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Great book discovery

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by superjam144, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Found 2 amazing books I thought I would share.

    Classical Guitar Compendium by Bridget Mermikides and JS Bach Solos by Mark Phillips

    51BBaq1z-AL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg 51gHje3lAyL._SX361_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    I am a beginner and rely on using tablature to decipher and learn classical music.

    The Bach book is much easier and fun to play through. The Compendium is more advanced but equally rewarding.

    I highly recommend these books as an intro to classical playing. Although I am very slow, the enjoyment in slowly learning these tunes is priceless. I was playing "Fur Elise" tonight and worked my way slowly through it, each time getting faster, until I came upon a "break" or "bridge" of sorts, and I felt that I really understood Beethoven's expression on a very human level. After playing I realized that he composed that part of the song to sort of put his personality and presence within the song as the notes worked there way down in half steps instead of in a scale pattern. He was sort of taking a minute to make himself known to the listener. And I felt that I understood his heart and soul expression as clearly as if I was listening to SRV in a deep solo. Or Hendrix on one of his deeper tracks.

    This revelation would have mostly been impossible for me to make unless I had played it myself.

    I find this hobby of learning classical tunes (even at a very beginner level), to be very good at busting a rut that I find myself in occasionally.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Can't say for sure, but my experience is the more a person plays JSB, the more a person comes to appreciate him. Composition-wise, 'it doesn't get any better than him'. Dude was totally amazing. I've been trying to work on a couple JSBach Cello suites (the 1st and 2nd, transcribed for guitar) lately.

    Also, for technique/exercises/studies the workbook titled
    'Mauro Guiliani's 120 Studies for Right Hand Development' is an old school standby to develop plucking hand -- it's been around forever, but it's a great resource and really does help improve plucking. I, and several other regular posters here have mentioned this a bunch in the past. It's a good one to have and work on.

    Another FYI, one of the most common introductory pieces in the classical guitar repertoire is Francisco Tarrega's piece "Lagrima". There are probably lots of transcriptions/tabs floating around out there on the net. He also published several other short pieces that serve the budding guitarist well.

    Yes, learning/playing some classical guitar forces a player to relearn/rethink a lot. Even if you don't master all the technique stuff, it's good to learn new songs or ways of playing -- which you can adapt or apply to other stuff you're playing.

    Good work. Keep going! :)
     
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  3. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think I will ever be good enough to play out or anything. I am mostly doing it for enjoyment, and enrichment. I know it will be a big help to make me a more "musical" player. And I am learning new things every single time I open the books. Like, wow, what is he doing here... And these notes are the same notes I have been playing since high school... Classical will always have some mystery behind it for me... But I'm ok with that. Even at a snail's pace, I am getting a ton of enjoyment, and knowledge musically speaking...

    I am decently fast within the first 4 frets, but when the tablature starts going further down the neck I turn to molasses. But what keeps me going is that every single time I make it to the end, the NEXT time I play through it, I am FASTER. Maybe just a little bit faster, but that feeling of progression is certainly addicting, and feels like growth as a musician to me. Maybe it is the much needed water I needed, as I was boring myself to tears playing familiar chords, and voicings and hoping for a miracle, every time I get into another rut.
     
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  4. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    No worries. The main thing is, you're doing it and having fun.

    That tune "Lagrima" is a slower piece -- it's a good one to learn. You'll get to work up the fretboard between open position and 12th fret and use various combinations of strings. (A lot of people recognize it when they hear it too).

    Good luck!
     
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  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    This is great. I often think that Beethoven is talking to me, in the way that he creates references within the work. A common technique is to have a phrase conclude in a surprising way. It feels like Beethoven is playing a prank on the listener who is familiar with his style and the era that he represents. It's often like pulling the rug out from under our expectations.

    I don't know if it has actually happened, but I can easily imagine being in a concert of Beethoven's music, and hear someone in the audience go: "doh!"
     
  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The longer one lives a musical life, the more they appreciate Bach and Beethoven. I never cease to be amazed and confounded by both ... and I've been listening to them since birth.
     
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  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Just a note about JSB and guitar..(I'll revisit what is probably known to many, so if this is redundant please excuse the diversion)

    JSB lived 1685-1750. The inception of the 'modern' guitar occurred about 1850. So, JSB never wrote music for the guitar, as the closest thing at the time was the lute. Although, it has some rough similarities, the lute is quite a different animal in a lot of ways (ladder braced, stiff round back, usually had double-course stringing, etc). Bottom line: you can assume that any sheet music for guitar you might encounter credited to JSB was an interpretation or somehow adapted to the modern guitar from some other instrument.
    That other instrument is usually one of: lute, violin, cello, etc.
    That is a process which is fairly subjective -- which often leads to GOOD transcriptions and NOT SO GOOD transcriptions. Sometimes, it's not easy to know of those sit in front of you.

