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Anthology is a collection of 40 guitar ensemble arrangements for simple songs and short musical pieces. These 40 selections are all included among the 190 songs and short musical pieces contained in the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog of the visualinear tablature guitar series. Each of the ten volumes of the Core Catalog is represented in the Anthology collection. The 40 arrangements are not given in order of increasing difficulty, but rather in the order in which they appear in the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog.
“Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, a popular American favorite well known to baseball fans everywhere, is given in a traditional four part arrangement. “Cindy”, a traditional country favorite, lends itself especially well to the guitar ensemble format. “The Coventry Carol” is in a minor key but concludes with a Major chord. This type of final cadence was used with some frequency in the Baroque era, and is known in theoretical terms as a “Picadilly 3rd”. The A2 and B2 parts are very active rhythmically in the arrangement for “What Child Is This?”, which is probably equally well known in the folk music adaptation called “Greensleeves”. In “The First Noel”, the A2 part sounds the melody notes a half beat later in several instances, creating an interesting effect not unlike the ringing of bells.
The drones (A1 and B1) are used to good advantage in “The Little Drummer Boy”, the arrangement for which also utilizes parallel harmony throughout in the A2 part, and an interesting and emphatic ostinato figure in the B2 part. “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” is a lively holiday number that is especially well suited for use as the finale to a concert of Christmas music. The arrangement for “Mockingbird” employs damped notes, and has the feel of 18th century court dance music. Notice that the four measure melody is sounded three times, each time with a different harmonization. “Pop Goes The Weasel”, that old Jack-in-the-Box favorite, is given in a straightforward legato arrangement which downplays the musical shock value of Jack’s grand entrance. Notice the interesting effect created by the passage in which all three parts sound in rhythmic unison. “This Old Man” is given here in a challenging arrangement that captures the energy of this delightful song, and that employs the guitar ensemble format to particularly good advantage.
The arrangement for “Ten In A Bed” is an incomplete account of a rather lengthy song. Only the first three verses are given here (ten in a bed, nine in a bed, and eight in a bed). Other verses can be added by shortening the cadence figure each time around. Notice the development of a harmonized counter melody (please remember to tie a knot in your pajamas) in the two interior parts. You might want to don sunglasses and a beret to play “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which is given here in a funky jazz-style arrangement. Once you’ve mastered the bass line in this arrangement, which by the way is incredibly fun to play and therefore well worth the effort, you will never again be intimidated by the notation for compound meter. In the arrangement for “The Yankee Doodle Boy”, one of George M. Cohan’s better known songs, the interior parts create a lively rhythmic mood by sounding damped notes throughout. The arrangement for “Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier”, an 18th century folk song, is more formal and more somber than is normally the case. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home", a very popular song during the American Civil War (1861-1865), is given here in an unusually somber arrangement. This interpretation is suggested by the song’s lyrics and by the minor key, which together express some doubt over whether Johnny actually will come marching home (and in far too many cases, sadly, he did not).
No such interpretation is possible, however, for “Dixie”, another popular Civil War era song. The very nature of this tune’s melody and lyrics demand an interpretation similar to the one given here – lively, upbeat, and engaging. The American national anthem (“The Star Spangled Banner”) needs no introduction here, except possibly to say that it is about as hard to play as it is to sing. The arrangement given here is highlighted by the passages in which all the parts sound in unison, which has a very striking effect. “Skip To My Lou” is an old-time favorite which was quite well known to many generations of Americans. The arrangement for this lively tune is fairly intricate and makes dramatic use of damped notes. “Scarborough Fair” is a lovely centuries-old English folk song which has long been known and admired in America. The arrangement for this piece is in a Classical style suggestive of Renaissance or Elizabethan music. “La Bamba” is an old Mexican folk song which was already reasonably well known in the American southwest when it was more widely popularized by rock and roll star Richie Valens around 1960. The five part arrangement for this lively number is without doubt one of the most fun to play in the entire Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog. The arrangement consists of a melody, damped rhythms in the two upper interior parts, a counter melody in the lower interior part, and a very active bass line.
