These are pieces that will Capture your Imagination.
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-three pieces from Spain and South America. 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.
Titles are: Song Of Salamanca, Canaries Two, O Cantiga das Sombras, O
Que Diz Que Servir- Cantiga 311, Brazilian Lullaby, Buenos Reyes, Ay
Ay Ay, Canaries, Villanos, Cancion & Bolero No. 2, Song of the
Emperor, Hakumamai Purisisun, Folias, El Noy de la Mar, Danza Ritmico
No. 13, Carnavilito Nostalgico, Linda Amiga, Siway Azucena, Muchacha
Bonita, Monica Perez, The Merchants Daughter, Maricensko, Pobre Corazon
The accompanying sixty- two minute CD will help you learn the pieces. It is a performance cd made for listening. The book has both notation and tablature in separate sections and there is only one page turn in the entire book. This is a must have collection.
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Music from Spain & South America for Guitar - Contents
1. Song from Salamanca - The melody for this piece is from the Salamanca region of Spain. It's really such a lovely tune, but it's short. To make a guitar solo piece, I wrote an introduction and a variation. Without this, the musician is put in the position of playing the same melody over and over. While it's a great melody, it's just too repetitive for a solo piece.
2. Canaries Two - Gaspar Sanz is my favorite guitarist/composer from the Baroque period. You may have heard or played a different piece with the Canarios title. This one has hints of the more well known Canarios, but has its own unique melodies and feel. I love them both. Arranging from Baroque guitar tablature has special problems. Some baroque guitars had the fourth and fifth courses (a pair of strings treated as one) tuned an octave higher, no bass notes, and very interesting melody lines that ring over each other. Some pieces will translate almost note for note, and others have to be modified. If you would like to try the original, you can buy a facsimile of the Gaspar Sanz book that was published in the Baroque period and read the tablature. Some of the pieces won't make too much sense on the modern guitar.
3. O Cantiga das Sombras - King Alfonso Sabio ruled Castile and Leone in the thirteenth century. He was unique as he employed both Arabs and Christians in his court. He was very interested in both music and science, but was not a very good ruler. The "Alphonsine Tables" bear his name. They are detailed tabulations of the movement of the planets. He was also responsible for the "Cantigas de Santa Maria" which is a huge collection of songs written in praise of the Virgin Mary. Some of them were collected, and some were written by musicians in his court. This Cantiga has the feel of these medieval pieces.
4. O Que Diz Que Servir - Cantiga 311 - Here is one of the cantigas that I mentioned above. They exist just as single line melodies. I added the bass notes, and also some variations to make the piece a little longer. These pieces have a special aura to them. Some of the melodies were actually taken from Pagan songs. Many of them are older than the thirteenth century. King Alfonso was said to have written some of them.
5. Brazilian Lullaby - This is a famous lullaby from Brazil. What a beautiful piece. I really enjoyed arranging this piece and the variation. I can just envision this played on a warm evening, the notes floating out over a garden of some Brazilian home.
6. Buenos Reyes - This is a very old Spanish Christmas song, but almost no one will know it is a holiday song if you don't tell them. What a lovely tune. Sometimes when I try and arrange an attractive melody, I end up just giving up because I can't come up with something I like. Other times it just tumbles out. This piece was the latter. I loved writing the variations for this tune, and when I was done, I couldn't stop playing it.
7. Ay, Ay, Ay - This is one of the best known songs from Chile. I wanted to arrange this for solo guitar for years and just couldn't seem to come up with something I liked, and then with the help of Jessica Walsh's variations, things finally fell into place. Thanks Jessica!
8. Canaries - It seems it was a tradition for musicians in the Renaissance and Baroque to take songs or melodies that were popular and make arrangements of them. I guess like me they heard it and wanted to play it. I love the feel of both of the Sanz Canaries. I was sitting one day and started to noodle with the themes, and this piece materialized. Be careful of the counting where the meter changes from 6/8 to 3/4.
9. Villanos - What a great tune, and this Sanz version needed very little modification to make a version for modern guitar. I have seen several versions by other guitarists of the time, and in my opinion, they don't hold a candle to this one.
