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  1. #1

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    I have recently started back playing some classical pieces such as the hall of the mountain king and bouree in Em.

    I am just wondering what are some of the more popular classical songs to play on classical guitar i.e. which songs would most intermediate players learn.

    Thanks

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  3. #2

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    Classical songs or classical pieces? In any case I think that the Bach Cello Suites for classical guitar are an excellent choice. Or some of the pieces by Weiss. Additionally, there are myriad songs and pieces for Elizabethan lute arranged for the guitar that are available and make very nice set pieces. That is just for a start. A great reference is to listen to Julian Bream's versions of lute music on albums he put out during the Sixties and Seventies.

  4. #3
    Hi Jay. Apologies I meant classical pieces.

    I kinda like Bach so I'll check out the Cello Suites first.

    Julian Bream is just a little (ah um) above my capabilities though I love listening to him. In any endevour the best always make the difficult seem so easy.

  5. #4

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  6. #5

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    The beauty and strength of Julian Bream's performances of classical guitar pieces is the "soul" that he endows each note and phrase in his execution - a combination of time, tone, and emotion. He plays the same notes - it's "how" he plays them. It is instructive to watch some of his video Master classes as captured many decades ago. He was a great teacher, in my humble opinion. Julian is still with us to my knowledge, and doubtlessly can still play, as he did publicly until his seventies.

  7. #6

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    I should not neglect to mention, apart from his CDs of great Spanish pieces, that Julian's interpretations of Villa-Lobos are special to me as well.

  8. #7
    Thanks Jay. By coincidence I watched the Villa-Lobos Masterclass of his this morning. Very neat!!

    I googled JB and read that he was knocked over by a neighbours dog and broke his hip and arm so he can't play anymore (though he does a little scale and arpeggio work). He left a great legacy behind.

    BTW I have chosen Asturias as a study. Not sure how far I'll get but the first part is fairly easy. Now onto the triplets.

  9. #8

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    yeah, after the first part you'll have trouble, a lot of trouble. if you're an intermediate player, that is.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post
    Thanks Jay. By coincidence I watched the Villa-Lobos Masterclass of his this morning. Very neat!!

    I googled JB and read that he was knocked over by a neighbours dog and broke his hip and arm so he can't play anymore (though he does a little scale and arpeggio work). He left a great legacy behind.

    BTW I have chosen Asturias as a study. Not sure how far I'll get but the first part is fairly easy. Now onto the triplets.
    In theory, you don't need to play those triplets. They were never in the original piano score. Segovia added them because they sound cool.

    The original just has double notes throughout as I recall. Stanley Yates did a guitar version which is more accurate in terms of following the original.

  11. #10

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    Interesting.

    But you said it right. In theory you don't have to play them. In reality, every classical guitar audience expects them. This is one of those "men from the boys' pieces. John Williams set the bar in the 1980s with his Albeniz album. Everybody busts hump to measure up.

    The closest I've heard to Williams' performance was Ana Vidovic's. And then there is another famous lady guitarist who insists on playing it, but would be well advised to drop it from her repertoire.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Interesting.

    But you said it right. In theory you don't have to play them. In reality, every classical guitar audience expects them. This is one of those "men from the boys' pieces. John Williams set the bar in the 1980s with his Albeniz album. Everybody busts hump to measure up.

    The closest I've heard to Williams' performance was Ana Vidovic's. And then there is another famous lady guitarist who insists on playing it, but would be well advised to drop it from her repertoire.
    Sure, but if the OP can't manage the triplets, he can still enjoy playing it knowing that without triplets is more authentic.

  13. #12

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    After hearing so many guitar versions, I quite like hearing Asturias on the piano for a change (this is by Alicia de Larrocha):


  14. #13

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    Finishing your first Bach fugue is a pretty big accomplishment.

    Getting beyond the typical Carcassi repertoire is a big step too.

  15. #14

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    I remember doing some Villa Lobos which seemed intermediate. Possibly Etude 1 and Prelude 4?

  16. #15

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    Try Carcassi's 25 Etudes -- #3 is a good arpeggio piece and very melodic and pleasing. Also Sor's 20 Studies (that is the 20 studies selected and edited by Segovia). Great pieces. As you will find, many are not that hard to learn and play but to play them WELL is a challenge and will improve your skills and musicality. Lots of YouTube videos of these pieces to watch and listen to. Various pieces by Tarrega are also a standard part of every classical guitar students rep. Try Lagrima, Adelita, and some of the preludes. "Recuerdos del Alhambra" is his famous tremolo piece that everyone tries at some point. Also "Capricho Arabe" is famous but fairly advanced and difficult to play well. As others have commented, there are lots of Bach transcriptions. If you are really serious about getting into classical, I highly recommend Allen Mathew's ClassicalGuitarShed.com. Technique is very important in playing classical guitar to produce beautiful tone and also to be able to play with speed and musicality. Good luck!