In Opus #9, all of the parts are very melodic, which creates a contrapuntal feel, and some of the harmonies are somewhat Medieval-sounding. Note the tendency for music in a minor key to have a highly expressive and emotive quality about it. Opus #38 is the blues, and includes a few hammered notes. A hammer-on is a two note fretting technique in which the first note is sounded in the usual manner, and then a second note is sounded on the same string by forcefully re-fretting the string at a higher fret. Opus #34, which also contains hammered notes, has a very Elizabethan (17th century) feel about it, and is a very fun piece to play. Opus #21 is a highly syncopated piece, in a funky style, which makes particularly good use of the guitar ensemble format. The melody, which is the last of the four voices to enter, is very simple, but it completes the syncopated final cadence quite nicely. “Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring” is a familiar theme which Bach developed in a number of his compositions. It is given here in a simple duet arrangement in which the two parts differ considerably in degree of difficulty. This piece, which gives the impression of perpetual motion, demonstrates that rhythmic variety and rhythmic complexity are not essential to the creation of a beautiful and musically successful melody.
“Allegro” by Mozart is a bouncy duet, full of damped notes, in which the upper part is again far more challenging than the lower. The relatively few passages in this piece that do not contain damped notes should be played in as legato a manner as possible. “Sarabande” is a stately-sounding piece in which Handel expresses a very solemn mood with very simple music. Notice the brief duet, between the melody and bass parts, preceding the final cadence. “I Know A Young Maiden” by DiLasso, one of the loveliest and most challenging pieces in the entire Mixed Classical collection, is a Renaissance choral piece that lends itself very well to the guitar ensemble format. “Prelude #20 in c# minor” is a dirge-like piece (a dirge is a funeral song) in which Chopin demonstrates the tremendous emotive potential of music in a minor key. The familiar melody of “Ode To Joy”, the theme to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, was given as an exercise, one octave lower, in Melody Guitar. In the original score, Beethoven’s choral and orchestral arrangement for this melody was very titanic and very complex. The simple three part arrangement given here consists of the melody, Beethoven’s own contrapuntal bass line, and an interior part which I fashioned as best I could to suit the purpose.
Saboly’s “Touro-louro-louro”, a Renaissance choral piece in Madrigal style, is one of the most challenging pieces in the entire Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog, but also one of the most rewarding. The melody in Grieg’s “Waltz” is very Hungarian-sounding, and employs a couple of quick pull-offs for which the first note (called a grace note in this context) is of very short duration. Notice the sharp contrast between the rhythm guitar style accompaniment developed in the first section of the piece, and the striking effect of the rhythmic unison of all four parts in the second section. "Allon, Gey Bergeres" by Costeley is a lively Renaissance choral piece which carries well in the guitar ensemble format. “Allegro” by Haydn is a very energetic and assertive piece of music, and would best be played on the guitar with a flatpick. The melody part of the guitar ensemble arrangement for this piece is the most challenging of the three parts, especially since it includes a few melodic turns that can only be played by backpicking the notes between beats (backpicking a note means sounding that note while moving the flatpick in an upward direction). Chopin’s “Prelude” is a very effective piece in the guitar ensemble format, and should also be flatpicked for the best possible effect. Backpicking is required for the notes immediately preceding beats in the duet between the top two parts. The correct timing for these notes requires a quartering of the beat.
“Praise Ye The Lord”, a Saint-Saens choral work, does not sound like it is set to a religious lyric. This piece sounds more like inspirational music of a more secular persuasion. Chorale #290 in E Major is a fairly rhythmically active piece, containing numerous little runs, in all four parts, that give this music a very dynamic character. The effect of the final cadence to a tightly-grouped chord is heightened by the dissonance in the passage by which it is preceded. Bach’s immense genius is well demonstrated, even if only on a small scale, by Chorale #181 in e minor. In this five phrase piece, the melody from the first phrase is repeated but differently harmonized in the second phrase, and the melody from the third phrase is repeated but differently harmonized in the fourth phrase. The harmonizations in the second and fourth phrases are so different that it is difficult to detect that the melodies are the same. Chorale #86 in D Major is of a much less solemn nature, and moves along briskly, with the exception of a single passage in which the rhythms are slowed to very good effect. Notice that this piece ends with a descending Major scale in the soprano line. Notice too the fascinating harmonization with which Bach accompanied this routine succession of notes. In Chorale #207 in d minor, the first two of the four phrases of which this piece is comprised are very rhythmically active and very syncopated in all four parts. In the third and fourth phrases, not nearly as rhythmically active, a contrasting musical style is developed, which reflects the two-part construction of the melody for this piece.
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