement. To begin any composi-
aries between them. The distinctions can be useful, but they are tion project, I start with an impetus. Examples of impetuses might
artificial. Its rather like the colors of the rainbow. We are taught that be a text to be sung, a narrative, something visual, or simply a
there are seven colors, but the reality is that there is a continuum of musical idea. Recently, I have been writing a lot of landscape music
color from red to violet. It was Isaac Newton who decided on the that evokes time and place. The impetus drives the compositional
number seven, simply to match the number of notes in a musical process on every architectonic level. In my work, a good impetus
scale as it happens. As a breed, we guitarists tend to tamper with the should act as a consistent link between form, method, and materials.
fixity of musical notation more than, say, pianists or violinists. This is The impetus then usually leads to research where the main ideas of
evident in the various performing editions of Bach lute or cello suites the piece are developed and refined. This is probably the most enjoy-
or in the myriad versions of Albniz transcriptions that exist. I am able part of the process.
particularly interested in the idea of hearing familiar music in an un- For example, my recent Piano Concerto had the architecture,
familiar context or setting. Max Richters brilliant recent reworking sculpture, and designs of Thomas Heatherwick as its impetus. I
of Vivaldis Four Seasons or Uri Caines performance of the Goldberg was bowled over by an exhibition of his studios work that I saw in
Variations are very useful models for this kind of extreme interpreta- London. The sheer range of styles and leaps of imagination between
tion. I very much enjoy exploring the grey area between arrangement projects was staggering. So, once the impetus was chosen, I then
and composition had to work on the ideas for the piece. After some research, I settled
GT: Given what youve just said, how far can one speak of a personal style for on four specific Heatherwick projects, which would act as models
your music? for each of the four movements. I then thought about the kinds of
SG: W. H. Auden once said that, as an artist, you spend the first sound worlds and overall structure I wanted for each movement. For
half of your life imitating others and the second half imitating example, the second movement is based on Bleigiessen, an indoor
yourself. I would argue that self-repetition is a bigger problem than sculpture eight-stories high made of thousands of small glass beads
any outmoded concept of a composer having to nurture or seek an suspended on wires. The wires catch the light and blur the viewers
individual voice. It seems to me that are too many composers image of the sculpture.
writing the same piece over and over again. An individually distinc- The ideas are the easy part. Everyone has creative and inventive
tive voice could be seen as a manifestation of limitations. My aim as a ideas all the time. The difficult part comes in taking those ideas and
composer is keep growing, developing, and moving forwards. Each realizing them in a satisfying way. Back to Shakespeareits a long
time I start a new piece, my number one priority is to make it way from having an idea about a story where two people fall in love,
as different as possible from the one Ive just finished. From this but eventually die because their parents dont get on, to the final
perspective, my models are Beethoven and Stravinsky. Their music is intricate text of Romeo and Juliet. This is where technique comes in.
recognizable as their own in an instant, but, crucially, it can be dated, Once the ideas are clear in my mind, I start working on the
almost to the year, by the way it sounds. Just think of the journey design. This might include deciding on a form or structure, on

32 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 (continued on page 34 ) Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 33
Stephen Goss, Composer (continued)
where to use particular orchestral colors, registers, textures, densities, SG: Absolutely.
harmonies, and so on: roughly planning out the piece. In the case GT: How does this affect your ability to be self-critical?
of the Bleigiessen movement, I designed the harmonic structure and SG: Effective self-criticism is one of the hardest things to achieve as
registral limits ahead of working on the notes themselves. The a composer (or in any area of creative work). One has to attempt to
delicate, continuous solo piano part is a portrayal of the sculpture, strike a fine balance between blas overconfidence and crippling self-
while the glittering reflections are rendered in varied orchestral hues. doubt. It is impossible to be totally objective about your own work.
The next stage is where the really creative work goes on. Mark Trusted friends (or a teacher) can be very useful in offering feedback
Anthony Turnage once said that most important thing in compo- from a safe critical distance.
sition is finding good notes. This is the part composers rarely talk GT: What are the other difficulties with composition?
aboutthe part where we actually choose which notes go in the SG: Well, there is never enough time. Deadlines hurtle towards you
score. This part of the process, for me, takes the longest and goes at an uncontrollably fast speed. All composers share this problem,
through many drafts and stages of refinement. The refining includes and always have done. Writing music is very hard workits by far
fixing many musical parameters into place: pitch, rhythm, orchestra- the most difficult thing I do.
tion, dynamics, and articulation. GT: So, why do you write music?
GT: How do composers find good notes? SG: Because I wont stop. I would like people to find my music useful.
SG: When composers talk about their work, they generally talk I aim to move people and to make them question assumptions. For me
about what I call the impetus, ideas, and design phases of compo- composition is social, outward lookingits how I reflect the world I
sition. They will often miss out the choosing-of-notes bit and then live in.
talk about rehearsals, performances, and revisionsthe sheen. Of GT: Have you been working with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Milo Karadagli
course, the reason we talk about choosing notes so little is because recently?
its done largely intuitively. One note is selected over another simply SG: Yes, Ive done quite a lot of work with Milo, so Andrew Lloyd
because we think it sounds better. How do we know when weve Webber (who is a big Milo fan) approached me to make a guitar
made a good decision? We dont know, we can only feel it. How arrangement of some of the themes from his forthcoming musical
can we talk about intuitive decision-making? Recent research into Stephen Ward. Milo recorded the arrangement for Deutsche Gram-
adaptive subconscious suggests there is a locked door between what mophon and has played it on TV and in some high-profile concerts.
we can do with our subconscious minds and how we try to explain GT: What do you have coming up?
itthe story-telling problem, as Timothy Wilson calls it. SG: I had my Triple Concerto performed in July, the Piano Concerto
Musical experience is built on thousands and thousands of hours CD comes out in October, and John Williams is recording the
of listening and music making. Its this embodied or tacit knowledge Guitar Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in
that we draw on when making intuitive decisions. The following November for release early in 2014. My guitar quartet, Tetra, is
are two examples from Malcolm Gladwells book Blink. Thomas celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this season (2013-14) with
Hoving is talking here about the art historian Bernard Berenson, who concerts, commissions, and a CD release. The next work Im writing
could unfailingly spot fake artworks. He sometimes distressed his is a new solo piece for David Russell. Next year, Im launching the
colleagues with his inability to articulate how he could see so International Guitar Research Centre at the University of Surrey.
clearly the tiny defects and inconsistencies in a particular work that GT: What are your musical ambitions?
branded it a fake. In one court case, Berenson was able to say only SG: To learn as much as I can from the people I have the good
that his stomach felt wrong. He had a curious ringing in his ears. fortune to work with.
He was struck by a momentary depression. Or he felt woozy and off GT: Thank you.
balance. Hardly scientific descriptions of how he knew he was in the
presence of something cooked up or fake.1 Vic Braden describes a Guy Traviss is a journalist and
similar inability in sports players. Out of all the research that weve musicologist based in London.
done with top (sports) players, we havent found a single player who He is currently the Editor of
is consistent in knowing and explaining what he does. They give Classical Guitar magazine and
different answers at different times, or they have answers that simply holds an editorial post with the
are not meaningful.2 International Guitar Foundation.
GT: So, for you, musical composition uses both the conscious and unconscious
minds at different stages in the process.

1 Malcolm Gladwell, Blink (U.K.: Penguin Books Ltd.), 51.

2 Malcolm Gladwell, Blink (U.K.: Penguin Books Ltd.), 67.

34 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

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631.335.5447 Bay Shore, NY 11706

Performance Practice
Arranging and Performing Early Music Part II: Ornamentation, Alfabeto, and Basso Continuo
by Jeremy Grall

This article is the second installment of a two-part series written sixteenth-century ornamentation was more similar to jazz, in which
for Soundboard on performance practices in early music. In this the overall structure was created anew within the performance.1
second installment, ornamentation methods are discussed in relation It is conceivable, however, that improvisation may not have been
to transcribing tablatures, arranging modern editions, and impro- limited to an either-or situation.2 Miguel Roig-Francol considers
vised accompaniment. that early improvisation may have been equally a compositional and
In Part I of this series, I discussed the evolution of the folia a performance practice. Specifically, about Toms de Santa Mara
as a model for considering the underlying chord or bass formula and his treatise on improvising fantasias, he says, His improvisa-
for various forms of improvisation. The earliest incarnations of the tion, however, is bound by four hundred and twenty-eight pages of
folia form allowed for a wide variety of chord substitutions, while universal rules 3 In this context, many of our existing lute pieces
the melody of the piece may or may not have been predetermined. are ostensibly a realized improvisation and provide a template from
More specifically, it was only in the seventeenth century that the which to begin this study.
folia had evolved into a consistent melody. As such, the malleable Within lute and vihuela music, the pieces that most closely
chord structure was simply to be plugged in for improvised dances, resemble the harmonic practices of the continuo can be seen
ensemble pieces, accompanying the voice, and for solo pieces. From in the various pavans, passamezzos, and galliards of the Renais-
the examples seen in Part I, we can see similar chord structures in sance. The contiguous thread between these works is that they are
monody accompaniment, basso continuo realizations, as well as in the generally dances based on a predictable rhythmic and harmonic
underlying structure within sixteenth- and seventeenth-century solo structure. One of the simplest examples of such a piece can be seen
lute and vihuela pieces. in the Melancholy Galliard by John Dowland. This piece not only
The premise of Part II is a general how-to method to provides an excellent template because of its familiarity to many
analyzing early lute works, adding ornamentation, and realizing guitarists, but also because it was ostensibly based on an improvisa-
simple continuo parts. Rather than simply take a bass line and tion. Dowland was known for being an excellent improviser, and like
start realizing it, I begin with several examples of realized pieces, many performers of the time, he may have been reluctant to publish
in which I tease out the ornaments to leave a simple chord struc- many of his solo works because of the intense professional rivalry. By
ture. Following, I discuss some extant sources of alfabeto, which delaying publication he would have been able to keep his improvi-
shows how continuo and solo players would build their pieces from satory practices as a trade secret. While this is not the case for all
similar chord structures. From these simple chord structures, I discuss lutenists, Dowland was generally considered to be somewhat
methods of reconstructing the piece with ornamentation. paranoid of his competition. Consequently, Dowland may have been
Lastly, I discuss alternate ways in which the given examples may be waiting until later in his life to publish the majority of his works.4
re-arranged in a solo context, as well as build my own simple In Figure 1, we see the first phrase of the Melancholy Galliard,
continuo realization. Within all of this I discuss period ornamentation while Figure 2 is the same musical example as a metric reduction
manuals, alfabeto methods, theoretical treatises such as Rameau, and with the ornamental figures removed.5 With the exception of the
modern methods such as discussed by Nigel North, James Tyler, and note A in the pick-up measure of the reduction, which has been
Paul ODette. included only to show the harmony, the upper notes reflect the
John Dowlands Melancholy Galliard can be considered a case melody of the galliard. In this format we can see that the overall
study for musical improvisation. But, how can a process of sponta- format is simply a few structural chords linked together through
neous musical creation share similarities with methodical compo- various ornamental figuressimilar to the rasgueado dances found
sition? Musicologist John Bass questions whether embellishment in Italian guitar music.
was simply added to a pre-existing piece as a coloristic tool, or if

1 John Bass, Improvisation in Sixteenth-Century Italy: Lessons from Rhetoric and Jazz, Performance Practice Review 14 (2009): 132.
2 R. Keith Sawyer, The Semiotics of Improvisation: The Pragmatics of Musical and Verbal Performance, Semiotica 108 (1996): 269306.
3 Miguel Roig-Francol, Compositional Theory and Practice in Mid-Sixteenth-Century Castilian Instrumental Music: The Arte de taer fantasa by Toms de Santa Mara and
the Music of Antonio de Cabezn (PhD diss., Indiana University, 1990), 38.
4 Diana Poulton, John Dowland (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 65, 712, and 95.
5 The following selections were created in consultation with the lute tablature of John Dowlands Melancholy Galliard and the guitar transcription by Siegfried Behrend.
This guitar version is largely from Behrends edition.

36 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Figure 4. First phrase with table numbers.

Figure 1. Dowland transcription.

Figure 5. Second phrase with table numbers.