    I am mostly a classical player who is dabbling in jazz, blues, and folk...

  17. #16

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    The Villa-Lobos Preludes are wonderful pieces, and not too technically difficult. They are very guitaristic, in the sense that what looks incredibly difficult on the printed page and sounds super complicated is rather easy with the right fingerings.

    Weiss is good, also a lot of Sor and Giuilini. I was at one time reasonably proficient at some of their famous works--Grand Sonata, etc.

    Frederick Noad has some classic books out--the one I have is Classical Guitar--that have a nice selection of Sor and Giulini pieces.

    One off the beaten path suggestion is a transcription of Steve Howe's acoustic guitar music. I learned Mood for a Day and Surface Tension a long time ago, and either will stand you in good stead trying to impress the average person with your nylon-string skills.

  18. #17

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    Playing Asturias as an intermediate player is a guarantee of problems later on, such as focal dystonia. Walk before you run. There are dozens of beautiful Renaissance and early Baroque pieces that are fairly easy and very musical, and written for the guitar, so they're not finger-busting piano transcriptions.

  19. #18

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    Grahambop - I am especially partial to HVL's Prelude no. 3. Just a beautiful guitaristic piece, especially as interpreted by the great Julian Bream.

    Incidentally, a side track. In one of the forum sections I was reading entries about classical playing discussing light touch versus strong. I imagine some of a player's approach is determined by the specific guitar and the music's characteristics, but I get the impression that Bream had a strong, forceful attack when I watch his videos. Here I'm actually speaking of his left hand fretting. To my physician eye he also seems to have some hyper-extensive range in his terminal phalanges - the terminal segments of the fingers that contact the strings. Some have discussed his period of training in the cello, but I think it is anatomical.


    The other day I watched the entire My Life In Music DVD as recounted by Julian Bream including numerous clips of his performances and interviews. I loved every minute.
    Last edited by targuit; 10-30-2015 at 08:13 AM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    Grahambop - I am especially partial to HVL's Prelude no. 3. Just a beautiful guitaristic piece, especially as interpreted by the great Julian Bream.

    The other day I watched the entire My Life In Music DVD as recounted by Julian Bream including numerous clips of his performances and interviews. I loved every minute.
    Oh yes, that was the other Villa Lobos piece I used to play.

    I also have that DVD, as you say it is really great to hear him talk, and see the clips.

  21. #20
    Thanks for all of your replies.

    I have managed to by Time Pieces for Guitar: Music Through the Ages Volume 2 which is for grades 3-5.

    Looking at the ABRSM website I see that typically a student has to choose 3 songs - 1 choice from 3 lists - for each grade. Time Pieces seems to be the book that is mentioned most.

    The idea is to select 3 songs (1 from each list) and learn them starting with grade 3.

    My first piece was Musette (from English Suite #3) by JS Bach.

    The piece I am currently learning is Allegretto Op. 50 No. 15 by M. Giuliani.

    Thanks Fumblefingers for suggesting looking into ABRSM.

    It's a lot of fun.

    PS if any of you want to post a youtube video of yourself playing some classical pieces on this thread then please feel free.

  22. #21

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    Seems deceptively simple at first blush but!!!!! -


    there are lots of internet resources to help along getting started

    hope that helps

    Will

  23. #22

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    i hope that you enjoy it as much as i did.

    ABRSM has well selected repertoire choices, helpful books, and "model" recordings so that you can hear how you should sound as you play these pieces.

    the 3 selections at each level are to help ensure that you maintain a balanced program - from Renaissance, to Baroque, to Classical, to Romantic, to Modern, etc.

  24. #23

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    How about Classical Gas as rite of passage?

  25. #24

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    generally not considered to be a serious piece, but intermediate to advanced players might be advised to learn it for commercial reasons.

  26. #25

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    I charge $20 to play classical gas, it's such a dumb tune. But at least I do the orchestral interlude as well.

  27. #26

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    cool. do you segue into MacArthur's Park?

    that might actually work, lol.

  28. #27

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    I will guarantee you if you want to impress the girls or the goofballs hanging out at GC learn Classical Gas. Number one nylon string show-off song ever. One of the first I learned to play. There is a nice transcription by Mario Abril that's probably available somewhere.

