Ahah! Lightbulb moment!
I’ve been torn the past few days trying to figure out where I could write my music notes (lol) because they don’t fit on Growing Fins (which should be Other People’s Music, Media, Games etc), nor on Scriptorium Mythica. And then yesterday I had a music learning convo with my friend Jen who plays the acoustic guitar, and she was mentioning checking out music books from the library.
That’s right! Libraries have aisles for music, especially for music students! Isn’t this the perfect place for me to list what I’m learning?
I won’t be listing these week by week. Perhaps month by month, or once every few months like I’m doing with chess and languages. So, it may look like I’m learning a lot but I’m rotating pieces day by day, week by week.
First, the music books I have been slowly reading.
- The Cello Suites — Eric Silbin
- The Fantasias of John Dowland: An Analysis (Thesis) — William J. Walker
- Fundamentals of Music Composition — Arnold Schoenberg (very slow here because my theory knowledge isn’t advanced enough)
- Music in Theory and Practice Part 1 (Eighth Edition)– Benward and Sarker
Next, the pieces I am working on for Classical Guitar
- Scales and arpeggios (working on these to memorize even though I won’t be presenting them for exams)
- Studies (All Barre One, Mistral, And So It Ends, Mare Nectaris and a couple of others w/ names I’ve forgotten)
- Exam Pieces: Preludium by John Dowland, Country Etude by Tatiana Stachak, Inveraray Castle by Stephen Daw
- Lute Pieces from Anon to The Lute, compiled by Stephen Kenyon: Packington’s Pound, What If A Day, Untitled pieces 1 and 2, Drawe Near and Lowe Me. Fun with 6/8 time.
- Prelude to BWV1007, John Duarte’s transcription. I’m also flirting with his Allemande but only when I have time.
- Chanson Triste by Stephen Kenyon (who, obvs, is my teacher). I keep returning to this to work on the balance between the voices. It’s a very elegant piece in construction and execution. Hope to be able to play more of Kenyon’s pieces at some point.
- Other TCL exam pieces that didn’t make the final cut for my presentation (Carmen Guzman’s Dedicatoria, which I love but I’d rather keep my tango and milonga pieces for my own enjoyment — for now, Gary Ryan’s Memories of Summer, and the Sor/Giuliani pieces).
- Piazzolla’s Vuelvo Al Sur, and Milonga for Three, although I’ve also been messing around with other pieces in Play Piazzolla. Not enough to list them here, I guess. I’ve presented them in class, so I’ll list them as class-adjacent.
- Mauro Giuliani’s Left-Hand Etudes as found in Tennant’s Pumping Nylon. Fun to play, great for LH training. Also presented in class. At least the first one. I can now play 4 of them, though.
(note that I don’t play all of these all of the time. Some I’ve played a couple of times over the span of several weeks. I just thought it might be handy-dandy to have this listed in typed text form, apart from my scribbled journal notes).
- Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies 1-3, transcribed by Fred Sokolow. Since I’ve been using drop D tuning again, I thought I’d better get unrusty. Still looking for a more “approved” transcription but I reckon classical guitar snobs don’t do Sokolow enough justice.
- Leo Brouwer’s Nuevos Estudio Sencillos. I have been warming up every now and again with Omagio a Debussy, which I think is TCL grade 3, and have been messing around with Omagio a Mangore, which is TCL grade 6. I like it enough but won’t choose it for exams since I know exactly what I want to play for grade 6 exams (Dowland, Sanz and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, going for a more classical feel).
- Conall Mckay’s Milonga del Nino, though it is a bit of a challenge so I’ve been slowly working on it when I have some extra minutes. It’s a very strong piece, full of emotion and complexity. I think once I am confident playing it, it will be very rewarding.
- Sons de Carilhôes by João Pernambuco, another drop D piece and not as hard as I thought it would be! It’s a Grade 7 piece and yes, I want to play this for exams, two years from now.
- Two pieces from the Trinity Guildhall exams from a few years back. I saw them on the Trinity exam video and needed to play them. Birds Flew Over The Spire by Gary Ryan, and Rio by Night by Vincent Lindsey-Clark (this always makes me happy. If I’m feeling down on myself and music, I play it and I just can’t stop grinning).
- Julian Bream’s transcription of Sagreras’s Maria Louisa is joy to play, also another Sagreras piece (forgot the name).
- Bridget Mermikides’s transcription of The Maiden With the Flaxen Hair is very playable. I also braved her transcription of The Moonlight Sonata but never ventured past the first few lines.
- Now that I’m way better at slurs thanks to teacher-assigned exercises, I returned to Tarrega’s Adelita, also Lagrima which is much easier to play.
Finally, the pieces I am playing for piano.
These are obviously less, given I’m only Grade One for Piano and have to focus on the basics till I master them. I’ve been studying the classical guitar since 1994, long breaks in-between formal lessons notwithstanding.
- Scales and exercises (Tundra, The Ming Vase) with metronome.
- Exam Pieces (Allemande by Johann Schein, Enchanted Garden by Kirsten Strecke, Minuet by Telemann)
These are all simplified arrangements for grades 1-4. I’ve barely touched them in the past two months because of focusing on exam work and that bloody metronome. Although, sometimes, when I am really fed up and demoralized with my continued struggles w/ the metronome and tempi, it helps to play some Debussy and a little Bach.
- Maiden With the Flaxen Hair — Claude Debussy
- Reverie — Claude Debussy
- Clair de Lune –– Claude Debussy
- Air on A G String — JS Bach
- Sarabande — JS Bach
- Sheep May Safely Graze — JS Bach
- Minuet in G Major— Christian Petzold