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As classical guitarists, we often need to look beyond our own borders to find inspiration. Our own repertoire is quite limited, especially compared to the wealth of music that violinists and pianists have available. It is common practice for classical guitarists to make their own transcriptions and arrangements of compositions that were written for other instruments.

This is my transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685 – 1750) Allemande from French Suite in E-flat major (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. The Allemande is a German dance in 4 beats, characterized by a moderate pace. To me, it feels like something that elegantly unfolds, winding gently like the broad roads in the countryside.

Link: Guitar performance (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Link: Harpsichord performance (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Link: Piano performance (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Assignment:

1.) Reflect on the guitar performance.

2.) This Allemande was originally written for the harpsichord, the keyboard instrument from the Baroque era, the predecessor of the piano. Compare my guitar version to the two keyboard versions.

3.) We call them transcriptions or arrangements. Some use the word “adapted.” Bands will do “covers” of popular songs. These are all very similar in concept. Share a piece of music that you enjoy that has undergone some kind of arrangement.

Link the original piece (a YouTube link, for example.)
Link the arranged version.
Compare the two versions. Share what you enjoy about each version and what the arrangement brings to the table. Maybe something lost and something else is gained.

Ted Talk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENJuNCkPfx0 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Over the Rainbow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cHeNscKZN0 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Tears in Heaven

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ExFsLH-O-o (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Amazing Grace (with some commentary prologue)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niT2q0ElP4g&index=12&list=RD9ExFsLH-O-o (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Beatles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPkQn5nDTZs (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Assignment:

1.) Start with the Ted Talk. Consider the the parts where he introduces his band (1:40) and where he talks about his percussion techniques (7:30). When we think of the guitar, we usually think of the sounds produced by the strings. But if you consider all of the different kinds of woods that are used to make the guitar, and if you allow more than finger picking and a using picks, you can get quite creative with many other possible “guitar” sounds.Reflect on his technique and on the excerpt that he performs.

2.) Tommy’s + wife’s letter (15:30). Share a few elements of his letter and the Talk overall that stood out to you.

3.) Listen to any song from the list and share your thoughts.

4.) Listen to another song and share your thoughts.

5.) Today, many guitarists combine varieties of techniques and sounds to put on a great show. Do you have a guitarist you enjoy listening to who brings these extended techniques to the guitar? Compare Tommy Emmanuel and your guitarist. If you don’t know anyone, Andy McKee (here performing “Africa” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) has millions of views. I personally love Thomas Leeb (here performing a Pink Floyd cover. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

 

 

 

Solution Preview

Assignment one
1. About your transcription, the guitar instrument feels much soft and systematic as compared to the though the predecessor was played by keyboard means. The guitar sounds great and beautifully rendered. Just like the keyboard sound, the guitar artistry is much amazing and full of energy, divine as well as sublime.
2. The Allemande is however much inspiring with great tempo and would probably consider it as the best and much-understood way of playing Bach I have ever heard. French Bach’s are much more beautiful,

 

 

 

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