    The second best show-off song is Steve Howe's Mood for a Day.

    The third is of course Bach's Bouree.

  29. #28

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    I played both The Clap and Mood for a Day back in the day. When I could still impress young women. I think The Clap is superior composition wise. Bach's Bouree (the syncopated one) I once played to a very cool critic - a young dark eyed girl of around sixteen or so by the name of Sharon Isbin.

    I was in Pedelsen's music store near Carnegie Hall around 1973 or so on a late wintery afternoon. I was just playing the Bouree on a classical guitar when the staff got all excited about something. Into my zone waltzes Sharon, her black hair cascading onto her winter coat clad shoulders, and listened to my rendition. At the end she fixed me with a penetrating gaze and remarked that I had deviated from the Bream edition fingering in the last few measures when at one point I played using an open ringing string versus a modestly more difficult to finger closed passage. "You played it the easier way". I simply replied that I preferred the ringing of the open string. (Very un-Bach-like surely.)

    Given that at that time she was jail bait, that was the extent of our relationship. Far too brief...but a cool memory to share. As I suspect you know, lest I am in error Sharon Isbin is the head of the Classical Guitar department at Julliard and of course a multiple Grammy winner. I get a modest kick out of wondering if I remember the encounter so clearly, does she?
    Last edited by targuit; 11-04-2015 at 12:50 PM.

  30. #29

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    Doubt it...

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit View Post
    I played both The Clap and Mood for a Day back in the day. When I could still impress young women. I think The Clap is superior composition wise. Bach's Bouree (the syncopated one) I once played to a very cool critic - a young dark eyed girl of around sixteen or so by the name of Sharon Isbin.

    I was in Pedelsen's music store near Carnegie Hall around 1973 or so on a late wintery afternoon. I was just playing the Bouree on a classical guitar when the staff got all excited about something. Into my zone waltzes Sharon, her black hair cascading onto her winter coat clad shoulders, and listened to my rendition. At the end she fixed me with a penetrating gaze and remarked that I had deviated from the Bream edition fingering in the last few measures when at one point I played using an open ringing string versus a modestly more difficult to finger closed passage. "You played it the easier way". I simply replied that I preferred the ringing of the open string. (Very un-Bach-like surely.)

    Given that at that time she was jail bait, that was the extent of our relationship. Far too brief...but a cool memory to share. As I suspect you know, lest I am in error Sharon Isbin is the head of the Classical Guitar department at Julliard and of course a multiple Grammy winner. I get a modest kick out of wondering if I remember the encounter so clearly, does she?
    i think that your affections are misplaced.

  32. #31

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    Affections? Well, certainly at the time I was more interested in young women a bit older, if you mean sexually. And in truth, I did not know who Sharon Isbin would become at the age of sixteen or so. I was in my very early twenties at the time. I did not hear her play on that occasion either. But I was joking about "jailbait". It is amusing the role chance plays in our lives.

    Perhaps you are implying something about her sexual orientation. Or maybe you are speaking about her prowess on classical guitar? I do think a multi- Grammy winner can be considered reasonably good on their instrument.
    Last edited by targuit; 11-05-2015 at 03:10 AM.

  33. #32

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    i detected some romantic interest on your part, yep. she swings the other way and I think you know that so found that kind of odd. the jail bait part was a little creepy, but honestly, that's ok too.

    so yeah, i think she's very overrated for sure, and awards can be popularity contests. the bottom line is the playing. i think you have to see her play and compare it to others.

    IMO, Ana Vidovic and Irina Kulikova far exceed her from what I've witnessed - up close and in recordings. That's just two ladies of guitar and I believe that I could name at least one other off the top of my head but i'll hold. I find Sharon to be quite pretentious and self-indulgent too. She does this little meditation thing with her head tilted up, eyes closed, and a peaceful little smile before every friggin' piece. then she does this little forehead wiping motion. i kid you not. it looks like something that she learned from a west coast ashram or something. it goes on for far too long and is distracting to the audience.

    she plays the Asturias more slowly than any other big name guitarist, and she blows it too. I watched her do a false start then stop and pretend like she needed to tune her guitar. it may have fooled some of the little blue haired ladies in the audience, but probably not. i watched half a concert of this stuff, and left at intermission.

    on the other hand i saw Marcin Dylla totally forget his place mid-piece a couple of times. but then his prowess exceeds hers by about 3 times, and he was playing "Music of Memory" which is a long, super busy, frenetic, atonal? piece that would be the last thing a person could memorize (ironically).

    but i'm glad that Sharon is at Julliard. she is most certainly qualified to teach there, and it's a win win. and i'm glad for you that you're a fan. if you like ladies who play at the highest levels, and are not overly impressed with celebrity, i highly recommend both Ana and Irina.

    ciao.

