Melody Guitar

Introduction to the Repertoire

Four of the last five Exercises in Melody Guitar are in effect guitar ensemble pieces. Two familiar rounds are given by Exercise 12 and Exercise 13 ("Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "Three Blind Mice"). Despite the simple musical structure of these two pieces, they both contain rapid sequences of notes, and are therefore far more challenging at a faster tempo. "Bingo" (Exercise 15), a well known children's favorite, is given in a lively and surprisingly complete sounding three part arrangement. "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (Exercise 16), a popular American favorite well known to baseball fans everywhere, is given in a traditional four part arrangement.

Sixteen short pieces are included in the guitar ensemble Repertoire section of Melody Guitar. The first three are duets, and could therefore be considered a continuation of Exercise 14, which consisted of four short duets. The next three are trios, which means they are arranged for three parts. The remaining ten are all in four part arrangements. The Repertoire was chosen mainly with a view toward making the music as accessible as possible. Simple pieces were therefore given preference over more complicated pieces. The Repertoire was also chosen with a view toward including a wide variety of musical types and styles. This allows for a well-rounded general introduction to music, and in addition provides a sampling of the great diversity of music contained in the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog.

The three duets are among the simplest pieces contained in the entire guitar ensemble catalog. The Bach "Minuet in a minor", the most challenging of the three, demonstrates the logic and symmetry which typically charactarize Bach's music. Notice that the two D. L. Stieg duets ("Opus #11" and "Opus #35") are also given in four part arrangements in the D. L. Stieg volume of the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog. The first of the three trios, "Humming Song" by Schumann, is actually a duet between the upper and lower parts, punctuated by repeating notes sounded in syncopated rhythm by the interior part. The two D. L. Stieg trios demonstrate the adaptability of the three part format to a variety of types of music. The first ("Opus #33) is in a minor key, and has a decidedly Baroque flavor. The second ("Opus #13) is in a Major key, and has a Gospel feel about it.

"Minuet in D" by Beethoven, the first of the ten four part arrangements in this anthology, is well known to anyone at all familiar with the Twelvemonth Music Web site, and needs no further introduction here. In the first of the three rounds ("The House Of The Rising Sun"), a well known melody enters as the last of the four round parts, thus making this a hidden round (the identity of the song is hidden until the last part enters). In the following piece ("Are You Sleeping?"), each part of a simple round is harmonized the second time through, thus forming a double round. "Opus #25" is another minor key piece with a decidedly Classical feel. There is a decidedly un-Classical feel, however, to "The Hokey Pokey", which features an interesting effect created by the three lower parts descending, and then ascending, in tandem.

Bach's "Chorale #208" will serve as an introduction to the chorale format, which evolved into a musical form now more popularly known as the hymn. The last volume of the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog contains sixteen Bach Chorales, which more fully demonstrate the parts arranging genius of this musical giant. On a lighter note, "Old MacDonald" will challenge your flatpick skills, particularly if you take on the melody, which is easily the hardest part of this arrangement. The third and last round ("Round") has a modal flavor (modal means neither minor nor Major), and is reminiscent of American Indian music. This is followed by "Shenandoah", one of the loveliest and most poignant songs in the American folk music tradition. The anthology concludes with "Cindy", a traditional country favorite which lends itself especially well to the guitar ensemble format.