Composer, author, lecturer, guitar teacher

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I’m pleased to report that I have completed my work on the revised edition of the book Chord Master which will be published hopefully in the spring of 2016. The main change is the addition of a new beginners’ section consisting of 20 new audio / chord progression examples that I hope will be of use to people trying the guitar for the first time. The idea for them came from my increasing awareness as a guitar teacher that standard chord shapes are not always easy for people to take in their stride. The book also has some chord boxes for a tuning not included in my book How To Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings. The chord progressions (forty in all) are being reset in a simple musical notation that makes them easier to read than in the old edition. As I may have mentioned before there is a possibility that I will work on a new edition of Melody. But before that I have my book on Marc Bolan to complete.

Other stuff going on includes re-organizing my music room to make more space and make it a room more conducive to writing and recording in. I’ve been sorting things and have been reminded of the hundred or so songs I have recorded which I would like to release – so there is going to be some work done on those hopefully. I have six albums of songs, each with their own musical identity, to go with my album of guitar music released in 2013.

My symphathon (listening to a different symphony each day) is still going, although there have been three days when I didn’t manage one. I console myself with the thought there have been other days when I’ve heard two or three. I’m shaping my thoughts on this experience for a possible article. It was interesting to see Scottish composer James Macmillan writing on the symphony in a positive way in the UK magazine Standpoint recently.

The majority of the new ones I hear (new to me) do not make me want to hear them again. But it has been a delight to find others which I do want to get to know. I can recommend at the relatively easy listening end of the symphonic repertoire Yoshimatsu’s Symphony 4 on Chandos from about 2001. It was consciously written as an ode to innocence, spring and childhood, and uses an elegant and very approachable idiom, and lasts 28 minutes. I know some would dismiss it as lightweight, but there’s a place for this music too when it is done as well and with a good spirit.

Otherwise I have enjoyed the new release of The Beatles 1 with remastered sound and video and am currently reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography, reminding me in part of days long ago when, in a room high above the Atlantic, I would happily wile away several hours singing my way through most of sea-washed Quadrophenia and more of the Who’s greatest.


5 responses

  1. Thomas Hicks

    I bought a copy of Riffs but have lost the companion CD. Would like to get another cd. How can I do this? Thanks, Thomas Hicks

    November 21, 2015 at 12:15 am

    • Hello Thomas, sorry for the delay in replying. You will need to write to the publisher Hal Leonard in the US or Backbeat for the UK and ask for replacement. You must specify whether you had the original edition or the revised expanded edition. CDs for my books are going to be phased out (unfortunately). Best wishes, Rikky

      December 17, 2015 at 2:51 pm

  2. brian


    I bought your book “How to Write Songs on Keyboards” mainly because I use the keyboard the most. It is really an excellent book, and I love how you explain everything so well. It is actually the best resource I have found on playing and understanding keyboards. I also left a favorable review on Amazon for it. Are there any other of your books you can recommend for people that do not play guitar? They do not have to be new books, I am just curious. I see books you wrote on Melody, Lyrics, Song Writing… Anyway, if you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!

    January 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    • Hello Brian, thanks for your support. I’m pleased you liked the keyboards book (HTWSOK). It is an unusual book because it is aimed at people who want to write songs but don’t have any real keyboard skills. If you are writing songs I guess the Lyrics book might be relevant, and if you are making your own recordings then I would recommend Arranging Songs. Best wishes, Rikky.

      January 26, 2016 at 7:34 am

      • Brian

        Hello Ricky:

        Thank you, both look very good for me since I plan to do everything. Eventually I will come around to guitar, but for some reason I like the keyboard. Thanks for the quick reply, I will most likely buy them both!

        January 27, 2016 at 4:43 pm

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