William Bay has a bunch of original etudes in different styles for you to practice
We get so much sheet music sent to us by various publishers year ’round—literally hundreds of pieces in every setting imaginable (solo guitar, multiple guitars, guitar-flute, guitar-harp, etc.)—but we don’t have the space to write about the great majority of them in our four quarterly issues each year.
So, just as we are listing new classical guitar CD releases on some Tuesdays here, we will also use occasional Tuesdays to announce recent print music releases. As with the CDs, these are not reviews per se (some will be reviewed in the magazine, but frankly most will not), but we think it’s important to at least get the word out about what’s being offered to guitarists out there. Where possible, we’ve linked the titles to the publisher’s website or some other outlet where it can be purchased, and stated the degree of difficulty (if provided by the publisher or it’s obvious). —Blair Jackson
From Piero Bonaguri, general editor of Ut Orpheus’ ‘Contemporary Music for Guitar’ series: “For some time I have been thinking of asking someone amongst my composer friends to write a series of counterpoints for guitar, also for educational purposes. It is a fairly obvious gap in teaching material for the instrument, since the guitar student is at a disadvantage, unlike his fellow pianists and harpsichordists who can count on the two and three-part Inventions and the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. It is true that we have an impressive amount of music (sometimes also intended for teaching purposes), of the highest musical level, in the numerous collections of music for vihuela and Renaissance lute. But it is still modal music, not explicitly written for guitar, and furthermore not always available in transcriptions and editions which are easy to use by a student…
“A few months ago a student of Paolo Ugoletti [who is also represented in this colume], Andrea Vezzoli, sent me a brief Fugue of his for the guitar that was written so well, musically and instrumentally, as to make me think of him as a potential collaborator in my project. Vezzoli responded enthusiastically to my proposal and quickly sent me this series of small pieces that are right in line with my intentions, creating a collection that appears, perhaps for the first time, with these characteristics, in the repertoire for the guitar. Some pieces are in modal language, others are tonal and some go beyond the code of tonality. I asked the composer for this stylistic differentiation also for greater didactic benefit…
“The two composers then helped me to identify and describe the formal characteristics of the various pieces that appear in this volume, also in relation to the contrapuntal techniques used. To these observations borrowed from the composers I have added some relating to the fingering and performance techniques. The result is a kind of small guide to the study of counterpoint on the guitar, which is quite unusual and which I hope will be useful both for students and concert performers and teachers.” Advanced.
William Bay is the son of the legendary Mel Bay, whose publishing company has arguably had greater pedagogical reach to guitar students the world-over than any other modern publisher. These books from the company’s new Achieving Guitar Artistry series promise to elevate the playing of intermediate and stronger players by presenting a multitude of Baroque-inspired studies (57!) in different keys (e.g. seven in A minor, four in D major, three in C major, etc.). It is William Bay’s hope and expectation that “frequent performance of these etudes will not only enhance technique, but will offer the guitarist an opportunity to improve tone, touch, and lyrical phrasing… These linear etudes are multi-positional. That is, when playing them you will move from position to position on the fingerboard. I have chosen to present these studies in notation only; however, I have included fingering on the more complex passages as well as circled numbers to indicate on which strings certain notes and passages are to be played. I play these etudes on nylon and also steel-string guitars and find they sound good on any type of guitar.” A companion volume by William Bay is called Odd-Time Etudes (100 pp.), designed to make guitarists feel more comfortable playing unusual time signatures. The 48 examples cover 5/8, 7/8 9/8, 10/8 and 11/18. Another is devoted to Contemporary Baroque Etudes.
Below, Rob MacKillop plays a piece from the Linear Guitar Etudes book on an acoustic steel-string guitar:
Siyoh Tomiyama Adult Time
Les Productions d’Oz, 16 pp.
Engaging and appealing advanced three-part work by noted Japanese composer-guitarist. Part 1, “Elegant Pub,” is somewhat jazzy, with possibly some Brazilian shadings; part 2, “In a Lazy Mood,” is a lovely, lyrical, and vaguely bucolic ballad; and part 3, “Dance Party,” has a spirited retro feel, with bits of blues and boogie-woogie in the mix. Listen to the entire piece below.