Composer, author, lecturer, guitar teacher

Happy New Year

I send my best wishes for a happy New Year.

Mine has started with an unexpected drift into a New Year resolution. I decided a few days ago that I would try to listen to a different symphony every day this year – so 365 symphonies. Some I’ll already know, but many I won’t.

One symphony I didn’t know which has already made an impression is the fourth by Swiss-born composer Arthur Honegger (1892-1955). Honegger wrote five in all. I know his 3rd very well – a violent, energetic piece with a sublime ending which features one of the most beautiful chords I’ve ever heard. It occurs a few bars from the end, a wash of ethereal light and joy, descending in pitch across the orchestra, and prepared for by several minutes of deeply lyrical music with a melody at a stratospheric altitude.

The 4th is a more gentle, lyrical piece celebrating the city of Basle. It lasts about 26 minutes. The recording I know is the one on the Erato label. Civilized and sophisticated, it was comforting to listen to yesterday after news of the barbarism in Paris.

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8 responses

  1. David Mayerovitch

    Happy New Year, Rikky!

    For your year-long symphothon, let me recommend the delightful Symphony in F by Hermann Goetz.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hermann-Goetz-Symphony-Concerto-Widerspenstigen/dp/B000001RT4

    BTW I continue to consult daily my library of Rikky Rooksby instructional books on songwriting. Very, very helpful. Your encyclopedic knowledge is presented with great clarity. Bravo!

    David Mayerovitch Ottawa, Canada

    > Rikky Rooksby’s site > 8 January 2015 at 10:09 > rikkyrooksby posted: “I send my best wishes for a happy New Year. Mine > has started with an unexpected drift into a New Year resolution. I > decided a few days ago that I would try to listen to a different > symphony every day this year – so 365 symphonies. Some I’ll already kno” >

    January 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    • Hello David, thanks for your comment and your wishes. I’m glad the books have been useful to you. I hadn’t thought of the word ‘symphothon’ so thanks for that. I hadn’t heard of Goetz. That symphony is a little early for me. I realised after you wrote that I neglected to mention that I’m concentrating on symphonies written after about 1880 and most will be in the C20th (yesterday I did Nielsen 3). But when I have a moment I will have a listen if you think it is good. Rikky

      January 9, 2015 at 11:21 am

  2. Steve

    Rikky, you have written so many great books on songwriting but is
    there any other songwriting subject that you might do in the future
    or could the series be done other than revised editions?
    Songs and Solos was great.

    January 10, 2015 at 2:34 am

    • Hello Steve, thanks for your comment. There will be some revised editions to come – this year I will be revising Chord Master and there are plans to do Melody. At present I am working towards completing writing projects connected with Led Zeppelin, Marc Bolan and the symphony. The next instruction book I would like to write would be to do with the use of strings in a classical context. Beyond that, I have one further songwriting book which everyone who has bought my Backbeat series would enjoy and find helpful, but I’m keeping that under wraps for the time being. I must also consider the fact that I have suffered considerable online piracy which has made me consider stopping altogether. I spend months writing a book and then someone pirates it, robbing me of any income from those copies. Best wishes, Rikky

      January 11, 2015 at 8:05 am

  3. Steve

    How can anyone do that when you have given so much to help us out here
    with our songs? Please be reassured that myself and many others have
    bought and enjoyed your work. You will always have income from me
    as many times people have asked me how I got from one chord to another
    I tell them to buy your stuff. As for any thieves reading this just buy the
    books and music from Rikky and don’t steal!

    January 13, 2015 at 4:07 pm

  4. dmcauliffe9265

    I have been borrowing the How to Write Songs on the Guitar for a little bit and I enjoy it for the most part. When you talk about capos and their use in songs, you can’t leave out James Taylor! Many of his songs are written with the capo in the 3rd or 2nd position. I could list them but that would take a while (Fire and Rain, Carolina on My Mind are a couple). Also, as a guitarist of over 35 years, your information regarding the tuning of Blackbird by the Beatles is wrong. It is in standard tuning, not in G tuning like you mentioned. It may be easier to play in G tuning, but I can assure you that it is in standard. One last comment, and it is minor quibbling. It is true that there is not a lot of popular music in C Major, but I do find a few songs in the Paul McCartney catalogue (Beatles and solo) that are. Keep up good work!

    March 6, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    • Thanks for your comment. I’ve never listened to any James Taylor albums, I only know his famous singles, so that’s why there are no references to his use of capos. With regard to ‘Blackbird’ the consensus now seems to be that it is as you say in standard tuning. At the time I wrote HTWSOG in 2000 I was probably referring to a transcription published in Guitar Techniques magazine in 1994 which stated that it was in open G. I’m puzzled by your last observation ‘there is not a lot of popular music in C major’. Can you give me a page reference for where I said it?

      March 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

  5. I will look it up as I don’t have the book right in front of me, but maybe you were referring to popular songs on guitar. I will hunt it down and get the page and edition. Maybe a little biased, but hard in my opinion to have a book on songwriting for guitar and not mention James Taylor. Thanks for the reply!

    March 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm

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