In comparing the two phrases, we can see that Dowlands

Figure 2. Reduction of Melancholy Galliard. initial ornaments are simple and in the second phrase he develops
these figures. Also, Dowland follows a relatively consistent pattern
In Figure 3, starting at measure 9, we see the second phrase,
while avoiding needless repetition. For example, he alternates his
which contains the same melodic and harmonic theme but with
ornaments in every other measure and after establishing a pattern; he
different ornamentation.
introduces a new ornament just before the cadence. This could be to
keep the piece interesting and because cadential ornaments tend to be
more elaborate. This selection illustrates several principles common-
ly discussed in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ornamentation
manuals: 1.) Ornamental insertion; 2.) The reliance on a variety of
ornaments rather than utilizing a few select clich trills; 3.) How to
Figure 3. Second phrase starting at measure 9 with new ornaments. elaborate on simple figures while avoiding needless repetition.
Initially, the use of the table of ornament numbers may seem to
Table 1 is a list of the types of ornaments found in both the be cumbersome; however, its purpose is to allow us to see the under-
first and second phrases (Figures 4 and 5). Some of the figures are lying structure, while considering the ornamentation as interchange-
familiar passing and neighboring tones; however, as the piece pro- able blocks or riffs. Also, by isolating the harmony and melody, seen
ceeds, the ornaments are combined and become more elaborate. in Figure 2, the underlying dance rhythm becomes more apparent.
These ornaments are interesting because in the context of the first In this Italian guitar rasgueado of the Folia semplice seen in Figure 6,
ornaments, they can be interpreted in several ways. For example, we can see a similar rhythmic chord pattern, except that the single
ornament 1a could be considered an elaborate turn, or it could be note head implies the chords.
considered the melody with a passing tone that is ornamented with a
lower neighboring tone that ends with the E-natural. This E-natural
can then be interpreted as an anticipation of the E-natural in the
next chord. While this is a dissection of the ornament, the problem
with the second interpretation is that not only is it very wordy, but
it is confusing in practice. Instead, for simplicity, I have relabeled
these groupings as one or two ornamental figures followed by a brief Figure 6. Transcription of Folia semplice. Hudson, The Folia Dance and
description of the types of ornaments. Further, the labeling system is the Folia Formula, 21113.
meant to illustrate how the second ornaments are elaborations of the
initial ornaments. In practice these types of ornaments are learned This differentiation between the chords, melody, and ornamenta-
as one figure rather than as several interlocking ornaments. Figure 4 tion can be seen more clearly in the alfabeto tablatures commonly used
is the harmonic structure of the galliard in its entirety without orna- in the mid-Baroque by Baroque guitarists. In Figure 7, the alfabeto used
mentations with numbers above. These numbers correspond to the by Corbetta uses specific letters to denote the basic chords. While
table of ornaments found in Table 1. the idea is quite practical, when looking at these charts it is often
confusing because in modern chord charts the letters indicate the
root of the chord and quality. In alfabeto the letters do not match the
chord and chord quality, but rather are grouped by voicing and chord
progression. For example, in most forms of alfabeto the A, B, and C
are used to indicate a I-IV-V progression. In this instance the A-B-C
progression represents a G-major chord going to C major and then
D majorI-IV-V. In D-E-F the progression is now a minor i-iv-V
progressionA minor to D minor to E major. To add to this con-
fusion, there are many regional variants of the alfabeto that range in

Table 1. Ornaments. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 37

Arranging and Performing Early Music (continued)
musical usage, letters can change meaning, tuning of the instrument theoretical instruction. A particular method or manual may only
can change, and indications for ornaments can be either written take one of these roles or they may take on several roles. For example,
in the score or by a specific ornamental sign.6 Unfortunately, these in a letter, Giovanni Maffei outlines simple methods of ornamenting
ornamental signs are not consistent between alfabeto-type systems. a vocal line.11 While Maffei goes into some detail on vocal produc-
tion, the letter mainly discusses how and when to insert simple orna-
ments. In Toms de Santa Maras Libre llamando arte taer fantasa,
he goes into elaborate detail on the keyboard, ornamentation, and
how to improvise fantasias.12 Further, he discusses overall contra-
puntal techniques and theoretical constraints one should consider in
Figure 7. Transcription of Corbetta alfabeto chords AK. improvisation. The biggest differentiation is that while some
In A Guide to Playing Baroque Guitar, James Tyler outlines methods, usually for voice or monophonic instruments, discuss
several different types of Baroque tablature notational styles.7 The little more than the actual ornaments, many of the methods, parti-
styles conform to several major types: letters, tablatures, and mixed.8 cularly those for polyphonic instruments, often begin with a primer
The French or Italian tablature is simply the standard punteado tab- on counterpoint and modes. The primer may be quite rudimentary,
lature, similar in style to those used by John Dowland, in which but often the instruction can be comprehensive.
either numbers or letters indicate the fret numbers. Figure 8 is a Again, elaborate theoretical concepts are out of the scope of this
transcription by Richard T. Pinnell of a transcribed Corbetta alfabeto article, but for guitarists I recommend starting with Counterpoint
chart in which the original simply uses letters to indicate the chords.9 on Two and Three Voices and Improvisation in the Sixteenth Century
In mixed notation the tablature uses a traditional Italian tabla- Renaissance Style for Guitar by Duan Bogdanovi13 and the Gradus
ture and then an alfabeto letter to indicate the chord.10 While this ad Parnasum by Johannes Fux.14 Both of these books are relative-
may seem a bit difficult, upon overcoming the initial difficulty of ly simple and provide a much clearer introduction to counterpoint
learning the alfabeto letters, this style is easier to read and makes it than the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources. In the earlier
easier for transcription. sources, the rhetorical style of the text is often hard to follow and
the musical vernacular is confusing for many. Also, while the Gradus
was based on Palestrinas contrapuntal practices, it was written in the
eighteenth century and its basic practices can be found throughout
the Renaissance and Baroque.
As for the specific ornamental practices, Silvestro Ganassi is a
good resource for the varieties of ornaments and how to insert them.
Figure 8. Transcription of Bergamasco from alfabeto notation. Specifically, Ganassi provides various skeletal melodic motions and
Again, the general idea is to create a chord form and slowly then provides nearly two hundred possible embellishments rang-
extemporize upon it. While the Corbetta examples show ing from simple to extravagant. For example, in Figure 9, Ganassi
similar types of ornaments and chord structures seen in the folia and provides three basic melodic figures. In the following measures he
Dowland examples, what exactly are the limits to ornaments? While provides five additional examples on how to ornament the melody.
an in-depth discussion of all the ornamentation manuals is beyond While I have provided brackets above the ornaments to illustrate the
the scope of this article, all of period methods outline similar types of original notes in all of the examples, Ganassi used a small vertical
ornamental figures and well-defined methods of applying ornaments line to indicate the original melodic notes in only the three-note
to any situation. The ornamental methods come in several main melody, labeled 2 (see Figure 9).
formats: fantasia/chord instruction, ornament instruction, and

6 Maurice Esses, The Dance and Instrumental Differencias in Spain during the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries: History and Background (New York: Pendragon Press,
1992), i: 11272. While this book is concerned with music in Spain, Esses provides a comprehensive survey of music for the five-course guitar that extends throughout Europe.
7 Jeremy Grall, A Guide to Playing the Baroque Guitar (review), Notes 69 (2012): 802. In this review I discuss the types of pedagogical techniques utilized in Tylers book,
as well as a general overview.
8 James Tyler, A Guide to Playing the Baroque Guitar (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), 820.
9 Richard T. Pinnell, Francesco Corbetta and the Baroque Guitar: With a Transcription of His Works, Volume 2 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980), 63. While a guitar
transcription would have different stem to directions to reflect the voices, I have not changed the stem direction from the Pinnell transcription. In this case the stem direction
may be used as an indication of the strumming direction for the chords.
10 Clive Titmus, Baroque Guitar for Smarties,,
minor-mixed-tablature.jpg (assessed April 10, 2013). Some additional examples can be found in this article written by the luthier Clive Titmus.
11 Giovanni Camillo Maffei, Della lettere (1562), In Late Renaissance Singing, trans. and ed. Edward Foreman (Minneapolis: Pro Musica, 2001), 630.
12 Toms de Santa Mara, Libre llamando arte taer fantasa (1565; reprint, London: Gregg, 1972).
13 Duan Bogdanovi, Counterpoint on Two and Three Voices and Improvisation in the Sixteenth Century Renaissance Style for Guitar (Ancona: Brben, 1996).
14 Johannes Fux, The Study of Counterpoint from Gradus ad Parnassum, ed. Alfred Mann (1725; reprint, New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc., 1971).

38 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

taste is still often left vaguely remedied. As a general rule, they are
simply instructed to avoid extremes. The degree in which one can
alter the original composition is dependent on the style of the piece
one is ornamenting.16 For example, when ornamenting a piece that
was originally vocal polyphony, effort should be taken not to disturb
the counterpoint, while in improvised instrumental dance forms,
slight mistakes in voice leading may be tolerated.
Another similarity in the methods is that although the
ornamentation manuals are written with different instruments
and voices in mind, they are remarkably similar in their instruc-
tions. Nearly all of the manuals note that these instructions, with a
little adaptation, can be used on any instrument. Ganassi sometimes
wrote the ornaments without specifying the clef to so they can be
Figure 9. Example of ornamentation from Ganassis Opera inttulata
fontegara. used in any transposition.17 The general understanding is that music
is to be ornamented; however, the ornaments should be performed
While Ganassi provides several hundred examples of ornaments, gracefully.
more than any other ornamentation method book, he did not con- Another common topic is about specifically how to insert
sider this a definitive list. Nevertheless, while his list of ornaments ornaments. Because the ornaments should not ruin the voice lead-
provide a curiosity to explore, their usage in a practical format can ing, the solution is to not alter the original melody. For example, the
be somewhat limitedthere are just too many ornaments. Further, first note and the last note in the ornament, regardless of the inter-
many of the ornaments are repetitious, and as seen in Table 1, many vening ascending and descending acrobatics of the passaggi, should
of the ornaments can be considered as ornaments that have been represent the original melody. In Figure 10, from Giovanni Bassanos
combined. I suggest learning a smaller selection of ornaments and Ricercate passaggi et cadentie, the original notes are shown with the
to consider each as an interchangeable block that can be linked to inserted ornament.18 While it is not the only method of ornamental
others. insertion, it is usually the safest method when starting to experiment
In the Dowland examples, it has been noted that the piece with ornamentation.
began simply and then became more elaborate. While this would
seem to be an obvious technique for creating drama within an
improvisation, such as commonly heard in jazz improvisation,
this was a topic that was commonly discussed in the ornamenta- Figure 10. Ornamental Insertion from Giovanni Bassanos Ricercate
tion methods.15 One of the major questions that these methods passaggi.
grapple with is exactly what constitutes good taste? Often this is put
in general terms of striving for balance and avoidance of extremes. As seen in Figure 10, this is by no means a simple mordent
For example, it is good to play virtuosic passages as long as they arent or trill; however, what should be noted is that the basic sixteenth-
made vulgar by singing or playing too loud, too high, or too low. century conventions of melodic construction are honored.19 These
Howard Mayer Brown notes that the methods are all in agreement include avoiding tritone leaps, making sure to offset melodic leaps
that performers should stay within their means and play ornaments by stepwise motion in the opposite direction, generally avoiding
accurately without intruding upon the overall piece. Brown also outlining chords, and so forth. While it would appear that simply
notes that they warn that someone who only plays extremely fast and removing the ornamentation could reveal a pieces melodic and
elaborately ornamenting becomes monotonous. Further, this type of rhythmic framework, in practice the original melodic notes may
performance is merely an unmusical spectacle for the uneducated have occurred at almost any point within the ornamentespecially
commoners of the audience who do not have good taste. Unfor- in non-liturgical music. Nevertheless, the method in the example is
tunately, while these musicians complain about performers without the most consistently found in ornamentation manuals and is the
good taste and poor performances, exactly what constitutes good general method used in the Dowland examples in Figures 1 and 3.

15 Howard Mayer Brown, Embellishing Sixteenth-Century Music, Early Music Series, ed. John M. Thomson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), x. This book surveys the
ten major ornamentation manuals found in the Renaissance such as Girolamo dalla Casa, Silvestro di Ganassi, Giovanni Camillo Maffei, Giovanni Luca Conforto, Diego
Ortiz, Francesco Rognoni, Ricardo Rognoni, Giovanni Battista Bovicelli, and Giovanni Basano. I have consulted both Howard Mayer Browns book as well as each of the
reprinted facsimiles of the original sources as needed.
16 Brown, Embellishing Sixteenth-Century Music, 53.
17 Silvestro Ganassi, Regola rubertina, (Venice: Ganassi, 1542, 1543), facsimile edition by Max Schneider, 1927.
18 Giovanni Bassano, Ricercate/passaggi et cadentie (1585; reprint, Zrich: Musikverlag zum Pelikan, 1976).
19 Knud Jeppesen, Counterpoint: The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century, trans. Glen Haydon (1931; reprint, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1992), 8397. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 39

