La donna è mobile comes from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Rigoletto which premiered in 1851. This particular song has been popular since it was released and is a showcase for the tenor in the opera.
Back then there were no TV’s, movies, Spotify’s, so if you wanted to watch a show you had to go see one live. Opera contained all of the elements people looked for like singing, dancing, costumes, elaborate stage sets, etc.
This theme comes from the second movement (allegretto) from the 7th symphony by Beethoven. He composed the 7th symphony between 1811-1812. Beethoven conducted the premiere in 1813 and the audience loved the piece so much they played the second movement as an encore. This theme is one of my favorites of his.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a beautiful song composed by Harold Arlen. It was famously sung by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I tried to keep this arrangement as simple as possible so that the focus can be on the melody.
Erik Satie coined a new word for this song (Gnossiennes). Originally there were three that were composed around 1890 and published in 1893. This first one I find to have a hauntingly beautiful sound. Originally, this one didn’t have barlines or time signatures. For my arrangement I added both to make it a little easier to play.
I was asked a couple of weeks ago what are some of my favorite scales. The A harmonic minor scale would be at the top of that list. It is a fun scale to use to build technique, improvise and compose with. Of the four scales commonly used in Western music (major, melodic, harmonic, and natural) it is unique because of the large step (augmented second) between the 6th and 7th note of the scale.
In this video I demonstrate the scale as well as play a couple of improvisations with the scale.
This is a wonderful piece by Ferdinando Carulli. Carulli was an Italian guitarist and composer who lived from 1770-1841. In fact, he was born the same year as Beethoven. He composed about 400 pieces for guitar.
Erik Satie composed the Three Gnossiennes around 1890 and they were published in 1893. Originally for the piano, they are beautiful pieces of music which I would recommend checking out if you don’t know them. Satie was an interesting composer who experimented with chords, form and scales.
I composed The Darkness Behind the Light last year and is meant to be an etude for a late-beginner/early-intermediate guitar student. The piece consists of a melody (top voice) and bass voice (bottom) with an occasional inner voice.
While composing this I imagined a creepy scene (Halloween-ish) with a dark doorway full of mystery.