To read and play music, instantly at first sight, is an impressive skill but also one of the most challenging tasks for musicians, particularly with guitarists.
“Scordatura,” in Italian literally meaning “discord,” refers to retuning the standard tuning of a string instrument.
Scale Pattern Recognition
Scales are essential building blocks of music. The Preface of Aaron Shearer’s Scale Pattern Studies for the Guitar (1965) begins with
Pattern Recognition in Music
When learning a new piece, it’s important to first scan the music to get an overall feel for its structure, a process called pre-reading. Look for elements like key signature, challenging rhythms and pitches, and musical patterns.
Fingerings provide clues to organize both right-and left-hand movements when learning a piece of music. Music may include a sprinkling of fingerings
One-hand guitar harmonics
Темрява—Temryava (pronounced “tem-ye-vah,” meaning “darkness” in Ukrainian) is an intermediate level piece that features one-hand harmonics.
This is an arrangment of two traditional Scottish Tunes—Bottom of the Punch Bowl and My Nanie O (or When Bidden to the Wake) merged into one.
Pizzicato and Syncopation
This Invention in E major is in open position and features slurring, rhythmic syncopation, pizzicato, glissandi, ponticello, and p golpe (tapping on the soundboard).
Playing in Higher Positions
Nearly all beginning guitar method books start in the open position for good reason. The left hand stays fixed in place, oriented at the first fret.
Rubato and Glissando
Prayer is an intermediate-level piece that features sections of flexible rhythm, meter, and tempo in a playing style called rubato, a piacere, or ad libitum
When Jesus Wept was originally composed as a canon (musical round) in 1770 by American composer William Billings. The setting here is two-voice/imitative and was arranged in response to the George Floyd death on May 25, 2020.
In the Silence
In the Silence is an intermediate piece that features a rest-stroke upper melody with free-stroke arpeggiated accompaniment.
When compound- and simple-subdivided beats are combined together, the result is irregular meter.
Kenya is a very accessible (open-position) hemiola study in the style of African folk music.
How can I play louder?
The skill of playing loudly is a vital one for our instrument based on the comparative overall dynamic range of the classical guitar.
Welsh Folk Song
Suo-Gân is a traditional Welsh tune, first appearing around 1800 with lyrics set by the Welsh folklorist Robert Bryan.
Irish Folk Song
Kingsfold is an Irish tune, dating as far back as the Middle Ages. In structure, the melody resembles other popular Irish tunes such as Star of the County Down.
A new rhythm arises when the accent pattern in 6/8 meter shifts from two groups of three’s to three groups of two’s. This is called hemiola.
Kalimba is an easy rhythm study featuring 16-note patterns with off-beat stress. It was written to imitate the sound of the south African instrument by the same name
Slurring is the technique of playing multiple notes with only one stroke. When played well, it brings a beautiful connected “legato” to the musical line.