Arranging and Performing Early Music (continued)
While the previous examples show how to take a piece of music has written what I consider to be the seminal book on lute/guitar/
and remove the ornaments, or how to take a piece and then insert theorbo accompaniment for the modern performer.22
new ornaments, this section deals with how to create a basso continuo The period sources often present an unfamiliar vernac-
line. This task varies considerably depending on the ensemble that ular and complex theoretical concepts. I consider the most
you are performing with. For example, in a jazz duo a guitarist will valuable aspect of Norths book an extensive chord chart in tab-
often perform the chord structure, often in root position, as well as a lature form. Figure 12 is a portion of the chart and the types of
lot of intervening scalar and ornamental flourishes; however, in a jazz chord, the notation, and the figured bass symbol with which it
combo the guitarist will often play chord inversions in the upper can be used on the lute, archlute, and the theorbo. For example,
registers and will play ornaments sparingly. If the guitarist were to North provides chords for every note and every inversion, as well as
play open chords in root position, the guitarist would be drowned seventh chords and some common chord patterns. In Figure 12,
out by the pianist and the bass notes would have already been North provides a simple set of transposable chord voicings for a
covered by the either the bass player or the pianist. Improvisation given bass note.
in an early ensemble functions the same way. While the basic chord
patterns for lute accompaniment in Renaissance ensembles similar
to those seen in in Figure 6 and 8, they were often more elaborate
in the Dowland songs and utilized many of the same features found
in his solo works. However, beyond 1600, a good deal of the guitar/
lute/theorbo accompaniment became rather simplified with the
introduction of monody. In Figure 11, by Giovanni Kapsberger, we Figure 12. Nigel North example of voicing and moveable shapes.
can see the theorbo accompaniment tends to be on the beat simple
chords that would have been strummed.20 This is the basic method With this method anyone can simply look at a bass line and
to introduce chords into an early music ensemble using either the find the appropriate chord to plug in. Lutenists can use the tablature
lute or the modern guitarjust strum simple chords. as written and guitarists can capo the third fret with the third string
tuned to F-sharp. For example, Figure 13 is a very basic continuo
realization from the sonata from the Canzona 6a by Schein using this
technique. This example is nothing more than a rudimentary chord
chart in which I have intentionally left out additional chords. Also, I
included rests too, so that I was aware when the harmony changed.
Figure 11. Kapsberger Arie passeggiate in Modern Notation. Additional melodic notes were also omitted, because in perfor-
mance we had an organ that already had an elaborately ornamented
While this example shows us the basic idea of how to insert
continuo part and the lute was mostly inaudible with a group of
continuo chords, it does not help when being given a piece of
about ten people. In performance, I simply strummed the basic
music that has an unrealized basso continuo line. One of the
chords, added additional notes from the basso continuo line when
theoretical sources that discuss how to add accompaniment is from
the feeling struck, and sometimes added other chords on the spot. In
Jean-Philippe Rameaus Treatise on Harmony.21 While his chapter on
the lute tuning, I was able to look at the original basso notation and
how to provide accompaniment is valuable for putting your Music
think of the line in normal treble clef guitar notationexcept that I
Theory I-IV into practice, it is less useful on the guitar. While
needed to think of it as if it were in the key of D major. Admit-
Rameau is good for getting an idea of which chords are acceptable
tedly, I left my chord chart bare so as to allow myself the freedom to
to insert, for a guitarist the voicing is different from a keyboard and
experiment during rehearsals and forced myself to listen very closely
the attention to the counterpoint becomes overwhelming to do in
to how my part supported the other voices.
real time. Fortunately, for a guitarist, the simplest chord to finger
often results in the best voice leading. For example, the Bergamasco
in Figure 8, the chords are simply voiced and naturally avoid any
contrapuntal faux pas. Unfortunately, the reentrant tuning of the
Baroque guitar makes this relationship hard to see in the tablatures
and is not immediately applicable to the guitar or the lute without
Figure 13. Simple Chord Sketch for mm. 2637 in Johann Scheins
transcription. For practical application of these ideas, Nigel North
Canzona 6a.

20 Giovanni Kapsberger, Libro primo die arie passeggiate a una voce con lintavolatura del chitarone (1612; reprint, Firenze: Studio per edizioni scelte), 18.
21 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Treatise on Harmony, trans. Philip Gossett (1722; reprint, New York: Dover 1971), 377444.
22 Nigel North, Continuo Playing on the Lute, Archlute and Theorbo (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987) , 177.

40 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Had I needed to add additional ornamentation, I could have For example, Johann Mattheson, Claudio Merulo, Jan Pieterzoon
followed the rest of Norths instruction, but as we have seen from the Sweelinck, and many of the Baroque composers wrote books on how
earlier examples, it is often best to: to improvise on the bass line, yet there are few methods dedicated
1.) Begin with the simplest and easy to reach chords. solely to guitar-like instruments. Many of these treatises that do exist
2.) Look at the given music for additional melodic notes. are heavily steeped in counterpoint, modes, and broader theoretical
3.) Start with a small group of initial simple ornaments that you concepts that can be stifling when trying to take the first steps to
can elaborate on at a later point. improvisation.
4.) Try to insert these notes within the given melody and written While all of these topics are important for long-term study,
out chords. ultimately it is more important that early music is performed. It is
5.) Listen and feel free to experiment. important to remember that despite the many rules and conven-
Figure 13 is meant as a starting point and not intended to tions associated with early music performance practices, within the
be a fully realized basso continuo. For example, this insures that period there were no fully agreed upon conventions. Many of the
those who might be overwhelmed with writing out a fully realized treatises and ornamentation manuals provide nuanced method-
continuo part recognize that to get started it is best to start out with ologies that proclaim their approach to be the best, while often dispar-
only a basic formespecially when performing with a larger ensem- aging all of the others. Classical guitarists have the tendency to want
ble. Also, by not writing everything out right away, the performer to be correct, but in regard to early music this is a futile pursuit.
can get a sense of how they can improvise during a performance, There simply is no one absolutely unified correct approach to early
get a better sense of the types of musical figures that will or will not music; at best we can aspire to be historically informed. Therefore,
work in the actual performance, and lastly, allow the performer a I encourage you to make mistakes, experiment, and look at period
greater sense of the endless possibilities within in a performance. In sources for additional instruction and inspiration. For the classical
an age of scores and editions, it is easy to forget that continuo was guitarist, ornamentation is a creative process that is very similar to
not explicitly written out. Performers were not just interpreters of jazz improvisation. At best, this exploration allows us to take part in
the music, but also composers. a living art form.
This article surveys an historically-informed approach and a
practical approach to ornamentation, realizing a continuo line, and Jeremy Grall earned his D.M.A. in classical guitar from the University of
analyzing early music. One of the problems facing guitarists and Memphis and M.M. from the Yale School of Music. Currently, Jeremy is ABD
lutenists is that although we have some methods on how to real- for a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology and is a Lecturer at Sam Houston State
ize a piece of music, far more has been written for the keyboardist. University in Music Theory and Musicology.

Guiding the Next Gener ation

of Classical Musicians

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outstanding facilities make CIM an ideal
environment for training the next generation
of classical music performers.

Admission Office: 216.795.3107 | | 11021 East Boulevard | Cleveland, OH 44106


Arrangement: Valses poticos, Part II
by Rupert Boyd
More than any other group of classical musicians, guitarists have
for many years stolen and borrowed our way through all manner of
works for other instruments and ensembles. This larcenous tradition
of arranging for guitar is due in part to both a lack of original works
by many of the great composers of western classical music, and due
to our ability to successfully play melodies with polyphonic accom-
Ive always loved to make arrangements. I find it a combina-
tion of the creative and problem solving processes to play around
with pre-composed melodies and harmonies. One has to transpose
keys, re-voice chords, and shift octaves to get pieces to work on the
guitar. In arranging a piece, one will inevitably face the question
of how many liberties are permissible to make the piece work on a Above: Rupert Boyd.
different instrument, while remaining faithful to the original score.
Similarly, in poetry, a translator must decide how much to change the
original words and intent of the poet to make the poem work in a new
language. If a poem contains rhyming couplets, should the translator
aim to make a literal and more authentic translation that does not
rhyme, or should they retain the rhyme, even at the expense of order
of the words or meaning of the lines? In relation to transcribing for
guitar, how far can one go in re-voicing chords, shifting octaves,
and the like, while being faithful to the original? My philosophy
Figure 1. The original piano score of Vals No. 8, measure 10.
in arranging for the guitar is to create something that is eminently
playable and with a fullness and resonance to the sound, as though On piano these measures are very successful, and while it is
originally composed for the instrument. To this end, I often ask possible to play the same notes on guitar, it doesnt result in the same
myself when arranging what the composer would have done had he dramatic effect. I imagine that, were Granados to have written Valses
or she had originally written the work for guitar. poticos for guitar, he would have used rasgueados, so evocative of the
Granados solo piano piece, Valses poticos, like many composi- Spanish guitar. Doing so in this passage retains the harmony of the
tions for piano, works very well on guitar. I think this is the case as original piano score, but adds the intensity and volume required at
the instruments have a similar sound in regards to the initial attack this climactic moment (see Figure 2).
and decay of the note. On the piano, however, chords of up to ten
notes at a time are easily playable, and the range of the instrument
is far greater. Fortunately little modification from the original piano
score was required to arrange this work; much of the process in-
volved thinning out of the chords and restricting the range. All the Figure 2. Arrangement for guitar of Vals No. 8, measure 9.
keys are the same as in the original, though in the third waltz this
I hope you enjoy this second installment of the publication of
necessitates a re-tuning of the sixth string to D. It is unfortunate
this arrangement. Please refer to Soundboard 39.2 for its first five
to break the musical flow of the piece for this tuning change, but
purely for the resonance of the guitar, I feel that this is preferable to
either playing the movement without the low D, or transposing the
movement to another key (E minor or A minor are options that also Rupert Boyd is an Australian classical guitarist based in New York City.
work). He has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and
One of the places where I diverged most from the original recently gave his Carnegie Hall debut as part of the DAddario Music
piano score was in No. 8. At the climax of the composition, Granados Foundations International Competition Winners in Concert series. His
includes two measures which contain a flurry of notes that have the recent solo recording, Valses poticos, features the arrangement of the
tempo indication of vivace (see Figure 1). work published here. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 43
Part 2:


Tempo de vals lento

No. 3 

6 =D

K !


2 3


con spiritu

2 CV rall.


D   O 
19 Fine

Poco piu 2
K K 

K 3  K


, , , 
 , ,
a tempo
K CV rall. molto


, , ,



 O O D

 D ,
44 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
Allegro humoristico

D   CI

No. 4
6 =E 
p p p p



1. 3 2. i.z.




D     O




arm. 7 2.

arm. 5

D   O  
4 3

! ! !
Allegretto (elegante)




No. 5

G dim.

a tempo ! !CIII !  
S arm. 18
a tempo
D    S 



S arm. 18 S

D   w     S

D Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 45



D D   D  D D


D  D
D D 

rall. rall.
   D D D D  K

K   D  

D  O 
CI 3

23 D.C.

D O      D
Quasi ad libitum (sentimental)




No. 6

6 rall.

arm. 16
a tempo


arm. 12
dim. |
arm. 12

   w  w  w w
18 arm. 21








con passione dim.

46 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3




con molto espressione
a tempo

37 3


rall. molto
 Ow w   




No. 7

! !

5 CV


    K CIV



arm. 12

K  K

14 D.C. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 47


No. 8  



O  O O O

  O  O O  HHH HHH 
O  O  HH 

H a tempo
  O  HH
H  O


! ! 3
! !
      O O       O O  

! ! !






20 1. 2.


48 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3




rall. molto


   a tempo z O O O O O z

 O O  ,
O , O O
   O O 


K  7
rall. molto

dim. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 49

New Music
Writing for Family: Selections from Suite No. 2
by Kevin J. Cope
As Christmas 2011 approached, I decided to give the gift of a
piece of music to each member of my immediate family. After all,
what good is a degree in music composition if you are unable to
write a piece for your mother and father to enjoy now and again?!
This task proved to be a pleasant challenge that I charged myself
to complete within the month before the upcoming holiday. I
approached each piece (six in total) by choosing a style of music that
reflected the interests or background of the person for whom it was
being written. I have chosen two to publish here.
Bomba was written for my dear sister-in-law who is from
Puerto Rico. In celebration of her rich heritage, this piece is based
upon the islands dance for which it is named. Using Latin dance
forms can be an exhilarating composition exercise that opens up pos-
sibilities that may never arise without the boundary created by the
rhythm. I based the piece upon a montuno, a repeated accompanying
rhythmic pattern utilizing arpeggiated chords. The unique rhythm
of the bomba leaves a tied space between beats two and three, as well
as between every other beat four and one, and creates a more relaxed
feeling than many other Latin dance forms.
When performing this piece, the most important elements on
which to focus are the consistency of the rhythmic accompaniment
and the sweetness of the melody. This melody should feel like a Above: Composer, Kevin J. Cope
series of relaxed sighs with tears of joy. This is especially evident as
the modality shifts in measure 29. I opted to notate the piece with Kevin J. Cope is an active composer in the greater Philadelphia area. He
the traditional Latin 3+3+2 rhythmic division. This should help is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where he received a Masters
the performer in creating the intended rhythmic accents that are so degree in composition and a second in guitar performance. Kevin was the
typical of the music of the Caribbean and South America. recipient of the 2011 Emerging Artist Fellowship in music composition
Lullaby is possibly the simplest piece of music that I have from the Delaware Division of the Arts and has received commissions in
composed. In my view, a lullaby should never be complicated, since the U.S.A. and Europe. These and many other works can be purchased at:
its purpose is to lull a child to sleep with a swaying rhythm and
beautiful melody. This piece has a particularly personal connec-
tion to me because I wrote it for my first niece. I based the work
upon text that I wrote that centers upon my nieces nameand her
cuteness! She was less than a year old at the time. Nothing says
swaying a baby to sleep like a nice 6/8 rhythm and a soaring song-
like melody. The harmony is as simple as that of any popular song,
and the melody sings sweetly above it.
When performing this piece, keep in mind the image of a
swaying boat. As long as the rhythm remains steady, the piece should
remain buoyant. The only section of the piece that may create
difficulty will be at measure 33, in which a left-hand position change
is required. The change is brief, and the simplicity of first position
soon returns.

