Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Preview: Ultimate Classical Guitar Arrangements

I have finally finished entering the notation for all of the pieces in my set, and I have the fingerings done for my originals and the standard repertoire pieces, but I still have to do the fingerings for the contemporary arrangements. Some of the MIDI files that I'm getting out of my Encore notation program are coming out really well, so I thought I'd give readers a preview... er, or a "pre-hear" as it were.

My favorite of the "100% mine" arrangements is without a doubt my "Jethro Tull-ization" of the Bach Bourree in E minor. Ian Anderson only did the A section for his version on the Aqualung album - a record I was addicted to for a time in high school - so I decided to do the same treatment to the B section. It came out marvelously, and I play it in D minor with a drop-D tuning, which is the same key as the Tull version. These are all MIDI to AAC (MP4 MPEG audio) versions I did in iTunes using the RealFont 2.1 Nylon Guitar 1 sound font, so the link will open Quicktime or whatever you have as the default for streaming audio in your browser.

Bouree - Jethro Tull

Then, since I have played Classical Gas on and off for over twenty years, I have several different transcriptions of it, and have created a "kitchen sink" version that has all of my favorite ideas from about a half dozen arrangements I've heard. It starts out with the simple ideas and then gets progressively more virtuosic.

Classical Gas - Mason Williams

Next up is my brand, spanking new arrangement of Mood for a Day. I was also a big Yes fan in my youth, so I had learned bits and pieces of this, but never the whole enchilada. The Flamenco sections sound ridiculous in MIDI without the strums articulated, but the rest of it came out very well. Me being the consummate contrapuntist, I did fix one of Mr. Howe's parallel perfect fifths, and I must say the that fix sounds better than the original.

Mood for a Day - Steve Howe

Finally, the finale of my set is an arrangement of Stairway to Heaven that has been developing in my head for over thirty years since it was the very first song I ever learned to play "all the way through" back when I was a teen. Believe it, or not, I had never written this out before today. I've actually had guitarists beg me to write this out for them, but the time just wasn't right until now.

Stairway to Heaven - Jimmy Page

It was nice to get this finished... on my birthday!

"Happy Birthday Hucbald!"


Anonymous John Philip Dimick said...

Hey! Really enjoyed listening to your Classical Gas, George. You've really got the spirit.

I guess I'm a little like you -- struggling to learn to play Classical Gas was a big part of what hooked me into a life as a guitarist. Every time I hear it, it feels like some kind of Anthem for my generation of guitar players. I still love it.

Anyway, I was wandering through some Craigslist guitar listings today and I saw someone selling an Axon MIDI unit, which led me to some Google research, which led me to your site. Nice site!

I'm adding you to my daily RSS reading and looking forward to digging into your site a little deeper and learning something!

All the best,

John Philip Dimick

5:38 PM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

Thanks John,

Yes, Classical Gas was a landmark piece for me too.

I am quite familiar with your excellent site, BTW. Your definition of Flamenco guitar is especially good, as too many do not understand that it really is a cante based genera of music, song and dance, and not "just" a guitar style.

Then there's the classical versus classic thing: I too think classic guitar is the better term, but continue to use classical guitar nonetheless, simply because it's our cultural default term.

In Portugal they call it gitarra erudita: Erudite guitar. Now that's cool. ;^)



3:54 AM  
Anonymous Nimesh said...

Nice Post
Thanks for good stuff

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy B'day Huc

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Miguel Estrada said...

I also enjoy listening to your classical glass, george. And enjoy listening to stairway to heaven.
I love your site.
I would like to see the sheet music of classical glass,
where I can view it or download it?, My email is stratocaster7@ymail.com
thank you.
Miguel Alejandro Estrada.

2:14 PM  

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