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  1. #1

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    I'm not at all very knowledgeable about classical guitar. I have a few books (some method books and some are just sheet music) and I've read through some of them.

    I like the harmony of Ravel, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff, and I know there are other composers that use similar textures. Still very tonal (as opposed to atonal) but a little more adventurous than most of the stuff I already have. It doesn't have to match those composers exactly, just looking for something more interesting than the typical V7 I stuff.

    Questions:

    1. Do you know of any books or resources where I can get sheet music for solo guitar maybe matching the style/period I'm describing? I'm really just looking for some classical guitar music that is more harmonically interesting than what I have, but not completely atonal or anything.

    2. If not, is there a good classical guitar forum or website you know of where I could bring my questions?

    3. Getting more specific, do you know of any published arrangements of Ravel or Debussy (or anyone similar) for guitar?

    Thanks!

    (PS the reason why I'm looking for this material is specific and somewhat nuanced, I'm not really trying to learn classical guitar in depth, nor am I just trying to study the harmony of these composers. If it were the former I'd get a teacher and/or start with simpler material, if it were the latter than I'd make my own arrangements from the original scores.)

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    ClassClef has no Rachmaninov and only the Bolero by Ravel, but quite a lot of Debussy. The DelCamp forum is the place to ask for further help.
    Last edited by JohnRoss; 08-01-2012 at 12:54 PM.

  4. #3
    That is most excellent John and certainly gives me plenty to work with. Thanks so much.

  5. #4

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    Check out Ralph Towner's work, you may find him right up your alley.

  6. #5

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    you might want to check out Leo Brouwer. "The father of modern guitar'.

  7. #6

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    Without wishing to disparage the recommendations of ronjazz or fumblefingers (Leo Brouwer especially being indispensable), I think Jake knows exactly what he is looking for, these are very specific, late Romantic/impressionist composers. I'd almost be prepared to bet a small sum that there was a certain someone he was trying to win over, here. If so - go Jake, go!

    If not, too, what the heck.

  8. #7

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    ah ha. well then Ravel should do just fine.

  9. #8

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    Try youtube

    Composer name or specific composition + guitar or guitar duo

    Here's one from each plus a bonus track from Astor Piazzolla






  10. #9
    Bako, thanks for those links but I am specifically looking for sheet music.

  11. #10

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    Probably not what you want either but:

    This site houses massive collections of Classical music public domain

    Categoryebussy, Claude - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

    Category:Ravel, Maurice - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

    If you get used to reading 2 clefs for guitar in that Johnny Smith kind of way, you can generally make some sense out of piano scores.
    Might be good enough for study purposes.

  12. #11
    Ah yes, IMSLP...good call about getting more comfortable reading grand staff. I've done a tiny bit of that...for me it gets accomplished at tempos that have to be measured with a microscope. I was specifically looking for music that was already arranged for the guitar, but the grand staff stuff might be helpful as well. In fact if I was even a little bit quicker at studying piano scores I'd have easier access to a gigantic mountain of beautiful material, so thanks for the suggestion.

    I'll describe why I'm looking for this particular sheet music by explaining a new project I've started. This might get lengthy, so I suppose it's for anybody who has some time to spare...I think some of you might have some interesting suggestions as well for this project. I'm really excited about it.

    I've started doing shows that are all solo guitar, completely improvised. No forms or tunes (definitely no jazz standards.) It's probably more rock or movie-soundtrack esque, wouldn't be categorized as jazz and I prefer it that way.

    I realize that often when I'm not practicing I simply sit and play, improvise, and it's my favorite thing to do. During high school I spent most of my guitar time doing this. Up until recently I had brushed it off as just noodling, a guitarist playing guitar, but I started thinking, why not take this seriously? I feel like I have enough material in my ears and in my fingers that I could actually craft some of this "noodling" into pieces that might feel personal to me and also engage an audience. (And I record the performances too, so I wind up producing some things that I'd want to maybe later commit to a composition.)

    I also feel that group interaction is something that takes a lot of practice, and unfortunately I just don't get the opportunity to play with other people nearly as often as I'd like. Exploring solo performances is something that's much more accessible to me...I can spend much more time directly honing that craft.

    So I've done four of these shows recently, and I think they've gone really well, at least relative to my initial expectations. It's not background at a coffee shop, I am playing at a gallery at night where people come, sit and devote their attention to the performance. The response has been surprisingly positive, which is really encouraging.

    I intend to do more, and explore this project further. What I think is really fun about it is that there's no pre-made path for me. I have to invent what I practice and what I want the performances to be, all with the understanding that not everybody is going to like it or respect it - but I'm excited about it and it feels much more personal and relevant than the music that I've been working on the past few years.

    Sorry to ramble, but like I said, I'm excited about this, and I figure sharing some information might provide any of you the opportunity for suggestions for the project. It's really open right now and just talking to people a little bit I've gotten some interesting ideas for venues, material, changes I can make to the current mode of performing, etc. One thing that I haven't really studied much or put much intentional thought to is theme and variation, and obviously in this context that winds up being huge...one of the things on my big list of things to explore is some conventional forms of structuring for instrumental pieces (I guess I mean mainly 'classical' here as opposed to jazz tunes that have sections for blowing.) That's something I haven't studied at all but I'm sure could only help me here.