50 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Duration: c. 2'45" (ASCAP) for Lourdes

Moderately Fast q = c 110


3 2 3

w w w1 w
simile. . .


3 1
1 3

w 2 w w 2 w



2 4 2 2

w 1 w w w

3 w

3 4 3

4 2 4 1 4 3


4 w 2

2 w1 2 1
3 2 2

3 4 4

4 1

w 3w w w
1 1

3 1 2 3 3
2 3

1 4 4

21 3 1 4 1
1 2

w w w w


2 3 2
4 5

4 1 1



1 w 3

Copyright 2011 Kevin J. Cope (ASCAP)

All Rights Reserved Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 51

3 3 4
4 4

29 1 2

1 3


32 1

4 3

3 1

2 2



rit. . .
ww 13

ww 2
w w w 4

Duration: c. 2'45" (ASCAP) for Sofia on her first Christmas

Slowly q. = c 60


Copyright 2011 Kevin J. Cope (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved

52 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3


To Coda






D.S. al Coda Coda


45 rit. . .

Copyright 2011 Kevin J. Cope (ASCAP)

All Rights Reserved Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 53

New Music
Hawikuh: A Story in Sound by Joseph V. Williams II

How can a piece of music evoke a story or idea? Beyond at the beginning of this article was different for each piece. With
simply mimicking bird songs or car horns, how can music have Hawikuh, the musical, technical and programmatic elements were
extra-musical implications? For the last year, I have been tackling intertwined from the beginning.
these questions while writing Zia: Myth and Folklore of New Mexico, The story of Hawikuh comes from Cibola and the Seven Cities
for solo guitar. of Gold, the first Spanish myth of New Mexico. In 1519, the con-
Zia began as a set of concert etudes. Since I first picked up quistador, Hernn Corts, found the Aztec capital of Tenchtitlan.
the instrument, I have been fascinated by the myriad shades of After conquering this gold-laden metropolis and renaming it Mexico
timbre and the wealth of extended techniques our instrument has to City, the Spanish fostered hopes that there were other cities filled
offer. I decided that Zia would focus on these two topics. Each etude with riches in the New World. In 1539, the viceroy of Spain sent
would address one or more extended techniques and employ timbral an expedition, lead by friar Marcos de Niza, north in response to
contrast as a structural element. Early in the process of writing rumors of Cibola and the Seven Cities of Gold.
these works, I found a sympathetic relationship between this exotic After a long and brutal journey, the party arrived in present-day
sound palette and the fantastical elements in New Mexican folklore western New Mexico. Scouts investigated a pueblo where Cibola
and myth. So I delved into the rich culture of my home state. I was said to exist, but they were driven off by the Zuni. The friar,
began collecting folklore and myths from the Spanish, Mexican, and threatened by mutiny and the natives, resorted to examining the
Native American cultures. I read childrens books and fairy tales of pueblo of Hawikuh from a distance.
the Southwest. I read about the Pueblo Nations and studied the long As the friar looked across the desert landscape, the intense
history of New Mexico. Most of all, I tried to remember the stories sun and heat helped to create an illusion he was desperate to see. A
of my childhood. modest pueblo was emblazoned by the light. In his imagination
there seemed to appear a small, but brilliant city of gold.
Elated, the expedition retreated to Mexico City. When the
viceroy heard of the golden city, he sent a large entourage lead by
the conquistador Francisco Vzquez de Coronado and guided by
Marcos de Niza. They suffered the same arduous journey. When they
arrived at Hawikuh, they found only dirt roads, white plaster adobe,
and turquoise were the pueblos most valuable possessions.
At the heart of this story lies an illusion superimposed on
reality. Hawikuh evokes the moments in which Marcos de Niza
looks across the desert landscape and depicts both the mirage and his
powerful desire to see the mirage. To create this synthesis of reality
and fantasy, I chose the technique of campanella. Italian for little
bells, campanella is a technique in which scalar and melodic figures
are realized on different strings so that they ring over each other and
overlap. The ringing over creates the same effect as depressing the
damper pedal on a piano. In this way a linear constructionsuch
as a scaletakes on a simultaneous vertical function because it rings
Above: Composer Joseph Williams II at work. out as a chord. This duality creates ambiguity.
In Hawikuh, this ambiguity is further supported by the way
And that is where the challenge of programmatic music came in which the line is shaped across the meter. In the opening measure,
to a fore. I had to match the right sound to the right story or myth. a four-note scale oscillates across the pulse to emphasize the note
In the end, Zia became seven stories in sound: La loba (halogen F-sharp on beats one and three, and the note A on beats two and
pizzicato), Pedro e diablo (glissandi and extended range), La llorona four. In the second measure, the same pitch material is reordered
(dedillo), Kokopelli (percussion and tambora), Hawikuh (campanel- to reverse the pattern of emphasis. At the same time, the opening
la), Coyote (pizzicato), and Zozobra (rasgueado and cross-string trills). line implies two intertwined short-long rhythms as illustrated in this
The process of writing each etude and answering the questions posed example (see Figure 1).

54 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

A violin harmonic is used in measure 26. This is created by
placing the left hand finger one on the second fret, while the left
hand finger four lightly touches the harmonic node at the
seventh fret (the notes in parenthesis). The right hand plucks
normally to produce the harmonic notated.

Figure 1. Hawikuh measures 1-2.

Hawikuh is dedicated to Adam Holzman in appreciation for his
artistry, mentorship, and friendship. Please visit
The short-long rhythm is important because it creates forward
for a video of Hawikuh and the complete score of Zia: Myth and
motion, and bound up in that motion is a sense of searching and
Folklore of New Mexico.
desire. Ultimately, this rhythm underscores the development of the
entire piece.
As it unfolds, the harmonic and rhythmic ambiguity con-
tinues in the campanella setting, and then in short-long chordal
gestures starting at measure 10. At the Tempo II Section (measure 16),
the short-long rhythm takes over in shorter note values and in real
counterpoint. This non-campanella gesture is contrasted back and
forth with the opening material.
In addition to the short-long rhythm, the opening campanella
four-note scale is developed throughout the piece. It is inverted in
retrograde (measure 2), extended (measure 8/9), shortened (measure
21), rhythmically augmented (measure 17), and re-ordered and dis-
placed in octaves (measure 29). In measures 42 and 43, the scale is
chromatically altered and extended in combination with an ostinato.
Then the scale fragment is reduced to just two notes and joined by
the short-long rhythm in the upper and lower register. In measure
46, it is fragmented further to create the gentle reverie, which is the
climax of the piece.
All of these elements combine to musically depict the pieces
theme. The visual mirage of Marcos de Niza is realized by an audi-
tory mirage in which scales are simultaneously heard as chords. His
desire to find the Cities of Gold becomes a searching rhythm that is
continually re-contextualized and transformed.

Performance Notes:
To accurately show the actual durations in campanella would be
extraordinarily cumbersome. Instead, a hollow notehead
indicates the note is held longer than its written duration and
should ring over adjacent notes. Solid noteheads within this
texture last only for their written duration. Fingerings and string
notations illustrate the manner in which notes are prolonged, Joseph V. Williams II is a celebrated performer, composer, and educator.
and notes should be held as long as possible. He is the Composer in Residence for the Austin Classical Guitar Society
A capo is used on the second fret for Hawikuh. All pitches in and a member of the Texas Guitar Quartet. He holds degrees from the
this etude sound a major second higher than written. The capo University of Texas at Austin, the University of Arizona, and the University
is used for several reasons. The overall pitch level is raised and of New Mexico.
the resonance is altered to create a higher, lighter sound. The
capo also matches the timbre of the open strings to fingered
pitches and facilitates the frequent left-hand reaches necessary to
create the campanella technique.
Sulla buca (It. on the hole) describes placing the RH over the
sound hole.
Dotted arrows indicate a gradual change to a new timbre. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 55

'#( &)

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56 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

































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58 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

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Classical Guitar Studies at NJCU

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Ana Mara Rosado, D.M.A. Min Kim, D.M.A., chair
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2039 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305 Worth It.
Essays on Playing the Guitar: Caught Stealing by Jack Sanders

Ludwig van Beethovens String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp composers did not wake up wondering what musical language that
Minor, Op. 131, created a substantial obstacle for many Western they would use that day. Since so much attention in the last century
composers who followed. When Bla Bartk decided to compose his was focused on the avant-garde, composers often felt pressure to be
first string quartet, he tackled Beethoven head-onhe copied him. innovative. However, the times that we live in now dont necessarily
It is no secret that Bartk (1881-1945) used Beethovens C-sharp demand musical revolutioninnovation has been trumped by sub-
Minor Quartet as the inspiration for his Op. 7, which was com- stance, and besides, chances are that it has already been done. On
pleted in 1909. They both open with brooding fugues, and one hand, this takes pressure off budding composers; on the other
other comparisons can be drawn. Bartk was interested in the folk hand, they need to determine what their musical language is going
music of Eastern Europe, and with the help of Zoltn Kodly, to be, as well as where it fits within the tonal-atonal spectrum.
began trekking to villages in order to record songs and melodies, Throughout history, composers have learned their craft
which later became a major factor in the compositions of both men. by studying great music and working with other composers.
One of their discoveries was that much of the regions folk music Beethoven studied composition and counterpoint with Haydn and
was derived from pentatonic scales, which Bartk frequently used Albrechtsberger; Bach learned from his father and oldest brother in
in the last movement of his Op. 7. Also in this movement, and addition to his study of Vivaldi and other composers; Mozart was
mixed in with other folk-isms, is the curious reference to a popular initially guided by his father, Leopold, with finishing touches
Budapest song, a musical tease towards violinist Stefi Geyer, with added by Haydn. Schoenberg, as a mature composer, believed
whom Bartk was infatuated with at the time. Other influences in that the only music deserving study was by Mozart. For the new
Bartks compositional style were Brahms, Debussy, and Richard composer, analyzing as much music as possible and developing a
Strauss. Mix it all up, and you have a leader in the twentieth century connection to those who will give honest feedback is critical. Your
classical music revolution. close friends and early, sympathetic audiences might give you
encouragement, but finding someone who can give constructive
criticism is the key.
For a guitarist who might be thinking about composing for the
instrument, one technique worth trying is to take an existing piece
and essentially re-write it. If one took, say, the first etude of Leo
Brouwers Estudios sencillos, changed the tonal center, created a vari-
ation of the two themes, but developed the ideas in a similar fashion
to Brouwer, there would be a sense of how a good composer fashions
snippets of ideas into a cohesive work. In a grand sense, this is what
Bartk did with his first string quartet.
Finally, look into drawing from other sources. There are endless
possibilities. Vihuela composers routinely intabulated movements
of other composers vocal works, and Baroque guitarists/composers
utilized many of the popular dances of the period. Furthermore,
even though Lou Harrison studied with Schoenberg, when he
incorporated Indonesian gamelan influences into his composi-
tions, no one compared student to teacher anymore. Bartk could
be looked upon as the quintessential modern composer who had
Above: When composing, draw other elements into your music. a thorough musical education and assimilated influences from
different sources to create a completely unique flavor with his music.
Until 1900, each generation only slightly tweaked the Being a good composer doesnt necessarily mean that all the ideas on
compositional style of its precursors, and music followed a rather the page are completely original; drawing other elements into your
natural evolution. Of course, there has always been overlapping; for music might be what makes it distinctive.
example, Sergei Rachmaninoff was writing in a very romantic style
during the same period that Schoenberg, Webern, Ives, and a host Jack Sanders is a performer, pedagogue, and luthier of modern classical
of others were turning the music world upside-down. Generally, and historic guitars.

