Playing Melody and Accompaniment

For more information about Lyric Tune in A Major, see.


Solace is an arpeggio study written in 5/8 that features a melody and accompaniment.   It should counted in 2 beats (1 compound +1 simple beat) as 1&a, 2& (not 1,2,3,4,5).  To begin, view the arpeggio on open strings and practice counting aloud:

Next, study and practice the organization of the arpeggio as a combination of the sympathetic and opposed motions (for information on these terms, see The Shearer Method, Book I, Classic Guitar Foundations, pp.63 & 98):

Melody and Accompaniment

To create the melody and accompaniment texture, give more dynamic stress to the melody and less to the accompaniment.  This can be accomplished when the right hand plays with both rest and free strokes.

    • Stems-up melody may be played rest stroke either with a or m,
    • Stems-down accompanying parts are played free stroke p, i, and m.

Begin by practicing the right-hand pattern of rest and free strokes on open strings:

At the beginning, there is a challenge playing rest stroke a simultaneously with p free stroke on the bass.   Isolate this coordination as much as needed.  Also, with both rest strokes, be sure not to “rest” too long on the lower adjacent string, since free strokes immediately follow.

To develop a connection with the melody, it’s always helpful to extract it, playing rhythmically with rest stroke fingers.  Practice one segment or phrase at a time:

Technical Notes

When pre-reading Solace, notice the upper-position chord (m. 26) which requires fingers on the frets V  and VII.   4 plays B on (1) at VII and 1 plays C on (3) at V.  This may be confusing to read because C on (3) sounds higher than open string (2):

Visualize on the finerboard:

Later at m. 77 another upper-position chord needs clarifying.   Here 4 plays D on (1) and 3 plays C on (4) both at fret X.  Like the example above,  C on (4) sounds higher than open strings (3) and (2).
Visualize on the fingerboard

To find out more about combined rest stroke and free stoke apreggios, see The Shearer Method Book II, Classic Guitar Developments, p.106.  Other studies that apply this technique may be found in Sheet Music section of the Shearer Studio and in the Online Supplement.

Solace was composed in response to Charlottesville 8-12-17.


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