Four Études for Five Fingers

‘Four Études for Five
Fingers’ (2005) – 12’

Solo Guitar 

Premiered by Dave Flynn. June 2006, Cabinteely Park House, Dublin. Published by Mel Bay Publications. (MB21290)
Demo recordings made by Dave Flynn below.

Programme Note

These are the first etudes that I have composed for Charles Postlewate
to aid his pioneering work utilizing the five-finger right hand
technique and each is designed to aid the development of separate
techniques using the little finger. I am very sympathetic to Charles’
ideas because I have used the little finger in my playing and in some of
my previous compositions.

Etude No. 1: ‘Gimme Five’
is mainly concerned with the development of arpeggios utilizing the
little finger. The 5/8 time signature is used here because it naturally
fits the five fingers in a way that will make an unusual rhythm for
beginners seem quite natural. I feel that early exposure to irregular
time signatures will aid the student’s development and they will come as
naturally to the advanced student as the five-finger technique. I have
encountered many technically-advanced players who find irregular time
signatures extremely difficult due to the lack of exposure in early

Etude No. 2: ‘Homage To Bucko’
is concerned with one of the main advantages of the five-finger
technique – unbroken five-note chords. The last chord is sounded by a
sharp upward stroke with the c finger on the first four strings while
the thumb sounds the bass-note A when the c finger reaches the fourth
string. This technique can originally be found in my pieces ‘5to9′ and ‘Passacaglia’.
Jazz harmonies highly influence this piece and I write it in homage to
the renowned Irish jazz guitarist Hugh Buckley, who helped develop my
interest in jazz.

Etude No. 3: ‘The Odd Reel’ is
a stepping stone to a fluid tremolo utilizing the little finger.
However there isn’t a continuous tremolo in the manner of Tarrega and
Barrios, rather there is more of a relation to the triplet ornamentation
found in the traditional music of my native Ireland. It is called the
‘Odd Reel’ because it is based on the rhythm of the Reel dance-form
which is normally in 4/4, in this piece extra beats are added
occassionally, taking away from the regularity of the 4/4 metre.

Etude No. 4: ‘Static Slip Jig’
is based upon the traditional Irish slip jig in 9/8 time (3+3+3) The
9/8 feel of a slip jig is quite different than that of a Baroque gigue.
This etude will help develop the dexterity of the right-hand immensely
if the exact fingerings are followed, and the relationship between the
thumb and all four fingers will be developed, as will the relationship
of c to a, a to m and m to i.

These pieces were
published by Mel Bay Publications in the near future in an anthology of
new music collected and commissioned by Charles Postlewate called ‘Contemporary Anthology of Solo Guitar Music for Five Fingers of the Right Hand’.

You can purchase the book by clicking here.
You can also hear demo recordings of me playing the works on this page.