10. Cancion & Bolero No. 2 - From the mysterious Cancion to the light and happy Bolero this is so much fun to play. It lays well on the fingerboard. The hardest part is getting the sixteenth notes in the last section to be even and in time. This is also a great piece to work on reading as it utilizes a lot of the fingerboard. Please understand that the metronome markings represent the tempos I play the pieces at on the CD. You can, and I do, play them sometimes faster and sometimes slower. I rarely play a piece at exactly the same tempo. Often I will come back and listen to something I recorded for the books and think "That was too fast." Separation of Soul and Body" from the first Celtic book comes to mind. Just too fast.
11. Song of the Emperor - This was originally written for vihuela which was the instrument played in Spain during the Renaissance. The vihuela is tuned like the lute, it has only 6 courses (pairs of strings) and looks more like a guitar. I'm sure during the Renaissance that lute players also played vihuela music and vihuela players played lute music. It's much better to tune the third string of the guitar down a half step to an F# and use the original fingerings. This can be confusing to read, so my recommendation would be to just tune the string down and play the tablature. This is the way the piece was read over 400 years ago.
12. Hakumamai Purisisun - This is a hymn from Peru. I am so attracted to the music of the Andes; I love the melodies. There are many countries where you can hear music with an Andean sound including Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay. This is a short piece. I wrote an intro and a variation to fill it out. This piece sustains a lot of playing. If you read the tablature, consider looking at the music for fingerings.
13. Folias - Also called "Folias de Espana" - This was a very popular theme in the Renaissance and also in the Baroque period. Corelli did a theme and variations on it, Fernando Sor and even the great modern Mexican composer Manual Ponce has a theme and variations on La Folias. In my opinion, none can compare to this version by Sanz. It works very well on the modern guitar with almost no modifications.
14. El Noy de la Mar - This arrangement and variation is based on a very famous melody from the Catalan region of Spain. Many arrangements have been done, but none of them that I am aware of have a variation. Normally I shy away from tunes that have been previously published by others, but this piece is so beautiful, and I think the arrangement is unique enough, to have it's place in the guitar repertoire.
15. Danza Ritmico No 13 (Tsianina's Dream) - There is a very particular sound to many Venezuelan waltzes which I really love. It's part of what started me writing. This tune has that feel, even though it's in 4/4 time. Right now, this is one of my favorite compositions.
16. Carnavilito Nostalgico - Most of the time I'm writing pieces with someone in mind. In this case it is Cesar Chelala. He lives in this country now but was born in Northern Argentina. I have always wanted to write a piece like this, and when I sat to do it, I thought about Cesar. The piece came quite quickly once I finally started to write. My favorite measures are the measures like 23 and 24. They really set off the rest of the piece.
17. Linda Amiga - When I was researching this melody, I was quite surprised to find that it was from the Renaissance, a period that has brought us so much great music. Still, the piece was a bit short, so again I filled it out with a variation. Most guitarists will find this piece very accessible.
18. Siway Azucena - I love pieces like this. The rhythm is so much fun once you get the feel of it. You might find the introduction a little odd until you get used to it because of the 5/8 measures, but changes of time signature like this are very typical of music from Bolivia.
19. Muchacha Bonita - Means Pretty Girl. I love the harmony on the first beat of the second measure. When playing the variation, be sure to play the bass line louder and the other notes more quietly.
20. Monica Perez - The Joropo is a lively dance and a very popular form of music from Venezuela. This is a very good example of that style. It is a love song about a suitor of Monica Perez. It might sound hard when you hear it on the CD, but if you take the time to play it with the fingerings, you will find that it lays well on the guitar and that you will be able to play it quite quickly and smoothly.
21. The Merchants Daughter - Miguel Llobet has arranged many of the songs from the Catalan region of Spain for guitar. They are wonderful, but a bit short for me. This is a little different treatment of the tune, and I have added a variation. You might take the time and buy his book of Songs from Catalan.
22. Maricensko - You can consider this a bonus piece. It's from Bulgaria, but has a bit of the Moorish feel that I really enjoy from many Spanish pieces. It's fun to play and accessible. The variation fills the piece out. This is a great tune for any occassion, except perhaps a wedding processional. The fingerings help.
23. Pobre Corazon - In English the title means Poor Heart. The piece is from Ecuador. There are many places in this piece where the melody is repeated in the bass as a harmony. It's a nice way to harmonize a piece if you don't overdo it. When this is done, it's called "Imitation" for obvious reasons.