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SHEET MUSIC CATALOG - ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS for SOLO CLASSIC or ACOUSTIC GUITAR
The pieces below have been scored using Finale 2012b in classic guitar style notation with suggested fingerings. In order of difficulty: (B) = Beginner, (I) = Intermediate, (A) = Advanced. Each tangible (paper) copy is laser printed on heavy stock. Price includes the digital files and shipping. Each digital package includes epub (ebook), pdf (Adobe document), and xml (notation) files, as well a mp3 of myself performing the piece. After your purchase is completed you will be directed to a url which contains the files for download. Please contact me to request other types of files, or if you have any questions.
SPACESHIPEARTH (I) 4:45 - Retro-futuristic hybrid of Cotten-picking and modern.
REYNOSA (I) 4:05 Traditional Western classical blend with
a twist, dedicated to my father.
SWEETBITTER (I/A) 7:43 - Polyrhythmic composite of polyphonic paradoxes.
SPACESHIPEARTH, REYNOSA, & SWEETBITTER - collection of the three pieces above
POSSIBLE PRESENT (I) ~4:46 - A minimal piece based on a 3-note progression with an improvised section in the middle.
SpaceshipEarth is an exceptionally fun piece to play. The right hand thumb walks an alternating bass line while the left hand hops and slides around the fretboard picking out the melody and harmony. A scordatura retro futuristic hybrid of Cotten picking and modern!
BACKSTORY AND ORCHESTRATED VERSIONS
SpaceshipEarth, composed circa 2005, came about by expanding on an earlier piece (titled Inner Mission on the Sound Travels album) rooted in old stride-piano-like folk patterns, the right hand thumb walking an alternating bass line while the fingers pick out the melody and harmony. The guitar tuning for SpaceshipEarth is unusual - the 5th string is tuned to an F, and the 6th string is tuned to a D.
In 2006 while working on a video animation project with my then-partner (now wife), a conceptual artist, we discovered that this piece would make an ideal soundtrack. In the video, we demonstrate what happens when ice cream cones are glued together at their tips (spoiler alert: they form a perfect sphere!). The video is an ode to Buckminster Fuller, famed futurist and inventor of the geodesic dome. SpaceshipEarth is filled with a kind of optimistic momentum...form following function in ways that aspire to be efficient, elegant, and playful - qualities I associate with Buckminster Fuller. "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth" is the title of one of his most famous books. This piece is named in honor of his vision for a world that works for all.
In the fall of 2012 I had begun notating my works for solo guitar, including SpaceshipEarth, when my un-backed-up-harddrive crashed. Fortunately, I had sent preview copies of a couple of pieces to family and friends. SpaceshipEarth was preserved, but only as a PDF, which could not be read by the version of the notation software I was using. Reed Maxson, a long-time friend who is an extraordinary composer came to the rescue, offering to help by scanning the PDF back in to his version of the program. Since the scan didn't transfer well, Reed took it upon himself to enter the missing notes "by hand". During this process he felt inspired to add more notes, and then some more, and before he knew it, he had fully orchestrated the piece, adding more than 25 instruments, from timpani to piccolo. Upon listening for the first time to this newly-orchestrated version, I was completely stunned - what had started out as an unfortunate situation had turned into something wonderful in a way that I never would have considered.
After hearing the orchestrated composition, I wondered what would happen if we combined the solo guitar and orchestration. To this end Reed and I exchanged scores and audio files electronically until we were satisfied with this version of SpaceshipEarth.
My partner, overhearing me play the piece over and over in her adjacent studio, happened to notice that a gif of a running deer on a webpage she was reading was exactly in synch with the tempo of SpaceshipEarth. The 4-legged gait was mesmerizing and seemed to add a whole new dimension to the piece, perhaps bringing to mind the place from which all rhythms and tones emerge. (100bpm optimized for Firefox, different browsers might make for different speeds).
Drawing on my earliest memories of listening to my father practice the great guitar pieces of Manuel Ponce and Francisco Tarrega as well as others, I composed Reynosa. As a child my dad was disuaded from reading or playing music seriously from the fear that his poor eyesight would become worse. When he was in his thirties he heard a Laurindo Almeida album and decided to study the classic guitar. Reynosa is the Mexico/Texas border city where at the age of 38, my dad bought his first guitar for $12.
The manner in which I suggest playing Sweetbitter, "paradoxically", is a reference to a possible approach to the polyrhythmic musical theme. With some variations the melody is in 2 and the bass and accompany is in 3, the result being that one could either dance a two-step or a waltz!