a world of music, based on the guitar,
and on visualinear tablature
The Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog is a 10 volume collection of 190 monophonic (one note at a time) parts arrangements for steel string acoustic guitar. This collection of music includes a great many familiar songs and a number of well-known classical pieces, and spans a very wide range of musical styles and genres. The purpose of these arrangements is to provide a framework for developing melodic playing skills on the guitar, and for playing monophonic guitar music in an ensemble setting. An important secondary purpose of these arrangements is to provide a unique opportunity for learning about various styles of music, and how that music is constructed, by actually learning to play the music. This innovative approach to learning about music allows not only for a high degree of involvement in the learning process, but also for a good deal of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Most of these arrangements are in four parts, although there are a number of rounds, duets, and trios. Most are relatively easy to play, or at least contain one or more parts that are relatively easy to play. Many of these arrangements were made easier to play by transposing from the original key into one of the 8 keys best suited to playing music on the guitar (A Major, a minor, C Major, D Major, d minor, E Major, e minor, and G Major). For more information about keys, click here. There are, however, a number of more challenging arrangements, as well as a number of arrangements that contain one or more parts that are relatively difficult to play.
Three approximate difficulty levels, each on a scale of 1 to 3, are given for each of the 190 arrangements in the Catalog listing. Since only a few of the arrangements require an advanced level of skill, a 3 generally indicates an intermediate level, and a 1 indicates a beginner level. The approximate difficulty of the melody is given for the benefit of those who would like to learn to play the melody in the context of an ensemble arrangement. The approximate difficulty levels for the easiest part and the hardest part of each arrangement are given for the benefit of those who wish to identify skill level-specific music. These two difficulty levels also allow for the ready identification of music that can be played by an ensemble of guitarists with varying levels of skill. It should be noted that in the case of rounds, when the difficulty levels of the easiest and hardest parts do not agree, a parts round performance, for which each ensemble member plays only a section of the melody, has been assumed.
There is a great deal of personal choice involved in the matter of ordering from the Catalog. This is nowhere better demonstrated than by the fact that any of the 190 arrangements can be ordered individually in the e-score (.tef) format. This ordering option is given by the Add to Cart buttons beside each individual title. At a cost of only 50 cents per .tef file, this is a very economical way to focus in on the music you would most like to learn. The use of e-scores is the most effective, the most interesting, and the most instructive way to learn to play this music. The TefView Score Reader is required in order to play the e-scores, and the TefView Primer contains numerous useful tips on working with e-scores. Both can be downloaded free of charge by using the links provided on the Melody Guitar and Downloads pages of this website.
The music contained in the Catalog can also be ordered by the volume in four different ordering formats. The e-score format allows for ordering entire volumes of e-scores with a single selection. For the benefit of those who prefer playing from a printed score, the printed ensemble scores for each volume can be ordered in PDF format. Apart from being even more affordable than e-scores, the PDF scores are a very practical ordering option, since the pages of a score can be laid side by side, thus eliminating the need for page turning. It should be noted that any e-scores (.tef files) or PDF scores you order can be downloaded from this website immediately after your purchase transaction is completed. It should also be noted that the .tef files are print protected, and cannot be used to produce printed ensemble scores.
Taken together, the printed and bound books and the Audio CDs comprise a complete non-virtual presentation (score and sound) of the music of the Guitar Ensemble Core Catalog. The Audio CDs are not live recordings, but rather consist of electronically devised tracks that sound more like guitars than the MIDI soundtracks of the e-scores. The Audio CD ordering option is offered mainly for the benefit of those who prefer playing along with a more realistic-sounding recording. It is important to note that the Audio CD is not required in order to effectively learn the music from a printed score, since the MIDI soundtracks for the entire Catalog are posted to this website, and can be listened to (or played along with) at any time.
The main shortcoming of the Audio CDs is the fact that all the music sounds like it is being played with a flatpick. Since many of the arrangements are far better suited to being played in fingerstyle, the sound of those arrangements on the Audio CD leaves something to be desired, and in a few cases the flatpicked effect is even somewhat distracting. For many of the arrangements, however, and especially for faster and livelier pieces, the Audio CDs present a surprisingly good performance model. The main shortcoming of the printed and bound books is the fact that since the scores for many of the arrangements are three pages or more in length, page turning is required in the process of reading through those scores.
The first volume of arrangements contained in the Catalog is actually the Repertoire section of Melody Guitar. The printed and bound book option is therefore not included among the ordering by volume options in the Catalog listing for Melody Guitar. There is, however, an option to purchase the Score Analyses for the Repertoire selections from Melody Guitar in PDF format. The Score Analyses contain useful observations about the music and about how to play the music effectively, as well as interesting and relevant discussions of topics in music history, music theory, and music analysis. It is important to note that, taken together, the Melody Guitar e-book, the Score Analyses, and the Repertoire scores (in either .tef or PDF format) constitute a complete (except for the Index) computer-based version of Melody Guitar.
The last volume of the Catalog is Anthology, a collection of 40 arrangements selected from the preceding volumes. In the Catalog listing for each of the preceding volumes, asterisks have been used to indicate which pieces are included in the Anthology collection. Since a wide variety of musical styles and required levels of skill is represented, the Anthology collection allows for a well-balanced and skill level-inclusive introduction to guitar ensemble music. The Anthology volume is more affordably priced, on a per arrangement basis and in any of the ordering formats, than any of the other volumes in the Catalog. Printed and bound books and CDs will be shipped by way of the United States Postal Service within 24 hours of receipt of your order.
You can advance the Catalog to a particular volume by clicking on one of the links provided below. You can read the Introduction to any of the 11 volumes by clicking on the corresponding title in red in the Catalog listings.
- Melody Guitar
- Children's Songs
- Traditional American Songs I
- Traditional American Songs II
- D. L. Stieg I
- Mixed Classical I
- Mixed Classical II
- Mixed Classical III
- Bach Chorales