This lesson comes from my book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 4 – Six pieces at the grade four level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
Orlando Sleepeth (Poulton No.61) by John Dowland (1563-1626) – YouTube Video Lesson Link. I perform the piece in three ways: regular tuning, relative lute tuning, and with a capo. You’ll be playing this piece in two different tunings to gain an awareness of the options available to the modern classical guitarist.
I play all Dowland’s works in relative lute tuning (3rd string tuned down to F sharp). This places the instrument in the same relative tuning as a Renaissance lute. It’s even closer to Dowland’s lute if we place a capo on the third fret. Most of the time, Dowland’s music is much easier in relative lute tuning because of the open F sharp on the third string. The music was composed with this tuning in mind so the chord shapes generally work better in the original tuning. That said, there are occasions when regular guitar tuning works fine. This piece is one such occasion, but for the sake of practicing and understanding the arranging process, we will play the piece in both tunings. Try out the first four bars of the work as well as a D Major scale in relative lute tuning.
When you play the actual piece you will notice that the relative lute tuning requires a barre in this particular work. This is the reason you see this work in regular tuning in many guitar anthologies. Performers often play sets of works (three or four of Dowland’s pieces in a set), and most pieces only work in relative lute tuning so it still makes sense to play in the original tuning to avoid re-tuning between pieces. The tuning you choose doesn’t matter, being informed and aware of the choices is the important factor.
More Info: Why do guitarists use capos and 3rd string F# tuning?
Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 4 – Lessons and pieces in notation only with fingering. A TAB supplement at the end includes the pieces (not the lessons). Before each performance edition there are two or three pages of lesson material to teach you concepts and prepare you to play the piece. Watch the free video lessons for even more insight. This item is a PDF Download. 49 Pages. 2020 Edition.
Buy or learn more at my sheet music store
- Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 4 (PDF) from Werner Guitar Editions.
Hardcopies – The hardcopy will be coming September 2020.
This book teaches classical guitar repertoire at the grade four level. The level is appropriate for students who have completed my Classical Guitar Method Volume 1 and 2 and the Grade 1 to 3 Repertoire Lesson books. This book introduces common tunings in classical guitar repertoire and develops technique skills, fingering choices, and musical ideas. The image samples on your left show examples of the book.
Contents and Lesson Topics – Each piece has two or three pages of lessons followed by a proper performance edition.
- Orlando Sleepeth by John Dowland – Renaissance Lute Work, Relative Lute Tuning
- Rondo, Op.241, No.34 by Ferdinando Carulli – Classical Era, Active Texture
- Lamento No.5, Op.89 by Jacque Bosch – Romantic Era, High Melody with Accompaniment
- Ejercicio in E Minor by Jose Ferrer – Late-Romantic, Spanish, Melody and Chord Shapes
- Estudio in E Minor by Francisco Tárrega – Romantic Era, Barre, Melody with Arpeggios
- Lágrima, Preludio by Francisco Tárrega – Romantic Era, Barre, Upper
All videos to be completed this July and early August 2020.
- Orlando Sleepeth by John Dowland
- Rondo, Op.241, No.34 by Ferdinando Carulli
- Lamento No.5, Op.89 by Jacque Bosch
- Ejercicio in E Minor by Jose Ferrer
- Estudio in E Minor by Francisco Tárrega
- Lágrima, Preludio by Francisco Tárrega
Note: Estudio and Lagrima are also available as a free scores on the site. Cover image is for promotion, PDF is plain text. Image: Portrait of Monsieur Aublet by Guillaume Voiroit (1713–1799) and is public domain.
More books from this site
- Education Series (Methods & Technique)
- Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, & Arpeggios – 122 pages, video lessons
- 20 Favorite Exercises, Notation + TAB, Video lessons, Gr.1-6
- Ten Classical Etudes, Gr.4-7, videos lessons
Cuba en el Alma by Rene Izquierdo
Co-produced by Uros Baric and Matthew McAllister
2020 Baros Records
Learn, Listen, or Buy: Cuba en el Alma by Izquierdo
Great to see this new release from the excellent Baros records and Rene Izquierdo. Cuban guitarist Rene Izquierdo graduated from the Conservatory and Institute of Art in Havana. In the United States he earned a Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the Yale University School of Music. He’s also studied with many of the composers from this album. He’s now a professor of classical guitar at the Wisconsin State University in Milwaukee and an active solo performer and chamber musician. One of the great performing artists in the classical guitar world!