60 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Community Service
The Guitar in South Central by Scott Morris

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that playing the guitar

is about so much more than just making music. Like almost every
classical guitarist, I started teaching the instrument to help pay the
bills. Ive been fortunate to find myself directing the guitar program
at California State University Dominguez Hills (C.S.U.D.H.) in the
South Bay area of Los Angeles.
What most people dont know about C.S.U.D.H. is that it
is one of the most diverse four-year universities in the country. It
was established in the wake of the L.A. Watts riots of 1965, when
Governor Pat Brown relocated the campus from Rancho Palos
Verdes to Carson. Carson sits in between some of the nicest neigh-
borhoods in L.A. and some of the most challenged. A beautiful view
of the Palos Verdes hill graces one side of the campus and the city
of Compton boarders the other. The mission of the university states
that access to higher education by an underserved segment of the
population is its greatest priority.
It was in the spirit of that 1965 mission statement that the
university asked me to get involved with the Watts Youth Initiative.
The program takes kids from the areas public housing projects and
introduces them to positive, creative activities, such as music and art.
The housing projects include Jordan Downs, Imperial Courts, and
Nickerson Gardens, which were built during World War II to house
workers for the war industries. Now that the industrial jobs are
gone, they house a large number of families suffering from rampant Above: Watts Towers, Los Angeles, California.
poverty and the constant threat of crime. For years, Watts and its
housing projects have been engulfed in a turf war involving some We made the decision to provide some instruction in Watts
of L.A.s most dangerous gangs, including the Grape Street Crips, at a recreational center and the rest on the C.S.U.D.H. campus. I
Bounty Hunters, Watts Bloods, PJ Watts Crips, and the Circle City felt is was important to show them that a college campus isnt an
Piru Bloods. Many of the young people in this part of the city feel intimidating place.
that joining a gang is the only option, and the Youth Initiative is on I wasnt entirely sure what to expect on my first Saturday
a mission to change that. The L.A.P.D., the L.A. mayors office, and morning with the kids. I was a bit nervous, but also excited about
former gang members are also directly involved with the program. finally meeting everyone. After a brief introduction, we played
Tension between different gangs as well as different ethnic a few classical pieces and did a blues jam for the class. They were
groups prevents many young people from venturing beyond their mesmerized! The next few Saturdays were spent in small groups
particular neighborhoods. The Youth Initiative asked me to find learning how to play simple chords and single-line melodies. Their
a way to use guitar to teach things like conflict resolution, work- enthusiasm was contagious, and the three-hour sessions flew by.
ing with others, and confidence building. Having been a member Some parents also attended the class and asked questions about
of numerous chamber ensembles, and having spent fifteen years what type of guitars to buy and how to encourage their kids love of
directing student guitar ensembles, I knew that I had to get these music. One group of three boys told me they were going to form a
kids to play music together. The idea was simple: take kids from professional trio and become famous, and I believe them! Im really
different neighborhoods and put them together in a room to learn looking forward to the fall semester when I resume my work with
basic guitar technique and simple ensemble music. Little Kids Rock the program.
sent us twenty-five guitars and DAddario supplied the strings. The
students at the university were also eager to help, even though it was Scott Morris is a performer, teacher, and recording artist. He currently
strictly a volunteer job. serves as the director of the guitar program at California State University
Dominguez Hills. He and his colleagues there are set to host the GFA
Convention in 2014. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 61
From the Professional Community
Starting the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival by David Feffer

In 1972, after graduating from college, I picked up a steel string Personally, I have gotten to spend two full weeks with Scott
guitar to play Country Roads and other standards. After a few Tennant, one with Dennis Koster, three with Andrew Leonard, and
months, I purchased a Segovia recording and traded for a Guild time with all of the otherssomething I never could have imag-
Mark IVbeginning my four-decade journey with the classical ined. Each year I leave the workshop with a personal guitar game
guitar. Having a music background, I bought Noads Solo Guitar plan for next twelve months, which I supplement with an occasional
Playing to teach myself. I practiced diligently and took a few lessons Skype lesson. This past year, Dennis Koster read me the riot act. I
where I was introduced to additional material. As long as I had time needed to reach for a higher level. He suggested starting with the
to practice, I made good progress. However, with graduate school, Villa-Lobos Prelude No. 1 in E Minor and the Bach Prelude in D
my career, and a family, it was difficult to be consistent. I would dive Minor. A week later, a package arrived from Dennis with a
in intensively for two or three months, and then play only intermit- seven-page handwritten letter and an annotated score for the
tently. There were gaps of several months between playing. This was Villa-Lobos piece. I am working measure by measure to play these.
terribly frustrating, and after seven years of fits and spurts, I put the This has been a fun and rewarding personal journey for me, and
guitar in the closet until I could commit myself. I told my family one that I look forward to continuing to follow for the rest of the
that during the second half of my life, I would dedicate myself to the second half of my life.
classical guitar. They simply rolled their eyes and humored me.
In 2003, it was time to begin my pursuit of the guitar. I was
fifty-five, approaching the end of my career, living in Key West, and
our children were grown. I took the guitar out from under the bed
and began playing two to three hours each day. I made progress and
enjoyed myself. After a few years, I realized that I needed formal
instruction. I enrolled in the National Guitar Workshop to study
with Andrew Leonard and Benjamin Verdery in July 2008, a
fabulous guitar experience! I started over, gaining an understand-
ing of proper technique and making a plan to learn. Andrew and I
continued via the phone, Skype, and in-person lessons.
The following summer, I invited Andrew to Montana to give
me lessons and to perform. The response to his concerts was over-
whelmingly positive. So, late that Sunday evening, Andrew, my Above top: A class session held at Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop
guitarist son, and brother-in-law sat at the kitchen counter enjoy- and Festival.

ing some of Kentuckys finest bourbon, dreaming of holding a first-

class guitar workshop featuring leading guitarists and teachers in a David Feffer is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Crown of the
spectacular setting of Bigfork, Montana. In our bourbon haze, we Continent Guitar Festival, a non-profit organization dedicated to the
mused over students and their families coming together with the artistry of the guitar and the magical splendor of Montana. For more
finest faculty and artists in an intimate, supportive community information on their festival and concert series, including tickets and
environment. Why not? registration, please visit:
Now entering the fourth year, our non-profit Crown of
the Continent Guitar Foundations core goal remains the same:
Celebrating the artistry of the guitar across all genres and the
magical splendor of Montana. The vision of establishing the Flat-
head Valley as an international center for the guitar is well under
way. Students from throughout the world have come to study
with Scott Tennant, Dennis Koster, Pat Metheny, Joe Bonamassa,
Lee Ritenour, Steve Lukather, Chris Hillman, Julian Lage,
Patty Larkin, Sonny Landreth, Alex de Grassi, Andrew Leonard,
Jody Fisher, Matt Smith, and many more.

62 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

From the Professional Community
Starting All Strings Consideredby Scott Wolf

This past year I found myself driving to three different adjunct long conversation in front of a microphone. Twenty hours of editing
teaching jobs: one in San Diego, one slightly to the east of Los later, including at least fifteen calls to my recording engineer guru
Angeles, and another in Orange County. Amounting to a little over a Kai Narezo and just as many times hearing my then-fianc ask, Are
thousand miles of frustrated road time every week, my sole refuge, at you really going to repeat that sentence again?, I had completed the
least at first, was audiobooks. And no, nothing mind-expanding, no first episode of All Strings Considered.
new languages, nothing educational, just trashy detective novels and If you havent yet heard the show, please allow me to introduce it
fantasy, as I quested for something to numb the impatience, and to to you. My aim is to create something inspiring and entertaining for
halt the steady propagation of an ugly case of road rage. professional musicians, and on the other hand, to present amateur
Eventually I found audiobooks less diverting and conse- and non-musicians with an engaging way to encounter some great
quently far less effective. I began searching out other ways to music and perhaps learn a little something about it. Much like most
occupy my mind during those exceptionally tedious hours on the modern-day classical concerts, I endeavor to make each episode part
road. Radio wasnt really an option, when you drive a hundred miles music, part story, and part educational. The podcast platform makes
one way, theres no radio station that can quite go the distance, and that recipe easy to make, and since Im doing all the editing, I enjoy
I found that teaching guitar and other general music courses left me the added bonus of cramming as much of my nerdy humor into each
with a desire for something other than listening to music. Finally I episode as I think my audience can handle.
happened upon podcasts. Ive been told again and again that musicians are rarely able to
Podcasts are awesome! Downloading or streaming to that futur- follow a single career path, that we have to build a reasonable income
istic device I find myself increasingly dependent upon, I can listen out of lots of smaller, and often unreasonable, income sources. I was
to shows of incredible variety and originality, without those pesky caught in the mindset that that meant testing my sanity by driving
commercials, and on my own schedule. Alongside a myriad of other far and wide to lots of part-time faculty teaching jobs. Starting the
convenient benefits, you can pause and rewind at your leisure, which podcast, I realized that I had been too fixed and inflexible in my
is glorious when you need a moment on the road to converse with path. After going in a new direction, I feel like I have glimpsed a
another driver who is conscientiously sharing the road with you, different view of my career and future, one now full of new and
at which point you suddenly realize you have lost your place. I could invigorating possibilities. While Im not really generating income
learn science from Radiolab, architecture and design in surprisingly from All Strings Considered, I have my first sponsor, I covered this
varied perspectives from 99% Invisible, and grin or brush a tear from years GFA Competition in Kentucky, I have regular chats with
my eye hearing true stories live (well, almost live) on a show called people I admire and whose music and stories inspire me, I get to pass
The Moth. that inspiration on to my listeners, and all without driving a mile!
Occasionally, Radiolab does an episode on something
musical. One I found especially profound deals with the universality
of music and musics ubiquitous role in human communication.
Additionally, that episode included a segment introducing and
explaining perfect pitch, and even a bit on how we react to new
(and often more dissonant) music using the riot at the
premier of Stravinskys Rite of Spring as their example. I began
using that episode, Musical Language, as an assignment in my
general music courses and saw my students resulting excitement and
increased engagement. I wanted more. I found a little.
Left: Scott Wolf.
Of course it was in the car that I came up with the idea of
creating a podcast. As the wheels turned, I realized I could potential-
ly do something valuable for the musical community, using the very
same gadgets we so often remind people to turn off at the beginnings Scott Wolf is the creator and host of the podcast All Strings Considered.
of our concerts. When I arrived at Scott Tennants place for a cup He completed his D.M.A at the University of Southern California. This
of his stellar espresso, I brought it up to him. Being the adventur- summer, he served as the official reviewer at the 2013 GFA Convention
ous and fun-loving guy that Scott is, he agreed without hesitation in Louisville, Kentucky.
to be the first interviewee. A week later, Scott and I had an hour- Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 63

From the Professional Community
Guitar Composition in Music and Fine Art: Picassos Still Life with Guitar.
by Kim Kanoy
In the early 1900s, one of Pablo Picassos most depicted subjects certainly exists in guitar composition and performance. The com-
was the guitar. His Andalusian flamenco heritage, his studies of art, poser becomes one with the composition that he or she is writing
and his time spent in the culture-filled cafes of Paris and Barcelona and the player becomes one with the instrumentit is held closely
most certainly provided him vast exposure to the guitar and its reper- to the body in the manner of an embrace. The intimacy between
toire. In 1912, Picasso and Georges Braque developed the synthetic composers and their compositions and performers and their
cubism form of art composition, where forms became synthesized performances take on a dimensionality that they each personally
by the addition of applied materials to the canvas, like newsprint, share with their audiencejust as Picassos intimacy with his
wallpaper, paper, and string. It was this style of cubism that gave Guitar is visually apparent to the observer.
Picasso the impetus to create Still Life with Guitar. This article dis- The genius of Picassos Still Life with Guitar lies in its visual
cusses parallels between this work of art and composition for guitar. simplicityusing everyday materials to create an extraordinary work
Where previous cubist work was limited to the flat rectilinear of art. So too, the result of fine guitar composition reveals its genius
ground of a canvas, Picassos Still Life with Guitar came from his when realized in performance, whether the piece is technically simple
ingenious idea to deconstruct the usual cubist two-dimensional or complex. Perhaps even Picasso dreamed of a desire to compose
approach and physically reconstruct the planar surfaces of cubist music for guitar. Although he did not compose music, what we do
form into a three-dimensional composition. In choosing the guitar have are his fine art compositions to enjoy through the agesjust as
as subject, he may have considered the dimensionality of its sound we have those of the great composers for guitar!
also a factor also considered by the composer for guitar. The flat
canvas of a musical score attains dimension and meaning when it
is performed. Perhaps Picasso considered composing this particu-
lar artwork in three-dimension in order to enhance and expand its
meaningto give it volume. Where music composition creates its Photo of artwork unavailable for print.
dimension through the construction of audible layers using musical To view Picassos Still Life with Guitar,
elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, and form), Picassos guitar, scan the QR code (right) or go to:
in its physical layered construction, was composed using readily
available material elements (paperboard, paper, painted wire, wood,
string, glue, and tape). Note: Picasso was also involved in the musical arts. In 1919, he
Another correlation between Picassos Guitar and music com- designed sets and costumes for the London premier of El sombrero de
position is the comparison of their ephemeral or transitory quali- tres picos, music by Manuel de Falla, commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev
ties. He must have realized that the everyday materials he used in of the Ballets russes.
his crude construction would someday disintegrate. Perhaps this
work was created only as Anne Umland (exhibit curator for MoMAs Kim Kanoy, GFA Advertising
2011 Picasso Guitars 19121914) surmised, as a maquette for his Manager and Publications
1914 more permanent sheet metal version. Just as Picassos mixed Art Director, graduated with
media Guitar might eventually decay, so to the transitory quality of a B.A. in Art History from
music itselfwhether it is the sound of music or the composi- Salem College, Winston-
tion. The course of time over which sound travels is measured; there Salem, North Carolina. Her
is a beginning and an end. The properties that comprise music are interest in music, art, and
ephemeral and non-tangible. A composition may be forgotten or art history continue, along
lost if not written. with her work for GFA and
Another compositional aspect likely considered in the creation the operation of her graphic
of this work is the intimacy relating to Picassos fascination with the design firm, Kanoy Design.
illusion of the human bodyparticularly the female figure represen-
tation seen in the shape and form of the guitar. The hourglass curva-
ture of the guitar body is similar to the shape of a womans body. The
illusion of feminine shape and form infers intimacy, and intimacy

64 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

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Recordings to Revisit
Ida Presti: The Solo Recordings by Candice Mowbray

