It's Here The Book./CD includes Amazing Grace, Scarborough Faire, Black is the Color, Barbara Allen, Simple Gifts, Greensleeves, Shady Grove, And many more.
Whether you are a guitarist who is looking for quality pieces for performance, or someone who enjoys playing for themselves and is looking for some great material to play, this is the book for you. Some of these wonderful pieces you will recognize, and others will probably be new to you, but I think you will agree, once you play them, that there is not a bad piece in this collection. From the lovely "Amazing Grace," to the lively "Shady Grove" to the sweet "My Own True Love," I believe you will find this collection to be invaluable. You will also discover some beautiful folk songs from other countries like the haunting "Dance of Zalongou" or the Peruvian "Song of the Lagoon." All of these wonderful selections combine to make this an essential collection. In addition to providing you with some great arrangements of the folk songs you know, this volume will also introduce you to some new music you will not want to miss.
The Balkan Book for Guitar Book/CD 6/14/08
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The music is presented in both music notation and guitar TAB (for people that do not read music). The music notation is clear and crisp. It contains complete clear fingerings for the guitar. These will help you to learn the tunes quickly whether you depend on the tablature or the music.
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The CD, played by Allan Alexander, gives the musician the advantage of being able to hear how these songs can be played and will make the learning process easier. This is a high quality Digital recording (DDD). In addition to helping the player become familiar with the music, it will also be a source of listening pleasure.
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This is a terrific collection of twenty-two pieces from around the world. The focus of this book is twofold. First and foremost is always to bring you music that you can't stop playing. Great pieces that have that magical quality that will keep you coming back to play them over and over again. Equally important is the playability. You will find that these pieces fit beautifully on the fingerboard and are accessible to most intermediate guitarists. We will bet that you do not have most of these pieces in your music collection, no matter how large it is.
The CD will help you learn the pieces, and you will find it's also made for listening. The book has both notation and tablature in separate sections and there are no page turns in the entire book. This is a must have collection.
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Folksongs for Guitar from Near and Far - Contents
My Own True Love Aleksandra thinks this piece sounds like an old Celtic Melody, but actually, I wrote it. Every once in a while I somehow managed to nail it. This is one of those tunes which came very quickly to me and I knew it was a tune I would be playing for a very long time. I would love for someone to write lyrics for this tune and then record it so I could hear it as a vocal.
Amazing Grace A former English ship's Captain by the name of John Newton wrote the lyrics for this piece. In a very short time, he went from being a slave trader to an abolitionist. In 1835 William Walker of South Carolina published very popular hymn book in which he combined Newton's lyrics with a hymn which we now know as Amazing Grace. It's not as hard to play as it might look.
Three Ravens Also known as "The Two Corbies" this popular melody dates back to the early sixteen hundreds and was published in a book titled "Melismata" by Thomas Ravenscroft. It's a wonderful melody with very dark lyrics, which makes me very happy I can do it as an instrumental. I wrote a variation which I think sounds a bit Baroque.
Greensleeves This is a modern version with an added variation. If you are in love with Greensleeves, you can find this version plus all the others that I could find in our edition "The Essential Greensleeves." Please take a careful look at the fingerings in this piece. There are many places to hold fingers down from measure to measure which will make this piece so much easier to play. If you only read tablature, please still look at the fingerings in the music once you become familiar with the piece. It will really help you to play it.
Inca Melodies Although I'm sure you will recognize these ancient melodies, they are actually from the Andes mountains and are very old. They have been popularized by a famous group, and many more people have performed the piece under another title. That titled is copy-written, but not the melody I used. So enjoy this arrangement and have fun with the variation I wrote. Please look at the fingerings as there are many fingers you can hold down and by following the fingerings, you will learn to play the piece both quickly and smoothly. Some fingerings might appear a but unusual, but have faith and try them.
Barbara Allen I remember Joan Baez singing this piece. When I was a kid, I had her album on Vanguard records. I always wanted to sing, but I just couldn't cut it. So thankfully, eventually, I gave up trying and decided I was going to have to learn how to really play music on the guitar instead.
Black is the Color This is another classic folk song and I have I enjoyed doing this arrangement and variation. I have loved these pieces since I was young and it's a very good feeling to do arrangements of them and now be able to play them. There are more songs you may recognize in "Music of the British Isles."
Scarborough Faire If you enjoy this arrangement and variation, then you might consider "World Music for Guitar." I have another arrangement of this piece which is a bit darker, but powerful. Perhaps it sounds a bit medieval, whereas this is more of a combination of Renaissance and Modern. Please carefully watch the fingerings. For example, in measure eleven, you might think the use of the 3rd finger on the "c" is odd, but if you take the time and get used to slipping your 2nd finger on the "e" you will find then the rest of the transition will be smooth and painless. This is also a piece where it is important to play the melody notes louder than the notes which accompany the melody.