Cuba en el Alma is an all-Cuban album with excellent repertoire and arrangements. It features a selection of works by Leo Brouwer, Ernesto Lecuona, Eduardo Martín, Sindo Garay, José Antonio (Ñico) Rojas Beoto, Carlos Rafael Rivera and Manuel Saumell. The album was recorded at the Cathedral of the Isles, Great Cumbrae, Scotland just before the annual Classical Guitar Retreat. Beautiful recording quality in the cathedral with a warm and natural sound (as always from Uros Baric and his Baros Records). It’s good to see Rojas, Guerra, and Fariñas’ work on the album as they deserve much more credit in the classical guitar world. Guerra and Fariñas have numerous works and I’ve read through some amazing duets by them as well.
The album is filled with charming sounds and rhythms of Cuba and some very engaging compositions for classical guitar. I can’t imagine a more pleasing and interesting album for any listener. Izquierdo’s playing perfectly suits the repertoire with a virtuosity that enhances the music without ever taking away from his rhythmic groove, motivic clarity, and flowing phrasing. I get over-saturated with guitar and rarely listen to guitar music, but this is an album that I’ll play for personal enjoyment, the repertoire, and the wonderful performances.
I love his refined performance of Brouwer’s Preludios Epigramáticos but I was also delighted by his groovy and laid back feel on works such as Martín’s Son del Barrio. Martín has some nice pieces and also easy collections for students that many readers will want to explore. The Barrueco arrangements of Lecuona are very cool works and Izquierdo creates a tightly articulated texture that is both impressive and fun. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know much about the work of Ñico Rojas who is an important guitarist and Cuban musical figure. Great little pieces that blend jazz and popular melody (filin) into full sounding guitar solos. Another important composer, Manuel Saumell was a strong influence as a cultivator of Cuban music in the 19th century and the Cuban contradanza. Saumell wrote over fifty contradanzas and these arrangements by Jesus Ortega (expanded and revised by Izquierdo) work incredibly well on guitar.
Cuba en el Alma by Rene Izquierdo is filled with beautiful performances of Cuban music by one of the world’s greatest guitarists. From charming Cuban rhythms to engaging virtuosic compositions, this album will delight general listeners and music critics alike. A must-listen for classical guitarists not familiar with the diversity and high quality of Cuban music for classical guitar. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.
- Eduardo Martín (1956): Son del Barrio; Mirándote
- Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963), arr. M. Barrueco: La Comparsa; Danza Lucumí
- Sindo Garay (1867-1968), arr. R. Guerra: Perla Marina
- José Antonio (Ñico) Rojas Beoto (1921-2008): Jazmín de mi Casa; Dulce y Alfonso
- Carlos Rafael Rivera (1970): Whirler of the dance
- Carlos Fariñas (1934-2002): Preludio; Canción Triste
- Leo Brouwer (1939): El Decameron Negro; Preludios Epigramáticos
- Manuel Saumell (1818-1870): Contradanzas
Hideki Yamaya plays the Preludio from Partita for Solo Violin No. 3 in E major BWV 1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). Arranged for mandolino (Baroque mandolin) by Hideki Yamaya on a Mandolino by Mel Wong, San Francisco, California 2019. You might have seen Yamaya featured on the site a few times for his work with the Schneiderman-Yamaya Duo with John Schneiderman. Great to hear his charming and virtuosic solo performance. I love the plucky and rhythmic sound and fantastic musical ideas, counterpoint, and phrasing throughout.
I have the sheet music for the lute version available, Prelude BWV 1006a by Bach, the unfingered notation version is free but I also have a fully fingered notated edition or tab edition.
Lesson: Barre Exercise for Classical Guitar – This is Exercise No. 16 from my pdf book 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar for beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Includes: notation, TAB, fingerings, practice tips, video lessons. YouTube Lesson Link.
The technique of the barre (or bar) is challenging for many students. However, I’ve observed that many students do not practice barre exercises on a regular basis. They struggle and push harder and harder to compensate for inaccuracies in their barre technique. This exercise is intended to teach dexterity in the barre finger without adding tension or pressure. Only apply pressure to the exact spot on the barre finger that corresponds to the string being used. For example, if you are playing on the third string, only apply pressure to the part of the 1st finger that makes contact with the third string. Don’t apply pressure to all the strings if you are only playing the 3rd string. Your 1st finger should always be touching the strings and there with be some pressure on the strings around it but you do not need to push down across all the strings.
