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  • chrisdumigan

Mike Bethel : 2021 Suite for guitar : 12 Monthly Musical Miniatures:

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Mike Bethel

Available from : 12 pages

This enterprising guitarist and teacher from Smethwick has here produced a very interesting set of pieces, one for every month of the year, which is available either as a pdf or as a hard copy from his site (see above)

The first thing you realise is that his style is quite original, tonal but unusual is perhaps a good way to describe it. There are key signatures but also plenty of accidentals along the way too, and so your reading has to be pretty good to start with. By the way there are a set of videos all on his site to give any interesting players an idea of what they sound like. They are moderate in difficulty for the most part, with the odd place where your technique has to be somewhat better than that. Also interestingly there are no speed markings in any of the pieces, although you can check exactly how he plays them on his site, but for the most part, the speed required is obvious from the musical content. So, for example the opening January is definitely only a moderate speed, as the musical landscape is dark and sad and somewhat morose, whereas May leaps around, like a lamb gamboling in a field, and so therefore the speed needs to reflect that.

Suffice it to say that every piece is utterly different and sufficiently individual from anything you might have seen to make these characterful pieces really worth playing. The harmonies very rarely if ever go where you expect them to , and so , as I intimated before, your reading ability has to be very quick and immediate , although once read, the pieces themselves aren’t advanced in difficulty to actually play, once you get to know them .A good volume to improve your sight reading for starters!

Chris Dumigan

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