Ida Presti (1924-1967) was a virtuoso guitarist whose work as

a soloist and duo partner exemplified the highest levels of classical
guitar performance. As evidenced in her recordings and remem-
bered by those who heard her perform, Prestis virtuosity worked
in the service of her interpretive imagination and expression. As we
look forward to the ninetieth celebration of Prestis birth, revisiting
her recordings is to the benefit of all who love guitar. Recordings
of Presti performing in duet with her husband, Alexandre Lagoya
(1929-1999), are plentiful and worthwhile acquisitions for all music Above: The Art of Ida Presti
(Istituto Discografico Italiano, 2012)
enthusiasts. The released solo recordings by Presti are more limited
in quantity, but offer views of Presti as a both a child prodigy and a
mature performer.
Prestis earliest solo recordings were made in 1938 when In Prestis recording of Evocacin cubana by Pujol, listeners
she was about fourteen years old. She recorded Allegretto from can observe Presti as a mature performer and hear trademark charac-
the Sonatina by Federico Moreno Torroba (1891-1982), teristics of her interpretive style. Her execution of pizzicato is excep-
Romance from the Grand Sonata in A Major by Niccol Paganini tional. Melodies are wonderfully connected. The harmonics, slurs
(1782-1840), Rumores de la Gaieta by Isaac Albniz (1860-1909), and scale passages are deftly performed. Prestis ease of technique and
Serenata espagnole by Joaqun Malats (1872-1912), Andaluza by her innate rhythmic sense allow for the playful and expressive use of
Daniel Fortea (1878-1953), four movements from the Suite in rubato, thus creating a communicative quality to the statement of
D Minor by Robert de Vise (c.1655-1732), and a courante by each musical idea. This is enhanced by Prestis changing tone colors.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). These recordings belie the This collection of recordings is also special for its inclusion
age of the performer and elicited contemporaneous comparisons to of two compositions written by Lagoya in dedication to Presti.
Andrs Segovia (1893-1987). Rverie is a lovely, slower-tempo work that is sentimental in
Some of the musical ideas represented in this collection of character, while Caprice is more whimsical and spritely. The
repertoire include: harmonics, glissandi, parallel octaves, Alberti bass opportunity to hear these works interpreted by the dedicatee is a
accompaniments, rapid scale passages, counterpoint, ornaments, privilege echoed by Lagoyas concurrent solo recording of Prestis
slurs, vibrato, pizzicato, and contrasts of timbre. Melodic lines and Danse rythmique.
phrases are well defined and the performances display her intrinsic Recordings of the Presti-Lagoya Duo are legendary, but the
connection to rhythm. There is a noticeable absence of mis-fretted few solo recordings of Presti also give evidence to the remarkable
notes, string noises or other mistakes. Each composition is not only abilities of this fantastic performer. Listeners have the chance to hear
performed cleanly, but is also expressive and energetic. Prestis attributes as guitarist in a solo setting: robust tone, expressive
Prestis recordings from 1938, along with recordings by vibrato, clear pizzicato, colorful timbres, technical virtuosity, and
Luise Walker (1910-1998), were made available on a compact disc vitality. Prestis performances, as a soloist and duo partner, exemplify
titled Les grandes dames de la guitare (Pavilion Records, 1995). John what can be achieved when technical skill is matched with superla-
Duarte (1919-2004) wrote liner notes for this disc in which he tive musicianship.
stated, Prestis technique was awe-inspiring and if it had limits
these never became apparent, but it was unfailingly placed at the Candice Mowbray studied the work of Ida Presti while pursuing her
service of the music. The same recordings were recently reissued on D.M.A. at Shenandoah Conservatory. She is an active performer, teacher,
a disc titled The Art of Ida Presti (Istituto Discografico Italiano, 2012). and scholar in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
In addition to the childhood recordings of Presti, this disc includes
five recordings from 1956 and a track salvaged from a television
performance during which Presti played Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-
1959) first Prelude for guitar. The 1956 recordings include Andante
Largo by Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Evocacin cubana (Guajira)
by Emilio Pujol (1886-1980), Rverie and Caprice by Lagoya, and
Andante from the second Violin Sonata by Bach.

66 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Gear Review
Onymyrrhe and Miros Nail Oil by Christopher Mallett

I started my quest to find the perfect nail product during my

senior year of college. My graduate school auditions were performed
with two acrylic nails and another nail barely hanging on. I tried
almost everything available to strengthen them, but nothing seemed
to work. I finally got my hands on Onymyrrhe (pronounced On-E-
Above: Miros Nail Oil (left) and Onymyrrhe (right).
Onymyrrhe is a natural nail product that contains only one
ingredient, myrrh, which is extracted from the myrrh plant. While suggests to massage a drop of oil on the nail and fingertips fifteen
most products are applied directly to the fingernail, Onymyrrhe is minutes before a concert. I actually find myself massaging it on my
applied once daily to the matrix of the nail, the area located directly right hand fingertips before every practice session providing more
below the cuticle. After I apply it to each finger, I massage it in for lubrication and ease across the strings. The bottle is small, but can
roughly forty-five seconds, and then wash it off. Although this may last for up to five months.
seem like a rigorous procedure for some guitarists who do not wish I am very pleased with the results I have gotten. I also use these
to add more time to their daily nail regimen, it can prove to be products on my students nails and they work great, especially on my
well worth it. According to the instructions, you will see a difference very young students who have thin/brittle nails. Since using these
within sixteen weeks. I definitely noticed a positive change in my products, I have yet to break a nail in six years!
nails before that.
Onymyrrhe is available at:
Another nail product I use daily is an oil developed by Swedish
Miros Nail Oil is available at:
guitarist Miro Simic. It contains seventeen essential oils and is also
100% natural. Miros nail oil is applied to the cuticle and the nail Christopher Mallett is the co-director of the California Conservatory of
daily. Unlike Onymyrrhe, Miros oil stays on the nail. I apply the oil Guitar in Santa Clara, California. He holds an M.M. in Guitar Performance
several times a day to keep my nails moisturized. On the bottle, Miro from the Yale School of Music and a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory.


Classical Guitar
Grades 9-12 June - August


I am ...
Grades 9-12 September - May
a musician
expressive ... an artist Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 67

The logo must never be altered in any way.

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Never scale the logo smaller then .25 in height for print media or 18 pixels for digital media.
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GFA News Guitar News Around the World

2013 GFA Convention and Competition Michael Kudirka Joins
We had record high attendance and a wonderful celebration of Faculty at U.N.C.S.A.
GFAs fortieth anniversary at the annual convention in Louisville, Guitarist Michael Kudirka will
Kentucky this year. If you missed it, check out our convention blog be joining the faculty of the Uni-
for a summary of all convention events: versity of North Carolina School of
An upcoming issue of Soundboard will include an extensive wrap-up. the Arts (U.N.C.S.A.) as an Artist/
Congratulations to our competition winners! In the GFA Teacher of Guitar. U.N.C.S.A., part
International Youth Competition, Junior Division, first prize went to of the University of North Carolina
Grace Sheppard (U.S.A.). Second prize went to Katie Cho (U.S.A.). system, contains a four-year board-
Third prize went to Beiyan Liu (China), and fourth prize to Alberto ing arts high school, Bachelors,
Quintanilla (Mexico). In the GFA International Youth Competi- Masters, and performance certifi-
tion, Senior Division, first prize went to XiaoBo Pu (China), second cate programs. Located in Winston-
prize to Louis Xavier Barrette (Canada), third prize to Alec Holcomb Salem, North Carolina, the school
(U.S.A.), and fourth prize to Henry Johnston (U.S.A.). In the GFA houses departments of Dance, Design and Production, Drama, Film-
International Concert Artist Competition, first prize went to Anton making, Music, and Visual Arts. U.N.C.S.A. has a thriving guitar
Baranov (Russia), second prize to Artyom Dervoed (Russia), third program with two studios, each with twelve students.
prize to Chad Ibison (U.S.A.), and fourth prize to You Wang (China). Kudirka will be moving to U.N.C.S.A. after teaching full-time
at the Interlochen Arts Academy for two years. During those two
2014 GFA Convention years, he brought about a significant increase in applications and
and Competition enrollment to the guitar program, hosted a variety of guest artists
Dont forget to mark such as William Kanengiser, Duo Amaral (Jorge Amaral & Mia
your calendars for GFA Pomerantz-Amaral), Jeremy Collins, and Stevan Jovi. He also spear-
Convention 2014 from headed Interlochens new Internet 2 video conferencing system by
June 20-25, 2014. Well collaborating with Jason Vieaux on two master class exchanges. His
be returning to California students have gone on to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music,
State University Domin- Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin, Manhattan School of Music,
guez Hills (C.S.U.D.H.) and California State University.
with Scott Morris and
Matthew Greif as our
hosts. For those of you who were with us in 2007 at C.S.U.D.H.,
you may remember some wonderful aspects of the venue:
an ideal Vendors Expo space, a nice theater, and close prox-
imity to the major transportation hub of the Los Angeles
International Airport. There is now great on-campus housing
available for our use during the convention period. These newly
renovated apartments will be comfortable and convenient living for
all participants. The nature of this housing will allow us all to stay in
one location, and have a great social environment on top of all the
great convention events that will fill our days. This will be a conven-
tion to remember!

70 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Julian Gray Joins Faculty of
Shenandoah Conservatory
This fall, Julian Gray will
be joining the faculty of the
Shenandoah Conservatory of
the Shenandoah University in
Winchester, Virginia, where he
has been appointed as Profes-
sor of Music and Director of the
Guitar Studies. As he begins
his new role at Shenandoah, he
will remain Chair of the Guitar
Department at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins
University, continuing his studio there.
Julian Grays career over three decades include critically- Kim Perlak Named Assistant Chair of the
acclaimed recordings on the Dorian-Sono Luminus label and Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music
concert appearances and masterclasses throughout the U.S.A., This fall, Kim Perlak (Editor-in-Chief of Soundboard) will be
Canada, and Europe. His work in helping to establish the joining the guitar faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston,
guitar duo repertoire include his many arrangements for duo with Massachusetts, as the Assistant Chair of the Guitar Department.
partners Ronald Pearl and Serap Bastepe-Gray and the commission- With more than one thousand guitar students and sixty faculty
ing and premieres of works by composers such as Roberto Sierra, members, guitar is the largest instrumental department at Berklee.
David Leisner, Gilbert Biberian, Loris Chobanian, William Bland, The curriculum offers a wide range of stylistic instructionfrom the
Oliver Hunt, and Benjamin Verdery. His students are frequent top traditional to the most contemporary styles.
prize winners at major national and international solo guitar, guitar Perlak comes to Berklee with her experience creating, running,
concerto, and chamber ensemble competitions, and his many and teaching for various programs in Austin, Texas, and beyond,
former students are members of University, College and including: Concordia University-Texas, Austin Community
Conservatory faculties in the U.S.A., Europe, and Asia. College, and the National Guitar Workshop. She stated, I am
In commenting on his new position, Gray stated, I am thrilledand honoredto join such a dynamic and creative
tremendously pleased to become a member of the faculty of the community of musicians. As a Massachusetts native, and with
Shenandoah Conservatory. With a long tradition of excellence and friends from many different parts of my musical life working here,
community, exciting new hires, such as the great Irish pianist John coming to Berklee is like coming home.
OConor, and Jonathan Snowden (former principal flute of the
For more information about guitar studies at Berklee, please visit:
London Philharmonic), and the visionary leadership of Dean
Michael Stepniak, I see nothing but the most exciting prospects for
the Conservatorys future. I am also looking forward to exploring
the creative synergies possible between the Shenandoah and Peabody
New Classical Guitar Radio Show
The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society is pleased to announce
Conservatories and partnerships with Shenandoahs vibrant Theatre
its new classical guitar show, hosted by the Radio Arts Founda-
and Dance programs.
tion St. Louis ( on analog radio at FM107.3 and in
For more information about the Shenandoah Conservatory, please hybrid digital at KIHT HD2 (96.3). Content is also streamed
visit: live at: Archives of the show will be available on the St.
Louis Classical Guitar Society website for later listening access at:
The show, called Inside Classical Guitar, is produced and
funded through the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society. The show
host is William Ash, St. Louis Classical Guitar Society President.
The co-host is long-time St. Louis Radio personality, John Clayton.
The general focus of Inside Classical Guitar will be to feature
interviews and quality recordings of classical guitaristsboth
emerging talent and established artists. Many of the players to be
featured will be those that the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society has
sponsored or will be sponsoring in live performance. Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 71
Luis Bonfa. Manh de Carnaval. Chris Duming. Pastorale and Dance.
Arranged by Bernard Cyrloud. Saint-Romuald: For flute, viola and guitar. Walsrode: Edition Daminus, 2010
Les Productions dOZ, 2011 [DZ 1557]. 12 pp. $10.00. [DAM 195 ED]. 7 pp. No price given.