Lesson: All-In-One-Arpeggio Pattern for Classical Guitar – This is Exercise No. 15 from my pdf book 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar for beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Includes: notation, TAB, fingerings, practice tips, video lessons. YouTube Lesson Link.
This is one of my favourites exercises and it’s a great way to practice a number of difference arpeggio patterns all at once. It’s a number of different arpeggio patterns grouped into one continuous looping exercise. This is one of my favourite pre-concert exercises as it covers a lot of ground in very little time. Just remember to keep a nice balance in the right hand and execute the thumb and finger strokes at the same time as a solid dyad. If you have trouble playing the pattern and time signature, start by playing the patterns one at a time:
- pi – m – a – m – i
- pm – a – m – i – m
- pa – m – i – m – a
- pm – i – m – a – m
Canadian guitarist Drew Henderson plays Three Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), originally written for keyboard and arranged by Henderson. This comes via his excellent YouTube channel. He also has the sheet music available. Beautiful playing by Henderson with wonderful ornamentation and rhythmic clarity. One of the great players of today!
- 0:01 Sonata in D major, K.490 (Cantabile)
- 4:44 Sonata in D minor, K. 213 (Andante)
- 8:44 Sonata in G major, K. 146 (Allegro)
Henderson mentioned a few things about the sonatas via his YouTube description:
Here are three sonatas that were made famous (on guitar at least) by three of my heroes. The first sonata is inspired by a Spanish saeta, which is a slow religious piece usually for voice and percussion. The repeated rhythm throughout the sonata imitates what the percussion plays, while the florid melodies imitate the singer. One of the gods of guitar Manuel Barrueco recorded this on his famous “300 years of guitar masterpieces” album, which was hugely influential to me. I don’t believe it was published, but it’s a pretty straightforward piece to arrange. The double trills are so fun, I wish the piece had more.
The second sonata is one of my favourites, and in my mind is associated with John William’s Seville Concert recording, although there are earlier recordings. The piece begins with a single voice, then a duet in an almost fugal style, and continues to grow in Scarlatti’s distinct fashion. The light was beautiful that morning so we decided to show off the church a little. Thanks to my amazing wife for making this a much easier process!
The third sonata I first heard on a Leo Brouwer record that my old teacher Eli Kassner played for me. It is a quick little capricious sonata that can be played in less than 2 minutes if you ignore the repeats like I do. Like all my arrangements, i tried to honour the original score, which in this case amounted to substantial differences from the Brouwer arrangement.
The Virtual Guitar Orchestra is at it again with a second edition, Scient, Safe and Sane by Sergio Assad with organizers Mak Grgic and Uros Baric. This comes via their sponsor Guitar Salon International‘s YouTube channel (see additional sponsors such as Augustine Strings and all the names of the players in the YouTube description).
The orchestra includes some of the world’s greatest professional guitarists and enthusiastic community members. The first edition Kaleidokithara by Sergio Assad (see video below) with 144 players from over 50 countries turned out beautifully. The 2nd edition includes 200 players and including of some steel-string and fingerstyle players! I was very happy to be able to take part in the orchestra section.
This edition includes a bunch of famous popular guitarists such as Ralph Towner, Peppino D’Agostino, Romero Lubambo, Sylvain Luc, Antoine Boyer, Joe Robinson, Martin Taylor, Miroslav Tadić, Thomas Leeb, Don Ross. Also headlining classical guitarists: Pavel Steidl, Jérémy Jouve, Pablo Sainz Villegas, Antigoni Goni, Fabio Zanon, Jason Vieaux , Adam Del Monte, Margarita Escarpa, Tilman Hoppstock, Fabio Lima, Kevin Callahan, Alieksey Vianna, Irina Kulikova, Pablo Márquez, Xuefei Yang, Brian Head, David Tanenbaum, Duo Siqueira Lima, Marylise Florid.
Lesson: Slurs and Shifts Combo Exercise for Classical Guitar – This is Exercise No. 14 from my pdf book 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar for beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Includes: notation, TAB, fingerings, practice tips, video lessons. YouTube Lesson Link.