Sa Mirrie as we have Bein This title probably translates to "So Merry as We Have Been." It is a old Scottish melody and it was a very popular song of the time. In "Early Scottish Melodies" by John Glen it says that "This tune is one of the most ancient, and is remarkable for having a three bar rhythm, which is seldom used. The melody has been preserved in both the Straloch Manuscript (Though I can't find it in my copy) and the Skene Manuscripts, and it occurs in most of the early printed collections of Scottish music
Peggie Is Over ye Sie Wi Ye Souldier In a collection like this, I enjoy presenting pieces that you are familiar with, but also showing you some pieces you might not know but may just end up falling in love with. This is a lively melodic air and it's from the Skene Manuscript. It bears a resemblance to another Scottish tune "Hey Jenny, Come down to Jock."
Simple Gifts Since this is an instrumental arrangment without someone singing, I have added an introduction and variation to make it interesting for both the player and the listener. Simple Gifts is a piece written by Elder Joseph Brackett, a Shaker, who lived in the state of Maine all his life. The original piece is a one verse song. The Lyrics are as follows: 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain'd, To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come out right.
The Woods So Wilde This piece was a very very popular song of both the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. It can be found twice in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Books, in a lute manuscript arranged by Francis Cutting and also in Playford's "The Dancing Master." William Byrd wrote this wonderful theme and variations, and it was transcribed for the lute by Francis Cutting. It was also sung. They lyrics are : Shall I go walk the wood so wild, Wandering, wandering here and there, As I was once full sore beguild, Alas! for love! I die with woe. Wearily blows the winter wind, Wandering, wandering here and there, My heart is like a striken hind, Alas! for love I die with woe. If you enjoy this piece, you might enjoy the many pieces of the renaissance in "Renaissance Music for Guitar" volumes I and II.
Makedonsko Devojce The title of this piece means "Macedonian Girl." It is a beautiful Balkan folk song in 7/8 time. The Lyrics translate to: Macedonian girl, a many-colored bouquet, gathered in a garden, given as a gift. Is there in this wide world, a more beautiful girl than a Macedonian? There isn't, there isn't, there won't be born a more beautiful girl than a Macedonian! There are no stars more beautiful, than your eyes. They light up the night sky, as though it were dawn. If you enjoy this piece, be sure to check out our book "The Balkan Book for Guitar" wherein you will find many lovely pieces from the Balkans.
Flowres of the Forrest This was a popular Scottish song probably written in the 1500's, but to show you how timely this piece is Fairport Convention has performed a version of it. Some lyrics are "I've heard the lilting, at the yowe-milking, Lassies a-lilting before dawn o' day, But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning, The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. Their melody is different than this one which is the nearest to the original that I have seen.
Humilde This beautiful piece from Peru is optimistic and dark at the same time. I love the sound of music from the Andes. This piece is from the Amazon region. If you enjoy this piece you can find more South American music in "World Music for Guitar" and "Music of Spain & South America for Guitar."
Kilt Thy Coat Maggie It is mentioned in the trial of John Douglas and eight women from Tranent for witchcraft on May 3rd 1659, that the defendants confessed, among other things, to having merry meetings with the devil, at which they were entertained with music played by John Douglas being their piper, and that two of the tunes to which they danced were "Kilt Thy Coat Maggie" and "Come this Way With Me."
Dance of Zalongou I had a hard time with this arrangement, and tried for years to get it right. I finally decided to forget writing a variation and do the melody in the bass for a second section. This haunting piece in 7/8 time commemorates the twenty-two Souliot women and their children who were trapped in the Zalongou mountains between their enemies and a steep cliff. Rather than be captured, they first threw their children off the cliff, and then jumped themselves. Some of the lyrics are: The women of Souli, have not only learnt how to survive, they also know how to die, not to tolerate slavery. It's a horrible story, but a beautiful piece. More pieces from Greece and the Balkans can be found in "The Balkan Book for Guitar."
My Lady Laudian's Lilt This is probably written for Lady Lothian, spouse of Mark Kerr, Earl of Lauthian. It's a lovely piece, if not a touch melancholy and tender. It is one of the easier pieces in this collection and a good one to practice reading notation if you are a tablature reader. There is so much more information in music notation. How long to hold certain notes while others ring and left hand fingerings which can really help in learning a piece, just to name two.
Ladie Rothemayis Lilt We believe that this lilt was written on the occasion of Lady Rothemayis' marriage to William Gordon of Rothemayis. Like many of the pieces from the Skene manuscript, there is little harmony and the melodies are short. In most cases, I try and fill them out with a variation or two.
Shady Grove Also known as Matty Grove. In the Renaissance a popular form of piece was a Bransle. They often use an alternating "pedal" in the bass to harmonize the piece for the lute. In modern times, folk guitarists use it also, and it was probably introduced by Merle Travis and it is called Travis Picking. That is, playing a melody while playing an alternating bass. I used it in this piece and also in Humilde. There are a few other folk songs and some Celtic pieces in the book "Music of the British Isles."
Carolan's Lament I just love the music of the Irish Harper Turlough Carolan, and although we have two books available with many of his works, I was thinking about him again and wrote this Lament in this honor. He was a fantastic composer who had a very difficult life.
Song of the Lagoon This is another great piece from Peru. Some of these pieces are very short, so it's an opportunity to build on the piece and expand it with an introduction and a variation. There are so many pieces from the Andes that attract me. If you also find you like this music, be sure to check out "World Music for Guitar" from ADG Productions.