Bonfs song from the 1959 movie, Black Orpheus, has It makes me very happy whenever I receive some new title by
become exceptionally well-known, with thousands of different German Edition Daminus. As I was among the first authors to have
recordings having been made over the last half-century. Bernard the privilege to cooperate with its founder and director, Norbert
Cyrloud is a French physician, who is also a magnificent guitarist. His Dams, for several decades I have witnessed a slow-but-steady and
arrangement here is dedicated jointly to Baden Powell, Paco de successful growth of this guitar publisher, specializing both in sheet
Lucia, and Roland Dyens, and really requires the technical ability of music and guitar discography. Pastorale and Dance is meant for a
any of these four artists to pull off properly. Rasgueados, harmonics, combination of three instruments whose sounds can be perfectly
tremolo passages, the whole nine yards come into play here. This balanced. Author Chris Duming is highly experienced and quite
is an exceptional arrangement, certainly on a peer level with Toru capable of writing a good and interesting piece. His nice ideas, nice
Takemitsus song arrangements, worthy of concert performance and themes result in a good guitar chamber piece. Uro Dojinovi
the attention of any serious artist. David Norton
Andrew Zohn. Con pulso.
Thierry Tisserand. Armor. Saint-Romuald: Les Productions dOZ, 2011 [DZ 1593].
Saint-Romuald: Les Productions dOZ, 2009 [DZ 1290]. 10 pp. $10.00.
4 pp. $5.00.
Guitarist Andrew Zohn has directed the guitar program at
The afore-mentioned Dr. Cyrloud is the dedicatee of this Columbus State University, Georgia, for many years now. The par-
next piece, and he has made a fine recording of the work. The title ticular composition, dedicated to the Chilean guitarist Carlos Prez,
required some research to make sense of, as the music clearly has was written in the spring of 2011 and premiered by Zohn in a recital
nothing to do with le 40e Rgiment dArtillerie, nor any other at Columbus State University in late September of the same year.
militaristic relationship. The cover photo, of clove-studded limes Con pulso is written in a driving samba-like style. Once you have
and kumquats, didnt help much either. It turns out that the title of launched into it, theres really no place to pause and take a breath.
Armor refers to Armorica, an ancient name for the Brittany region The notation looks more complex than it is, beginning with arpeg-
of western France and home to the Celtic tribes of pre-Roman Gaul. giated left-hand block chords creating gently dissonant harmonies.
The words Celt, Gaul, and Galicia (in northern Spain) all have A little initial uncertainty comes from trying to sort out B (open
an etymological relationship to one another. second) from B flat (fourth string), but it soon all makes sense. The
Tisserands composition is in two movements, Prelude and main melody kicks in at measure 14, and comes in and out of focus
Dance. Both are in the key of E minor, allowing for liberal use of for the balance of the piece. Overall this is a fun composition for
open strings and intentional over-ringing. There is a very strong those who enjoy Latin spiciness at Grade 5-6 level. David Norton
Celtic flavor to both sections, with the driving 12/8 meter of the
Dance sure to set the listeners toes a-tapping. A rock-solid pulse is
mandatory here; this is country dance music of the highest sort
and no wavering of the downbeats please. The Prelude is somewhat
more loosely constructed, but here again it is not meant to be an
improvisational free for all. Overall a Grade 3-4 level is all that is
needed, and a good sense of pulse. David Norton

72 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Gilbert Clamens. Con-tem-po. Brian Wright. In Memoriam Geoffrey Burgon (Variations on
For guitar and cello. Qubec: Les Productions dOZ, 2008 Nunc dimittis). St. Albans: Corda Music Publications, 2011
[DZ 1183]. 7 pp. $12.00. [CMP40] 19 pp. $9.00.

Winning several international guitar competitions and teaching One of the main reasons I enjoy doing reviews for Sound-
his instrument at the Conservatoire de musique et de danse du Tarn board is the opportunity to come across fine new compositions,
Albi, Gilbert Clamens has also become a prolific composer and and this one is a true gem. Nunc dimittis is the title of the theme
arranger, with great passion for world music. As the author states, music adapted by Geoffrey Burgon (from a Gregorian chant) for the
Spain is the particular land of his predilection. To date, Clamens has 1979 BBC TV adaptation of John Le Carrs Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,
composed over forty works for different media (theater, film, CD Spy, and was instantly ranked in the Top Ten for the U.K. at the
recordings, radios, concerts, etc.). His guitar and violoncello duet, time the series was in vogue. Composer Wright was a colleague of
Con-tem-po, written in 2002 reflects a Latin style, and shows the Burgons, having first met in grade school in the 1950s before both
composers passion for Piazzollas music. The composition was orig- men went on to be very successful composers. Burgons music
inally a trio for guitar, bandoneon, and recorder, and was recorded writing was strongly influenced by the compositions of Benjamin
in 2007 by Roberta Roman, Marisa Mercade, and Isabelle Sajot on Britten and by medieval music.
their CD, ngeles y demonios. Burgon died in 2010, and Wright composed this tribute
In this duo version, the piece starts energetically and rhythmi- shortly thereafter. Drawing on the medieval inspiration for Nunc
cally with syncopated cello harmonics before the archetypical minor dimittis; In memoriam, Wright has composed his In Memoriam in
sixth chord appears on the guitar. The chord structure wherein the similar style. It is specified for guitar, with the third string tuned to F-
sixth (C-sharp) drops to a C-natural is taken straight from one of sharp. In point of fact, Wright is an accomplished professional lute-
Piazzollas standard openings, so a sense of dislocation briefly occurs nist himself, and this work is a very convincing modern addition to
as to whose music you are hearing. The introduction carries through the renaissance lute repertoire. There is a very good YouTube record-
into the next few bars until the first real theme appears on the cello, ing of this on the lute, performed by the Dutch lutenist, David van
with the guitar continuing its syncopated bass note/chord figura- Ooijen. In parallel, there is also a guitar version on YouTube, played
tion. The mood remains the same until a Con fuoco e ritmico section in standard tuning, by Oliver Eidam, who incidentally assisted
where the guitar has tricky semiquaver motifs atop a rocking cello Wright in the editing process.
line. This develops into four bars of 5/8, leading in turn to Andante To the music itself. This is a big no-nonsense concert work,
espressivo given first to the guitar as a solo for the first ten bars. After running a full nineteen minutes. The movements are laid out in
the cellos return, the tune is given over to the guitar with artificial a palindromic manner: I. Slow and reflectively, II. Moto perpetuo,
harmonics before a repetition, which returns us to the opening speed III. Fuguetta, IV. Dance, V. Tombeau, VI. Dance, VII. Fuguetta,
for once more through the main part. Finally a 5/8 coda gradually VIII. Moto perpetuo, and at last (and in true Britten fashion), IX.
winds down into a glissando sweep from the guitar and trills from Thema. The three repeated movement titles do not particularly share
both instruments. The total duration of this pleasing duet should be the same material, except to the extent this is a theme-and-varia-
a bit less than seven minutes. Uro Dojinovi tions. All the movements work very well in the F-sharp tuning, save
for the central Tombeau which is written in C minor (so standard
Mikhail Sytchev. Rondo. tuning isnt especially graceful here, either). The other movements
Saint-Romuald: Les Productions dOZ, 2009 [DZ 1290]. are in D major or B minor, for the most part. The cycle opens and
7 pp. $8.00. closes with a series of nine D/F-sharp harmonics at the twelfth fret.
We are told in the notes that in sixteenth century England, the
Several issues ago, I reviewed a composition by the composer tolling of nine bells meant that someone of importance had died.
entitled Farewell, and hoped that there wasnt some sort of none- Again, a very clear indication that we are visitors to the aural land of
too-hidden message being communicated. Fortunately for all of us, John Dowland and William Byrd with this piece, though many of
it appears that Sytchev is still very much among us, and this Rondo is the harmonies used by Wright would not have been even contem-
his most recent offering. This is a composition in which the notated plated in that era. This is not a neo-Tudor pastiche, by any means.
rests really have to be strictly observed, a fact often not completely From a technical view, it is not a particularly difficult piece
honored by guitarists. The texture is two-voice writing for the most to master. I would put it on par with Sors Fantaisie lgiaque Op.
part, with occasional denser chords used to make an emphasis. The 59, or Weisss Tombeau. It is several degrees easier than Brittens
melodic line spends some time dwelling in the upper parts of the Nocturnal, to be sure! The real trick for a successful performance
fretboard, so it is imperative that the player can read fifteenth-, six- is to display sufficient emotion and tonal nuance. Theres not a lot
teenth-, seventeenth-fret notations clearly. Highly recommended for of technical flashiness here, it is very mournful and introspective.
the Grade 3-4 player. David Norton Highest possible recommendation for this one. David Norton Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 73


Jens Franke and Stuart Willis (editors). SoloDuo (Matteo Meli and Lorenzo Micheli, guitars).
Baroque Guitar Anthology, Vol 2. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco [:] The Well-Tempered Guitars [:]
Mainz: Schott Music, 2012 [ED13437]. 36 pp. + CD. $19.95. 24 Preludes and Fugues. Solaria Sol 201201, 2012 (two discs).

Here is Volume 2 of a two-volume collection of music written Any new recording by SoloDuo is a cause for celebration,
for the thirteen-course lute or the five-course guitar between 1620 especially when they release what is likely to be a definitive account
and 1750. The intended audience is students at Grade 3 or 4. There of an important work. (I have not heard the complete recording
are twenty-five pieces, by some well-known names (Vise, Weiss, by the brilliant Brasil Guitar Duo; the honor of definitive might
Corbetta) and others, such as Daube, Conradi, Hagen, and Bittner. well be shared!)
All the selections are quite short, save for a pair of Minuets by Weiss Castelnuovo-Tedesco was inspired by the great Ida Presti and
that conclude the book. These last ones were recorded by Segovia Alexandre Lagoya, writing forty-eight pieces in the amazing span
in 1969, and are worth concert performance. The CD (included) of just a few months in 1962. Sadly, Presti and Lagoya were able
provides the student with a good rendering of each piece, and makes to record only the E-major pair before Prestis tragically early death
for pleasant listening on its own. David Norton in 1967. The music is amazingly inventive. Despite the rapidity
of its composition, Tedesco doesnt repeat himself and every piece
David Gaudreau. Prlude, Cantabile. sounds fresh. The compositional requirement of using many keys,
Qubec: Les Productions dOz, 2012 [DZ1719]. 3 pp. $5.00. which seldom occur in the guitar literature, likely reduced the use
of clichs.
Prlude and Cantabile are beautiful, simple pieces. They are Since we are dealing with fifty works herethe duo includes
both in E major and travel through multiple positions comfort- the Fuga elegiaca written after Prestis deathI shall not attempt
ably. Prlude includes use of open strings even while in higher description of the individual pieces. Lorenzo Michelis admirable
positions. The Cantabile is more nostalgic with a handful of modern notes give a good overview of the composers approaches. Nonethe-
harmonies. More fingering would be helpful learning the pieces less, I must mention a few special favorites.
and tempo indications would be nice. Each piece is a single page in Disc 1: The A-minor prelude has a wonderful series of rapid
length. Both pieces are fairly easy to sight read through and are fun undulating lines with occasional moments of repose leading into
to play. Amy Hite a lyrical fugue. The E-major set (recorded by Presti and Lagoya)
begins with a beautiful melody over a rapid arpeggio accom-
paniment leading to a very Italian section and then to a light-
hearted bourre fugue. The quite unexpected B-flat major prelude
is a rumba with a very Tedescan burlesque march as its fugue.
The F-minor set is an eerie and sad pair of considerable depth.
Disc 2: The opening G-major prelude is a wonderful series
of arabesques leading to a conversational fugue shared by the guitars. The rather Scottish sounding A-major prelude is inspired
800-513-8271 by the Whitman poem, I Hear America Singing. (Really.) Another
poem, this time by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, is the inspiration
for the E-flat major prelude. Its fugue is a whimsical siciliana. Rapid
Strings | CDs | DVDs | Sheet Music passages run throughout the Allegretto mefistofelico B-flat minor
prelude and lend a devilish charm to the fugue as well.
Cejillas | Foot Rests | Stands | Tuners As the set concludes, the improvisando melody of the
Guitar Supports | Straps | Humidifiers C-minor prelude sounds like a bit of Django Reinhardt at the
Metronomes | Picks and much more beginning, then becomes a rather strict fugue subject, showing its
versatility. Despite the above citations, be assured there are no
duds in the set. It is a remarkable compositional achievement.
The performers achievement is on an equal level, every work
ideally realized and beautifully played. The recorded sound does
not let down the enterprise at all, being both warm and detailed.
Al Kunze