This exercise & lesson, No. 14 – Intermediate Shifts and Slurs Exercise for Classical Guitar, is a great way for intermediate guitarists to practice both shifts, slurs, relaxation, and accuracy all at once. I love these types combination exercises. Shifts are so common in repertoire but rarely practiced by students. This exercise combines slurs and shifts to develop an accurate and mobile left-hand. The trick is to not tense up during the shifts. Think of each shift as an opportunity to release the tension from the hand and relax. Aim for a shift directly to the fret without any after-the-fact adjustments. It would be best to memorize it at first and look directly at the fret and shift perfectly into place. Play right next to the frets and keep all the fingers/knuckles parallel with the strings.
The amazing Tariq Harb gives a lesson on developing a solid foundation while playing fast and maintaining a good tone. It’s in three parts each with a dedicated topic. This comes via his excellent YouTube channel. Make sure to go give his channel a subscribe. Tariq Harb teaches at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada if you are looking for somewhere to study, I’ve featured his playing a number of times on the site but it’s great to have lessons too!
Part 1 – “Guitarist Tariq Harb shares a quick tip on how to develop a solid foundation to playing fast while maintaining good tone. Implementing a simple awareness exercise in Part 1 of this series of videos, I demonstrate how to properly alternate between the index and middle fingers in the right-hand (left-hand if you are a left-handed guitarist) to develop a technique that is reliable, easy, yet powerful at the same time.”
Part 2 – “. Implementing simple movement exercises in Part 2 of this series, I demonstrate how to properly condition the hand to achieve easy alternation between the middle and ring fingers, and also between the index and ring fingers in the right-hand (left-hand if you are a left-handed guitarist) to develop a technique that is reliable, easy, yet powerful at the same time. This video also mentions the importance of fingertip alignment to the strings, which is of great importance for fluid playing.
This topic will have more parts to it which I will be sharing soon!”
Part 3 – “Implementing the planting technique and broken block-chord exercises in Part 3 of this series (watch Part 1: https://youtu.be/VjJ4gqWmiw0 and Part 2: https://youtu.be/iB8qHQ009t0 if you haven’t already), I demonstrate how to properly plant the fingers of the right hand to achieve economy of motion while still respecting the sympathetic movements in the fingers that occur when we move our fingers naturally. This develops a technique that is reliable, easy, yet powerful at the same time.”
Spanish guitarist Andrea González Caballero performs Preludios de Primavera, Homenaje a Francisco Tárrega (2005) by Joaquín Clerch (born 1965 in Havana, Cuba). Movements listed below. This comes via her excellent YouTube channel. Recorded at Immanuelskirche Wuppertal, Germany. You can find the sheet music on Amazon.
- I. Primavera
- II. Las olas de Moncofa
- III. Homenaje a Tchaikovsky
- IV. El Adiós
- V. Y si pienso en la Habana…
- VII. Cuando tu no estás
- VI. Souvenir de Granada
Great playing as usual by Caballero with nice footage from this concert that I’ve featured a few times. Clear and direct playing but beautiful phrasing throughout and plenty of virtuosity to spare. There’s a great writeup on this by Keith Anderson via this Naxos album:
Born in Havana in 1965, the guitarist and composer Joaquín Clerch studied the guitar and composition in his native city before continuing his studies at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where he was a guitar pupil of Eliot Fisk and worked in early music with Anthony Spiri and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, graduating there with distinction in 1991. He has won an international reputation as a guitarist and since 1999 has held a professorship of guitar at the Robert Schumann University in Düsseldorf.
Clerch’s Preludios de Primavera (Preludes of Spring), homage to Francisco Tárrega, consist of seven short pieces for guitar, a tribute to a form used by Tárrega. The inspiration for the work came to the composer in April 2005 and the set of pieces was completed in July, each dedicated to a friend or a member of the composer’s family. The first prelude, Primavera, slow and expressive at first, is preceded by a line from the Cuban song-writer and lyricist Silvio Rodríguez from his Mariposas (Butterflies), ‘Todo lo que tocas se hace primavera’ (All that you touch turns to spring), a suggestion of the Latin-American element that lies behind the pieces. Las olas de Moncofa (The Waves of Moncofa), headed by a quotation from Raúl Roa, was written in April 2005 at Moncofa on the Gulf of Valencia. Homenaje a Tchaikovsky (Homage to Tchaikovsky) reflects the Russian composer’s melodic idiom, while the mood of El Adios (The Farewell) is prefigured in sad lines of farewell from a love poem by Pablo Neruda. Y sì pienso en la Habana (And if I think of Havana), written in Germany, leads to the essentially Spanish Souvenir de Granada, and the set ends with a gentle dedication to Clerch’s daughter Minerva, Cuando tu no estás (When you are not here).