    Anyway, the idea is to draw from music that I really love, that really speaks to me, and put things together on the spot that are:
    interesting to me and feel personal to me,
    ideally engaging for the audience on a more visceral level, and most importantly, sound like they have some structure and intention.

    I have studied some Ravel and Debussy pieces, but not in the context of a true solo guitar performance. I think that having some of that repertoire in my ears and under my fingers would wind up helping me in these shows by giving me a lot of interesting material to vary and draw from. If it were already arranged for solo guitar then I would also see a ready-made version that is in solo guitar format (the format that I am performing in)...that would of course make the material more accessible for my performances. Also, I'm sure studying more solo classical guitar would help me for these shows quite a bit, but most of the classical guitar material I have is harmonically and aesthetically irrelevant to what I actually want to be performing.

    I also am INCREDIBLY bored of all the material I've been using for sight reading practice over the years!

  13. #12

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    interesting project, jake.

    my $.02--debussy is one of the towering giants of western music, and (nearly) all guitar reductions are so watered down as to deprive the music of its essence. by all means, do what you need to study the piano scores.

    that said, christopher parkening has a few published:

    three debussy:

    Parkening And The Guitar - Volume 2 Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus

    three ravel:

    Parkening And The Guitar - Volume 1 Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus

    ...while there is no debussy or ravel of the guitar, there IS much excellent music composed for the guitar in the 20th century. several recent threads on this over at delcamp. will elaborate my recommendations if you're interested.
    "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

  14. #13
    Randall,glad to hear that perspective about Debussy, that alone may save me a lot of time and trial and error, thank you. On youtube I have heard some cool guitar versions of some pieces, and there have been some great performances of Ravel arranged for two or more guitars.

    Getting better at reading different/multiple clefs will probably help me a lot to better interpret a lot of great music that's already been written, so I should probably get on that.

    I am by no means attached to Debussy and Ravel, I'm open minded about any music that might even be in the ballpark. In fact, I'd love to be exposed to more composers that I might like. Please link the threads of more interesting 20th century guitar music. I was checking out some Leo Brouwer and Villa-Lobos the other day, some of it was relevant. I'll check out some Ralph Towner too...the little bit that I have heard didn't really do much for me, but I'll give it some more digging.

    I'm not at all knowledgeable about the whole classical world and everything related to it. A lot of the material I come across isn't very interesting to my tastes, but I do sometimes come across things - like Ravel - and things on the radio that I really like. There's a local radio station that plays a lot of what I can only guess is late 19th century and/or early 20th century music and a lot of really grabs my ears. I've been trying to be better about figuring out what they were playing...the other day I found it was Grechaninov

  15. #14

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    A worthwhile project, indeed. As Goodrick says, the guitar is decades behind the piano harmonically, and this type of exploration, which includes using open string to create minor 2nds or b9ths, harp harmonics, and even prepared guitar techniques can certainly put you in a new sonic territory. I've been factoring some of that into my performances, using a 7-string classical guitar and a looper, and have started to develop a group that is just me and several percussionists, a concept I'm hoping to develop as both a groove-oriented and collective improv group. Just for kicks, check out Carlo Domeniconi's works if you haven't yet.

  16. #15

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    i use GSP a lot for sheet music for classical guitar

    GSP -- Guitar Solo San Francisco


    i have also downloaded some things from here. its quick!

    Download Sheet Music at Musicnotes.com

  17. #16

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    first, here's a slightly different link to gsp guitar. buy the reference catalog on this page. (would still be a bargain at ten times the price.)

    GSP -- Guitar Solo San Francisco

    late romantic/early 20thC music in general:

    as with similar things, pursue the composers you like, find out who they studied with, who they taught, who were in their circle.

    grechaninov--see arensky, rimsky-korsakov...follow that to borodin, glazunov, scriabin, mussorgsky (some interesting guitar arrangements of him), and that other towering giant of the early 20th C--stravinsky. forward to shostakovich, kabalevsky, prokofiev (my fave).

    related slavic nationals: smetana, bartok (another giant)...

    to be continued...

    Classical Guitar • - - - Who is your favorite modern composer...
    "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

  18. #17

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    Hey Jake you may want to check out free-scores.com it is in french but if I can decipher it I'm sure you can too! Lots of public domain sheet music for free grouped by composer and instrument. Also you may want to check out Chantrelle Publishers they are the tops for classical guitar books, scores etc. and also Mel Bay has a really wide selection available. I wish you the best in your endeavours.

  19. #18

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    hey jake...here are a few sites you may want to look at..

    classicalguitar.homip.net

    guitarpress.com

    dirk.meinkee.free.fr

    classicalguitarcanada.ca

    guitareclassiquedelcamp.com

    free-scores.com

    time on the instrument...pierre

  20. #19
    Thanks everybody...tons of great stuff to wade through. Ay-yay-yay, I've got myself into quite the project.