74 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3

Otto Tolonen. Tiento Franais [:] Twentieth Century French lovely miniature, using some intriguing techniques. The remaining
and Spanish Guitar Music. Works by Ibert, Samazeuilh, Auric, works on the disc are far less ingratiating. I found Leslie Bassetts
Tailleferre, Milhaud, Poulenc, Ohana, Migot, Roussel, Asencio, Temperaments often irritating: de rigueur modernisms of the kind
and Satie. Alba Records ABCD 357, 2013. roundly and rightly rejected by audiences. Libby Larsen is one of
Americas most celebrated composers. Her output spans decades and
I dont want to sound too imperious, but you need this disc. genres, and includes other works for guitar. But I found the pieces
Otto Tolonens Tiento franais is gorgeous. He is a brilliant player recorded here to be rather flat in effect. The short four-movement
and a musician of tremendous insight. When he plays, one is aware Argyle Sketches are inoffensive, but do little to hold the listeners
of not only flawless technique, but also masterly use of tone color, interest. The short, unconventional Sarabande and Tango are more
articulation, rubato, and dynamics. Most impressive. And the interesting pieces, but leave little behind. Cote plays these pieces and
program! Only a listener with an astonishing knowledge of the the Bassett work very well, nonetheless, I found myself yearning for
repertoire will not meet many pieces never previously encountered them to be over. Recorded sound is excellent, but the notes on the
or never heard played so well. Looking at the datessubsequent insert are inadequate, particularly for the Lennon Etudes. Al Kunze
to Segovias early concerts in Parisof some of the works, such as
those of Jacques Ibert and Georges Migot, you will be amazed at the Martin Hegel. Bach Solo [:] Lautenwerk und Transkriptionen
compositional sophisticationthat is to say the guitaristic sophisti- fr Gitarre. Works by J.S. Bach. Acoustic Music, Best.-Nr.
cationof the pieces. Nothing written since is any more idiomatic 319.1492.2, 2012.
or inspired. Different, of course, but not more advanced in the guitar
writing. Most of us know Ibert from his charming flute/guitar duet Martin Hegel lives in Berlin, and recorded this CD on
Entracte, but the Franaise and Ariette included here are gems. The Peter Fingers Acoustic Music label, known for showcasing a wide
same is true of Gustave Samazueilhs beautiful 1925 Serenade. It has variety of guitar styles in well-produced recordings. Hegel plays two
been recorded before, even by Segovia, but never better. The same often-heard works by J. S. Bach, the Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro
is true of a selection of works by Les Six, including the beautiful BWV 998, and the Suite for lute, BWV 1006a. His way with the
miniature Guitare by Germaine Tailleferre. The Segovia tributes by Prelude and Fugue is subtly virtuosic It is not powerhouse play-
Milhaud and Roussel are spectacularly well done, as is the Pour un ing, but rather a communion between musician and music which
hommage Claude Debussy by Migot. Tolonen has even convinced the listener feels privileged to observe. Hegel feels the pushes and
me that Vicente Asencios Col .lectici ntim, a work I have always pulls within each musical line and delivers them expressively with
cordially disliked, is good music. Recorded sound is perfect and the an organic, singing quality. He pays attention to articulation even in
liner notes by Fabio Zanon (!) are excellent. What are you waiting the middle voice of the fugue, with a level of technique which makes
for? Al Kunze the music sound effortless. Sandwiched between the larger works
are ten of Hegels transcriptions, which might be labeled Bachs
Alexander Saladin Cote. Silhouettes [:] New American Music for Greatest Hits. The often-played Prelude from Cello Suite No.
Guitar. Works by J. A. Lennon, Bassett, and Larsen. 1 is presented here in a transcription which adds extra voices not
Artek Recordings AR-0058-2, 2012. found in the many transcriptions of this movement. Some would
argue that this thickening of the texture is unnecessary and actu-
The music of John Anthony Lennon has graced guitar programs ally detracts from the original score, and from the improvisatory
for many years now, and his Concert Etudes, beautifully played here quality of Baroque preludes, but Hegels performance is nonethe-
by Alexander (Alejandro) Cote, collectively constitute a major work less stirring, with rich tone heard in pristine and enjoyable recorded
for the instrument. Written in the early 1980s, they are not the sound. The recording could use more spacing between all the tracks,
newest new music, but especially since they were revised in 2003, and even a bit more following major works: the default two-second
we wont quibble over semantics. They are all very different, but post roll is all that separates the tracks and is not at all sensitive to
each is an enjoyable encounter. A few highlights include: No. 2, an the musical context. The listener simply needs more time to process
exploration of natural harmonics utilizing a very much altered what has been heard. Additionally, audible fades at the end of each
tuning scheme; No. 3, a pattern-pulse piece reminding us of the piece start too soon, interrupting the listeners enjoyment of the final
years when the studies originated; the gymnopdie-like No. 10; and chord, which, to this writer, is an essential moment which should be
the last piece, subtitled Burlesque. The Etudes have been recorded allowed to proceed naturally without electronic alteration. Despite
before by Daniel Stanislawek on an Albany disc, but the current these technical minutiae, one comes away from this recording with
recording is far better played and recorded. Listeners will enjoy the a sense that all is right with the world. The music is therethe right
music very much, and players who dont know it already are likely to notes at the right times. I think J. S. would have been pleased.
add some of the pieces to their to be learned list. The last Lennon Jim McCutcheon
work is the eponymous Silhouettes, dedicated to the artist. It is a Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 75

CD REVIEWS (continued)
Cecilio Perera. Recital. Works by Ponce, Brouwer, Oliva, and Francesco Corbetta, and Gaspar Sanz. (Elias will be remembered
Sojo. Naxos 8.573025, 2012. for taking on an entire Rossini opera on a previous recording.) In
the concerted works, the composer most represented is Andrea
The much-appreciated Naxos Laureate Series continues Falconieri (ca. 1585-1656), whose music never fails to delight
with this fine disc by Cecilio Perera, winner of the 2011 Michele whether in an exuberant corrente or a plaintive piece, such as the
Pittaluga competition. Quite fittingly, the Mexican-born artist eponymous La Monarcha, done with alto recorder and organ.
features a number of works by countryman Manuel Ponce. The The disc insert contains lengthy and informative English notes
first group, three works drawn from Ponces output in the guise of by John Griffiths, as well as lovely photographs of the artists and
Sylvius Leopold Weiss, is especially commendable for including the instruments. Sound is state of the art. Al Kunze
lovely but little-played Balletto. Next in the program is the Sonata
mexicana, perhaps the least known of the composers works in the Vahagni [Vahagn Vahagni Turgutyan] (with Tigram Hamasyan,
form, but played here with a winning lilt in the first movement and piano, Artyom Manukyan, cello, Hamilton price, bass, and
an unexpected intensity in the second. Pereras sound in the latter Jimmy Branly and Gerardo Morales, percussion). Solitude.
is particularly lovely on a guitar by Stephen Connor, recorded in Works written or arranged by the artist. No label or number, 2011.
the seemingly infallible production of Norbert Kraft and Bonnie
Silver. Very fine realizations of the third and fourth movements
make a very strong case for more-frequent hearings of the work. I approached this disc with trepidation. Self-produced discs
The Brouwer Sonata is next and Pereras performance is a very fine with a one-named artist in moody, romantic poses, wrapping an
one, strong and dramatic when needed and with the more lyrical album of jazz, flamenco, ethnic fusion eclecticism, is often an
moments offering a beautiful contrast, culminating in a particu- excuse for bland New Age pablum. I was wrong. This is very good
larly strong Toccata. Next is Mexican composer-guitarist stuff indeed. It is beautifully played chamber music in which all of
Julio Csar Olivas Tangomania. Something of an homage to its ingredients contribute to an aesthetically harmonious whole. Of
Piazzolla, it is pleasant listening, though with little of the intensity course, it doesnt hurt that Vahagni can really play the guitar. Having
which characterizes the Argentinians music. Going back to a slightly studied with the great Manolo Sanlcar is a pretty good credential,
ancient LP by Alirio Daz, I have loved the Five Pieces from but in a bit of online detective work (there are no notes with the
Venezuela by Vicente Sojo. Yes, they are very slight works, but disc) it turns out that Vahagni is from a family of high-performing
charming nonetheless and with an impressive degree of variety artists, and has been up for major awards already. I am happy my
in their six minutes. The disc concludes with the Tres canciones ignorance has lifted. At any rate the music is beautiful, virtuosic, and
populares mexicanas, Ponce song arrangements published by quite varied. Of special note is the fine jazz-oriented piano work of
Segovia. They are well done, but I must confess that, despite a Tigram Hamasyan. Recorded sound is excellent, with warmth and
tremendous love of Ponces music, these pieces have always left me clarity. Al Kunze
utterly cold. Excellent notes by Graham Wade. Al Kunze
Cristiano Porqueddu. Novecento Guitar Preludes.
Cordevento (Eric Bosgraaf, recorders, Izhar Elias, Baroque Works by Asafiev, Ponce, Badings, Sauguet, and Farkas.
guitar, and Alessandro Pianu, harpsichord and organ). Brilliant Classics 9292, 2012.
La Monarcha. Works by Falconieri, Corbetta, Santiago de
Once again the indefatigable Cristiano Porqueddu and
Murcia, Eyck, Sanz, et al. Brilliant Classics 94352, 2012.
Brilliant Classics have produced a recording that immediately
This is an irresistible disc. The theme of the program is the becomes a necessity in the library of the any serious guitar
confluence and cross-fertilization produced in the Spanish terri- lover. With seventy-five pieces on three discs, many of them world
tories of Europe. Composers from modern Spain, Italy, and the premieres, it is something that one must really hear. Space in the
Netherlands are represented in the beautifully varied program. Each magazine and the patience of the reader preclude comment on each
of the three players exhibits wonderful sound, perfect technique, work, so I will give impressions of the sets as they appear. This is
and complete identification with the material. Recorder player, Eric particularly appropriate, given the fact that each of the composers
Bosgraaf, plays with both vivacity and impressive facility. On harp- conceived their works as unified pieces.
sichord and positif organ, Alessandro Pianu invariably finds a perfect Disc 1: The recording begins with the first of several world
balance with the other instruments. It is amazing how the sound premiere recordings, the Twelve Preludes by Boris Asafiev. Asafievs
of the organ blends with the other instruments, especially the music was re-discovered by Matanya Ophee, publisher of the works
recorder. The much-admired Izhar Elias on Baroque guitars, at hand. They are brief character pieces, harmonically and melodi-
demonstrates mastery of both punteado and rasgueado play- cally rich, sounding a bit like a Russian Castelnuovo-Tedesco. (A bit
ing styles in chamber works and solos by Santiago de Murcia, of a stretch, but you get the idea.) Among the most distinctive are
76 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3
the ninth, a sardonic march, and the twelfth: wistful and longing at

first, then incorporating part of an earlier prelude. The Preludes by
Ponce have been recorded many times, especially the ones chosen
and edited by Segovia. Nonetheless, it is good to have this record-
Guitar QuickStart by Mary Jo Disler
ing of the total twenty-four works. Porqueddu is very fine in these
ISBN-13: 978-0-9642229-0-8 $19.95 since 1994
pieces, though the recorded sound on Adam Holzmans version on
Naxos is more flattering. Beginning text for studio, church, music ed,
home school, elective, music therapy courses
Disc 2: With the music of Dutch composer Henk Badings
and the Frenchman Henri Sauguet, we enter a somewhat sterner
Lyra House Music Publications
sound world than that of Asafiev or Ponce. The Badings Preludes,

another world premiere, are very impressive pieces, uncompro- GUITAR QUICKSTART in
misingly modern but never unapproachably abstract. As a set they
Print & Google eBook editions
are quite imposing. I would love to hear a performance one day.
Among the most notable are the spare, but beautiful Canon, the One of the most complete
aggressive mixed meters of Yaya, the beautiful, brooding Canzonetta, - and easy to read - beginning
and the wild Rasgueado Finale. The three Preludes by Henri Sauguet guitar methods weve ever seen.
are premieres. Only his fine Soliloque is much known. But hearing - Elderly Instruments
these, as with the Badings, makes me want to run (or at least log
in) to the nearest music store. The preludes to melancholy, remem- Teachers
brance, and gesture are lovely pieces which we should be hearing Guitar QuickStart Syllabus
in concerts. Angelo Gilardinos liner notes, as translated, are quite Teaching Guides Free Extras
mystifying, including the astonishing extrapolation that if Sauguet Sheet Music
had persevered in writing for guitar he would have become the Guitar Classics for Special Occasions. Gtr solo
guitars Proust! Seguidilla - Albniz. 3 guitars
Disc 3: I was almost completely unable to warm up to Ave Maria - Schubert. Guitar solo
Ferenc Farkas Exercitium tonale (24 Preludes). They seem dry to the Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring - Bach. 2 guitars
point of aridity, except for a few, such as Nos. 6, 7, and 10, where
actual likable melodies are found. No. 12 is a sort of version of Una Online Sales Sites search for Disler
furtiva lagrima from Donizettis Elixir of Love. With a brief, but
annoying interjection, it just made me want to pull out my
Pavarotti recording of the opera. Gilardino sums up the Farkas
perfectly, ... by camouflaging his harmonies in a play of reflections
and recollections, Farkas often borders [on] preciosity. Except I Email:
have no idea what that means.
Recorded sound is somewhat variable. The recordings were
done over about a year and a half, and sometimes the guitar sound
is not flattering. Tuning is also occasionally imprecise. But these
are never such problems that one cant enjoy the music. With the
exceptions above, notes by Angelo Gilardino, in a sometimes
opaque translation, are serviceable, revealing just enough to know
that it would be nice to have more extensive notes. On the other
hand, there are seventy-five pieces, so there may have been some
literary triage happening. Al Kunze

The trees of the wood sing out for joy before the Lord - I Chronicles 16:33 Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 77

Rovshan Mamedkuliev
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International Concert Artist Competition

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