    Also, when playing transcribed JSB tunes on guitar, you'll often times play through a piece and find a note that seems out of place -- don't worry, don't panic. He wrote the melody the way he wrote it for a reason. Usually, it means he is preparing the listener for a modulation, key change, etc. -- sharps/flats/accidentals happen all over the place in his music -- it's part of what makes it so amazing and interesting. Just know that because JSB music is transcribed to guitar, you'll often encounter situations where the left hand (fretboard) fingerings seem to end up in a pretzel. When this happens, stop -- work out the fingerings (notate in your music if need be), practice through those sections VERY slowly. When things start flowing better and muscle memory kicks in, THEN, speed it up a bit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  8. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Not to raise this one from the dead, but after a recent classical book purchase at Guitar Center, I found this LAGRIMA! Very nice song, thank you. And you're right it is a perfect practice piece, because it goes all the way up the neck to the 12th fret.
     
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  9. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Right on!

    It's one of those pieces that the new student usually gets pointed to early on. It's kinda funny -- it is technically not difficult to play, but it requires some good attention to timing and dynamics. I think I played it for my first jury in first term of college -- If I can remember back that far, LOL.

    One 'trick' I'll give in playing that piece is that because the melody sits up on the high E string mostly, you can play the note, let it sound, then quickly 'slide' your pinky / 4th finger (left-hand) up the string as you move positions -- don't entirely pull it away from the string, just release pressure and maintain a brush of contact. Refret the string at the next note, pluck it, etc.. all over again. That will help keep the high melody notes smoother. It's sort of cheating, but if done well, it works a-ok.

    Just FYI, Lagrima was written by Spaniard Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909). His compositions represent a big chunk of the traditional classical guitar repertoire. There are a batch of other short tunes that you might also want to check out later as well. He was a painfully shy man and performed in public quite rarely. He was a teacher at a couple conservatories/universities in Spain. He represents a jump forward in terms of guitar technique (say, from the more purely 'classical' period of Fernando Sor, et al., to an even more modern
    approach). But, he left a HUGE legacy on guitar playing. A really great guitar player and musician.
    .. apologies for the guitar history lesson. His signature piece is the tremolo (no, not the effect/amplifier processed type!) piece "Recuerdos de la Alhambra". There are lots of YT vids out there of it if you're interested.

    If you ever need suggestions for more, just fire them at me.. :)
     
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  10. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks a lot. I am learning so much about chordal changes and dynamics from these seemingly simple classical standards.

    Many of them are unknown 16th and 17th century composers, but are gold in terms of musical knowledge.

    I have to admit though, while flipping through the book, sometimes I hit a Bach piece, my favorite composer, without seeing the name on the right top corner... And man, how refreshing it is, because he is tremendous in my book.... It's almost like watching black and white TV (not to diminish the others), and hitting a color channel by surprise...

    I think Bach was just light years beyond other composers.... The fact that he studied and compiled EVERYTHING that came before him, before starting his own adventure is a testimony to the fact that he was a student of the language of music, and respected all of his predecessors immensely.
     
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  11. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    +1
    Outstanding!! You've "found and seen the light!" Good on you.
    (You have good taste in music, too) :)

    The dude was a genius. His music has stood the test of time.
    If all I ever played in my life were Bach tunes/pieces, (and played them well.. :oops: ) I would consider that an overwhelming success (in all honesty, I am still working on many though).

    For kicks, JSB played on guitar:

    "Chaconne" (a violin partita, IIRC..) played by John Feeley

    Very Difficult

    Gavotte (En Rondeau) from JSB 4th Lute Suite; played by Segovia
    (I played this one for a jury back in college too -- it's a fun one)

    Moderate Difficulty

    Steve Morse playing Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring ("Jesu", for short) -- electrified, in live concert

    (Apologies, I've posted this before, but he does a very respectable job considering instrument, environment, standing up, etc).
    Very Difficult (to do correctly due to awkward left-hand stretches/fingerings)

    And, the technical master John Williams playing the Prelude to the 4th Lute Suite (near impossible in places for most of us mere mortals..)

    Very Difficult
     
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  12. rough eye

    rough eye Tele-Meister

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    yeah I used to play that Prelude back when i had a large classical repertoire that I practiced regularly. In fact I think i used to know that entire suite. The Gavotte above is one of the movements.
     
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  13. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    That's great. Sounds like you were a terrific player.

    I've only got serious enough about the Prelude to learn about the first half... then, I dropped the ball.
    I lost my sheet music (a good transcription) and just had not gone back to it. Recently, I got a copy of the Heinz Teuchert transcription (By Ricordi) and have been going back over the other sections: Loure, Menuet (I and II), etc. and having lot of fun with that. Maybe the Prelude will happen eventually..?
     
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