Books by Ray Ashley

I've been working hard this year on a series of music books aimed at Warr Guitarists. I want to create books that will help us with our reading, while still keeping TAB below the treble and bass staves to help us stay oriented in difficult passages.  All my books will use a similar notation style as the very popular Touchstyle Quarterly, primarily for the 5hts and 4ths tuning, but also I will have a book just for my 8 string tuning.

Of the books that are out there right now, I would recommend Daniel Schell's "My Space, My Time".  Also, Frank Jolliffe's "Touchstyle Songbook" is excellent, as a song book, and back issues of the Touchstyle Quarterly provide many great lessons for the touchstyle musician.

I wanted to pick up where that left off, so I decided to start a series of books.  I am working on one book of very general exercises for the beginner, and a series of more advanced material.  As it happens, one of the more advanced books is the one I finished first, the Scriabin book.  For all players and students of every level, I would recommend that you tap into as many different resources as you can.

Books are available in the USA from Touchstyle Publications. European distribution by Daniel Schell, Clic Music

"Tapping the Flame"
The Music of Alexander Scriabin for Warr Guitar

This has been a pet project of mine, for the past few years I have been working up arrangements of Scriabin's piano works, and I decided to compile them in a book.    

Alexander Scriabin was a Russian composer who lived from 1872 to 1915.  This 49 page colleciton of 11 pieces, transcribed from piano, brings, for the first time, Scriabin's music to the electric tapping guitar.  These pieces range in difficulty from intermediate to very advanced.   

The songs all come with regular guitar tab for the standard 5ths and 4ths tuning (12 string).  10 and 11 string players with similar tunings will easily adapt to this book.  One of the songs is written especially for 8 string but is playable with stereo tunings.    

The book contains music from every period of Scriabin's musical life, which straddled the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.  The earliest pieces (1895) are reminiscent of the style of Chopin and Liszt, while the last works (1908 - 1914) represent the earliest atonal music ever written.  As early as 1908, Scriabin had abandonned tonality for a powerful but lyric modern style.  Scriabin's harmonic language, built on fourths, augmented fourths, and fifths, falls easily under the hand of the guitarist with the low register tuned in fifths.  

Many of the pieces are short preludes (of which Scriabin wrote dozens).  At the heart of the book is a complete transcription of "Vers la Flamme", viewed by many scholars as Scriabins most modern, advanced masterwork.  This piece is scored for two Warr Guitars, but could be played solo by an advanced player.  


Prelude in C,  Op. 11, No. 1 
Prelude in F, Op. 11, No. 23 
Prelude in E Flat Minor, Op. 16, No. 4 
Prelude in G Sharp Minor, Op. 22, No. 1 
Prelude in E, Op. 33, No. 1 (MP3 performed by R.A.) 
Album Leaf in E flat, Op. 45, No. 1 
“Desire”, Op. 57, No. 1 
Prelude, Op. 67, No. 1  
Prelude, Op. 74, No. 2 
Prelude, Op. 74, No. 3 (PDF Sample) 
“Vers La Flamme”, Op. 72 

The early pieces are melodic exampes of 19th century music.  The later pieces, opus 57 onwards, are in a place beyond tonality.  If you have been playing around with modern, angular, distorted guitar prog-rock, and you are looking for something more... this is it.  At the dawn of the modern era Scriabin made bold, original, atonal music that still was very listenable.  He was also very interested in multi-media, mixing music with colors and images.  In this respect he was way ahead of his time, and it is unfortunate that he died so young, in 1915.  

I worked out these arrangements on Warr Guitar, but you can certainly try them on similar instruments.  I have found, in my experiecne, that this kind of music sounds best on the Warr, or ADG. Most of the arrangements contain about 95% of the original notes.  What I had to do is thin out the texture in certain places, or change chord voicings to make the piano music playable on a Warr.  

The title of the book comes from the theme of fire that Scriabin used in many of his works, such as "Towards the Flame" (Vers la Flamme), "Somber Flames", and his orchestral masterwork "Prometheus, Poem of Fire".  It is my wish that Warr Guitarists will be able to tap into this primal energy as they play these pieces.  The book includes 4 pages of text in English, with limited text in Russian.    

...and if you are interested, the Russian title of the book is pronounced "Prikasayass k'ognyu"  

US$18 + s/h, available in the USA from Touchstyle Publications. European distribution by Daniel Schell, Clic Music 

For more info on Alexander Scriabin see my Scriabin page. 

More books forthcoming...

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