Svetoslav Costoff Plays Introduction & Caprice, Op. 23 by Giulio Regondi (1823–1872). This comes via Siccas Guitars and their great YouTube channel. This is the first time featuring Bulgarian guitarist Svetoslav Costoff. Nice extroverted playing and I like how the more sensitive moments and gentle phrase ends contrast with his otherwise direct style. I need to get around to making editions of Regondi’s beautiful works at some point.
Scale Lesson and Exercise (Part 3 of 3): Articulation and Dynamics for Classical Guitar– This is Exercise No. 13 from my pdf book 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar for beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Includes: notation, TAB, fingerings, practice tips, video lessons. YouTube Lesson Link.
If you practice your technique in only one way you might end up playing your pieces without much dynamic contrast or articulations. So, here’s a chance to practice your expressive technique in a controlled setting. Make up your own articulations and dynamics to complement what I’ve provided. You may also wish to experiment with different timbres such as tasto (warm sound: right-hand near the fingerboard) and ponticello (bright sound: right-hand near the bridge). You can make similar changes to the sound by slightly adjusting the angle of the fingers on strings.
Check out more free video lessons at the lesson archive.
French guitarist Thomas Riamon plays the fourth movement, Sarabande from the Harpsichord Partita No. 1, BWV 825 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) on a 2007 Antonio Raya Ferrer guitar. This comes via Guitar Salon International and their YouTube channel. If you follow the site you might have noticed I don’t post a lot of works that are keyboard arrangements but this performance was so refined that I got pulled right in. Excellent phrasing and ornamentation by Riamon and just a beautiful performance overall. This is the first time I’ve featured Thomas Riamon and I’ll be following him closely, learn more about him at his bio page.
Stephanie Jones plays The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel. This comes via her great YouTube Channel. Great playing and arrangement by Jones who you might already know from her solo videos or her work in the Weimar Guitar Quartet. Arrangement by Lawson and Trueman which I looked for but couldn’t find. Production by Jakob Schmidt. I’m also impressed with the sound of the Zoom H6 recorder that she’s using.
Alec Holcomb, USA
Jack Hancher, United Kiingdom
Oman Kaminsky Lara, Mexico/Poland
Marco Piperno, Italy
Kasia Smolarek, Poland
Campbell Diamond, Australia
Francois-Xavier Dangremont, France
Topchii Mark, Ukraine
Inoi Ami, Japan
Bokyung Byun, South Korea
Lovro Pereti?, Croatia
Steve Cowan, Canada
GFA 2021Next year?s convention will take place June 21-26, 2021, in Fullerton, California. The required piece for the International Concert Artist Competition will be Shuo Chang, by Chen Yi.
Next year?s convention will take place June 21-26, 2021, in Fullerton, California.
The required piece for the International Concert Artist Competition will be Shuo Chang, by Chen Yi.
1st: Buliao Que (China) 2nd: Qianzheng Wang (China) 3rd: Tudor Torge (Romania) 4th: Mikhail Likhachev (Russia)
1st: Eric Wang (US) 2nd: Aytahn Benavi (US) 3rd: Xu Kun (Alan) Liu (Canada) 4th: Ruien Li (China)
Matthew Cochran plays Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003 (originally for solo violin) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This comes via his YouTube channel and recorded at Cathedral Barn in Historic Barns Park, Traverse City MI.. The complete sonata at 18:30 minutes and that wonderful fugue. Nice, direct playing by Cachran who keeps things rhythmic. It’s a big work! Movements listed below:
Out of interest, here’s a video by Shunske Sato on a Cornelius Kleynman ca. 1684, violin for the All of Bach project by Netherlands Bach Society on their Youtube.
Scale Lesson and Exercise (Part 2 of 3): Rhythmic Vitality for Classical Guitar – This is Exercise No. 12 from my pdf book 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar for beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Includes: notation, TAB, fingerings, practice tips, video lessons. YouTube Lesson Link.
It’s rare to actually see an entire scale with the same rhythm in your repertoire. Therefore, it makes sense to practice your scales in different ways to become versatile and prepared for repertoire. I find that one of the best things about adding different rhythms to your scales is that it accentuates any problem you might have. For example, in a dotted rhythm exercise a shift in the left hand may occur during the fast rhythm. If you can execute the shift cleanly then you know you need to work on your shift. It’s all about finding weak spots in your technique and then improving them.