My Teaching Guitarist - Composer - Educator
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Etudes composed by Billy Newman while studying
with Dennis Sandole

Dennis Sandole was a very unique teacher and individual. His lessons were structured in A-, B-, C- and D-weeks. A-week was devoted to a line based on one harmonic principle such as superimposed triads. During an 11 month span you would have put the C triad against every other major triad for the first week of the month. His line (which was written especially for you) would bring out the sounds of this superimposition in a musical way. You would learn the line in 12 keys or positions on your instrument in preparation for B-week. A set of chord changes from the line would be the basis of composition for another part of your A-week assignment. A simple melody was provided in A-week which you had to harmonize or arrange along each of the six strings. This lead to placing the melody in the bass register with chordal accompaniment above. Melody in the middle on G or D string, with bass below and little textural voices above on B and E was most challenging. Of course the most common was done: melody in the high strings with bass and chords below. The melodies were all laid horizontally across the neck leading to a greater vision of the architecture of the fingerboard through the process of arranging. The compositional etudes here are examples of this work done for that particular week.

Note: The recording quality is horrible on all the Sandole examples. They were recorded on a mono cassette recorder with built in mic. The objective is to give an idea to visitors here of the working process of my study with Sandole and of the variety of composition cells bred. I don't even know where some of the matching music is for the smaller exercises.

"Etude 1" AAC (974KB) | MP3 (925KB)
"Etude 2" AAC (1.2MB) | MP3 (1.1MB)
"Etude 3" AAC (678KB) | MP3 (630KB)
"Etude 11" AAC (1.1MB) | MP3 (1.0MB)
During B-week you were given a line to learn based one note inside the scale (2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13) interwoven with a major 7th chord. Then on completion of these (6 months) He moved to another chord quality like dominant 7th, Minor 7th, min7b5.
Later there were exotic scales given as part of B-week with which you would write a short composition. C-week dealt with the notes outside a given chord interwoven into the 1357 schema of the given chord. For example maj7 had 7 months of lines b2, #4, #5, b9, #9, #11, b13.
"Exotic 1" AAC (1019KB) | MP3 (970KB)
"Exotic 6" AAC (471KB) | MP3 (422KB)
When I got tendonitis, I did "exotics" with open strings - retuning my guitar and trying to give form and meaning to the same 6 notes. I only played with a pick at this time. This was a great thing to do! It really made me use my imagination with minimal materials. Of course I could have scratched, banged, plucked differently. There were textural possibities I never considered. I tried to think about Balinese music or kalimba without ever hearing much of this music, trying to consider each string as a tone drum.
"Open 1" AAC (1.3MB) | MP3 (1.3MB)
"Open 4" AAC (1.1MB) | MP3 (1.0MB)
"Open 13" AAC (766KB) | MP3 (717KB)
D-week was the heaviest composition week. At the beginning you had to do a harmonization of a standard. As well he asked for written improvisation based on this standard. After a while Dennis gave me pantonal scales D-week and I concentrated on composing pieces with these scales. Many pantonal pieces have been broadened and arranged for my group Brooklyn Brazil Bop. Note that my arrangements of standards at times put the melody in middle strings or bass. The results are quite striking and different from the more common approach of placing the melody on the highest strings. "How Insensitive" is a good example of this approach. This arrangement is from before I studied/understood or could play Brazilian guitar.
"Improv 1" AAC (558KB) | MP3 (509KB)
"Improv 5" AAC (407KB) | MP3 (359KB)
"Improv 8" AAC (692KB) | MP3 (644KB)
"Pantonal 10" AAC (480KB) | MP3 (432KB)
"Experts in Relaxation" AAC (634KB) | MP3 (586KB)
"Naima" AAC (2.3MB) | MP3 (2.2MB)
"How Insensitive" AAC (1.3MB) | MP3 (1.3MB)
"Reflections" AAC (742KB) | MP3 (693KB)
"When I Fall in Love" AAC (1.6MB) | MP3 (1.6MB)
©2005 Billy Newman | Brooklyn, USA |