  21. #20

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    If you're looking for sheet music, I've had some luck with

    Free-scores.com

    Moonlight Sonata is in tab and notation, 5 pages, but in a different key than the original sheet music. Perhaps you can transpose. Good Luck

    JimmyK

  22. #21
    Additional Q for you classical folks:

    I'd like to know more about certain composers and what kind of training they had. Specifically, right now, Ravel and Rachmaninoff.

    I've been listening to Ravel's piano trio and it's just blowing my mind. Not having anything resembling a classical compositional background myself, I just have no idea what the process is like to get that music onto paper. I'm not talking about the actual content or musical concepts in the piece(s) but just the history of these individual composers, the processes and education they had to go through to be able to have these ideas and structure them so well.

    For example, did all these folks start with Bach style part writing? basic counterpoint? did they all play a large repertoire before they started composing?

    I know I could get some info from some basic google searches, but I thought some of you might have some more efficient ideas.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    Additional Q for you classical folks:

    I'd like to know more about certain composers and what kind of training they had. Specifically, right now, Ravel and Rachmaninoff.

    For example, did all these folks start with Bach style part writing? basic counterpoint? did they all play a large repertoire before they started composing?

    I know I could get some info from some basic google searches, but I thought some of you might have some more efficient ideas.
    Go to a university library or large public library and ask for the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, it's like the Oxford English Dictionary for music. The articles on Ravel and Rachmaninoff should have a wealth of biographical information, including their music education. The same libraries would most likely also have biographies of these composers (and others).
    In this age of the Internet and instant info, let's not forget that libraries are for more than checking out books and movies.
    Brad
    guitarist and librarian
    Guitars:
    1975 Guild Artist Award
    1986 Guild X-170
    1975 Guild Mark V
    1930s Metro B archtop
    1995 Epi Howard Roberts Custom
    1999 Godin ACS Nylon with synth
    ??? Giannini 7 string classical

  24. #23
    Great tip Brad, thanks. My sister just graduated a few days ago with her Masters in Library Science, she's quite passionate about the subject.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci View Post
    I'd like to know more about certain composers and what kind of training they had. Specifically, right now, Ravel and Rachmaninoff... For example, did all these folks start with Bach style part writing? basic counterpoint? did they all play a large repertoire before they started composing?
    Both Ravel and Rachmaninoff were shit-hot, conservatory-trained pianists before they became composers. Not being a music historian, I can't say categorically what normal late-nineteenth/ turn-of-the-century piano teaching involved, but for the last forty years and more music students have had to do basic counterpoint and Bach-style part writing years before any real composing stuff, and I would be surprised if the two Rs didn't have all that well under their belts before they ventured into composition. And after all those conservatory years, they'd have a pretty big repertoire under their fingers.

  26. #25
    Thanks. So magical to me, this whole other world.

  27. #26

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    Although these older methods are still taught, I believe they are used more as exercises and portrayed in a historical context. Very helpful to aspiring young composers but I see it as being a bit like the difference between Greek geometry and calculus. It would be no surprise to me if these old methods were one day to be removed from the standard music theory curriculum, unless you specialize in music from a particular relevant period.
    We are the borg. Your harmonies will be assimilated. Your scale patterns and distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

  28. #27

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    This won't help you in the slightest with your project, but give a listen to my jazz version of Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun," if you haven't eaten recently. Actually, it's not so bad, with the exception of a big fat G natural in the walking bass line on the first beat of a Abmaj7 chord.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by czardas View Post
    ...but I see it as being a bit like the difference between Greek geometry and calculus. It would be no surprise to me if these old methods were one day to be removed from the standard music theory curriculum...
    Oh right, mathematics without, e.g., Pythagoras (too square, I suppose) and music without voices. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

  30. #29

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    I noticed RonJazz had some pertinent comments about the harmonic limitations of guitarists in comparison to pianists. This is true, but I've been using a technique that allows for some improvements on this score. But I don't use taps, loops, extra strings, alternate tunnings or overdubs, and can still play chord clusters like (descending): F, E, C, A, G.

    Give a listen to my "Lulu by Carlight" (parts of Alban Berg's "Lulu" and "Stella by Starlight" and see if you can here what I'm talking about. For the most part, it can't be played with conventional chording. Check the Finale copy.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRoss View Post
    Oh right, mathematics without, e.g., Pythagoras (too square, I suppose) and music without voices. Isn't the Internet wonderful?
    Well umm, triangles haven't changed that much in the last 4000 years. Parrallel lines still don't meet in Euclidean geometry, but parallel octaves are a different kettle of fish. Also your argument is like saying Leibniz couldn't exist without Newton.

    I have no idea why you think I'm suggesting music should not have voices.
    Last edited by czardas; 08-19-2012 at 10:09 PM.
    We are the borg. Your harmonies will be assimilated. Your scale patterns and distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.