Composing for two instruments

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Doug Crosswell
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Toronto

Composing for two instruments

Post by Doug Crosswell » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:38 am

I cringe to mention this instrument , not because I don't like the instrument . I think it's nice , but I am primarily a big fan of string instruments.

That said , my girlfriend likes classical music and she is learnign how to play piano classical style . She's even going through the royal conservatory grades , and she will probably finish before I do because she has more formal training , and her sight reading is pretty good.

Anyways , I've always wanted to compose some duet pieces for us because we can't find a whole lot of repertoire for the piano and classical guitar.
My guess is because of the volume .

That said , are their any composers who have composed duet pieces for guitar and piano. And could give some good advice and general principles.
Formally speaking , I won't be studying how to compose until grade 6 conservatory level I believe , but I don't think it hurts to start researching and try
learning in small baby steps.

In terms of theory . I am just going through refresher on preparatory rudiments, but I hope to finish basic in a year from now.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:52 am

There's a lot of repertoire by C19th composers eg Diabelli, Kuffner. Look on imslp (dot) org.

The issue about guitar and piano is not really just that of volume, rather, the sounds are very similar but not necessarily compatible, so not always easy to mix. Combining very contrasting sound is probably usually easier.

To start experimenting with this area I would suggest try making some arrangements, eg of folk or other tunes, finding out kinds of mixtures of texture and sonority work. The point about arranging is you don't have to think about melody or (mostly) harmony because they are given (more or less). Also consider arranging things for other instruments or indeed solo piano ... or indeed something from the advanced guitar repertoire, with the same considerations.
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Matthew Stidham

Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by Matthew Stidham » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:23 pm

You could also explore guitar concertos with piano reduction for the orchestra parts. I know such an arrangement for the Rodrigo and the Vivaldi exist. I'm sure there are others...

Doug Crosswell
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by Doug Crosswell » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:57 am

Hey guys thanks for the replies. My girlfriend and I will probably have to wait on looking for guitar concertos , because the ones we have found which is very little seems to be above our level.

Perhaps maybe as a personal goal , we can take some other instrument pieces and transpose both for guitar and piano duet pieces or perhaps just do our own pieces with giving feedback to each other . Any ideas how to make that work ?

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robin loops
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Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by robin loops » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:09 am

As mentioned one option that is available if you have a pianist are concertos with the orchestra reduced for piano. I have seen quite a few and would guess that every guitar concerto ever written is available in this format. You might try some simpler of the simpler concertos (vivaldi en D maj is fairly straightforward). Diaboli I think has some good piano and guitar duets. But what level would you say you are looking for?
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Doug Crosswell
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:05 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by Doug Crosswell » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:55 am

I think we will try the Vivaldi ones mentioned .
As for the level , I would say about late beginner level .

Sandaun
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Re: Composing for two instruments

Post by Sandaun » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:34 am

One possibility - if you are fond of Elizabethan music - would be to take "An Elizabethan Song Book" ed. W.H. Auden, C. Kallman and N. Greenberg, Publ. Faber, 1957, and play the voice parts on the guitar while keeping the piano parts as is where is. It means you play the guitar as a single voice instrument, but it would get you started. And some of the lyrics are hilarious!
"I have supposed that he who buys a Method means to learn it." - Ferdinand Sor, Method for Guitar

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