  34. #33

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    Fumblefingers -

    I was simply recounting a true story triggered by the mention of Bach's Bouree. I was not looking to shag the young lady, though she was not unattractive at sixteen and her prettiest feature that I could see was her dark hair - she was wearing a winter coat. In fact I was most impressed by the fact that she initiated the conversation with an older (5 years) guy. Apparently the staff at the music store were quite familiar with her and treated her with a certain deference and respect. I had not the slightest idea who she was at that time. Only in retrospect, but my memory of the encounter is like it was last week. And sadly, neither her nor I look as good now as we did then. Our encounter was as brief as I described, but it is not everyday you cross the path of a future department head at Julliard and multiple Grammy winner, now do you?

    I tend to agree with your assessment of her playing, though I have to respect the fact that she did win some prestigious competitions and win a Grammy or two. I, too, am impressed with Ana Vidovic, who happens to be a lovely woman. To deny her sexual attractiveness as well as her guitar prowess would be silly. I'll have to listen to Irina Kulikova. As for who swings which way, well that is not up to me, is it?

    The jailbait comment was a joke, but sorry if it 'creeped you out'. When I was eighteen at college, I met a precocious young woman of sixteen who pushed the limits, and honestly I did not even know at the time that an intimate relationship would constitute something that I could have been held criminally responsible for. Hormones are strong motivators. But at the time I was naïve to the letter of the law. Fortunately, my sixth sense told me not to consummate the relationship in the shower together.

    But that is just another story in the Big City....

  35. #34
    I must say that Largo from Vivaldi's Winter is very nice to play. I only started it yesterday but have most of the song down already. Appearently it is a grade 5 piece but seems somewhat easier to learn than some grade 3 pieces (probably because I love it and can't stop playing it over. It flows to beautifully).

    Bach's Bouree in Em is a grade 6 piece appearently (ABRSM) so I think that I could be a grade 5/6-ish player. I'll learn a few more pieces in these grades before attempting a grade 7 piece.

    Thanks Fumblefingers for suggesting Time Pieces.

  36. #35

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    Yeah these levels are not perfect. I found some level 3 things challenging yet played some level 6 things well.

    but on balance the levels are pretty solid.

    i would typically practice 9 pieces per level, 3 from each period.

  37. #36
    I like the sound of the baroque period the best.

    Like I said Largo from Vivaldi's Winter is just beautiful. J.S Bach of course.

    Actually I had to laugh this morning as I started on Mozart's Allegro K.3

    The piece is from 1762 yet Mozart's birth year is 1756 suggesting that he was just 6 when he wrote this piece.

    My wife and I saw the movie 'Amadeus' in a church earlier this week and I recognise the piece from the movie though I can't remember which scene.

    Thanks again fumblefingers. I'm having a lot of fun with Time Pieces.

  38. #37

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    great. i like all periods, although the common practice period and modern periods speak more to me.

    the modern pieces are frequently not as strong, with some exceptions of course. those classical composers were really something.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post

    Actually I had to laugh this morning as I started on Mozart's Allegro K.3

    The piece is from 1762 yet Mozart's birth year is 1756 suggesting that he was just 6 when he wrote this piece.
    He was, that's why he was called a child prodigy

  40. #39

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    I have transcribed Julian Bream's fingerings for the Passacaille by Leopold Weiss. It's very popular with Intermediate players ie. it's a lot of fun to learn and can hold an audience's attention very easily.



    Soleares from Turina's Hommage a Tarrega
    Gavotta Choro by Heitor Villa Lobos
    Ponce's Prelude in E(the popular one that imitates Weiss)
    any of the Vals by Lauro
    Tansman's Danza Pomposa
    Tarrega's haunting Prelude in Am

    still, I'm not sure what most intermediates players do these days. There seems to be an awful lot of music available on the internet...stuff I couldn't find when I was younger unless I took lessons.

    I see that this is an old post. I hope you found some interesting music to learn from.
    Roland Lee

  41. #40

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    You should be using the RCM Guitar Series (now called "Bridges").

    Worth the small investment. Get the syllabus (contains additional repertoire suggestions) and Scales and Arpeggios books, too.

    Start working on Leo Brouwer, Villa-Lobos, and some Bach and Weiss.