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Transcriptions: No. 1: Johannes Brahms "Lullaby" Waltz No. 15 • Drop D Notation with Tab

Brahms Famous Lullaby Arranged For Solo Guitar by John Francis

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833 to a poor family. His father was a double-bass player. His mother was a seamstress. Brahms began studies on the piano at the age of seven. By the age of thirteen he was able to support himself by playing piano at bars and brothels and arranging light music. He soon began writing sonatas, piano trios, and many other romantic works. He became acquainted with Joseph Joachim and Franz Liszt and attracted the attention of Robert Schumann, who declared him a "Musical Messiah." The young Brahms was very taken by Schumann's wife, the great concert pianist Clara Schumann, with whom he maintained a very close relationship after Schumann's premature death. He took up permanent residence in Vienna in 1868. Brahms wrote four symphonies, and was considered by many to be the true successor to Beethoven. An idea that was also supported by the fact that he never wed and was a bit gruff and eccentric. In 1881, Hans von Bülow influenced the Meiningen court orchestra to rehearse Brahms' new works, including the Fourth Symphony. Brahms met Wagner around 1885, but their styles contrasted greatly. This delighted many music connoisseurs that yearned for such an alternative. Brahms died in Vienna, April 3, 1897.

Johannes Brahms is considered to be one of the world's greatest composers. Along with his four symphonies, he wrote serenades, songs, chorales, concertos, overtures, chamber music, a wonderful requiem, and many piano works including his Hungarian Dances, sonatas, intermezzos and waltzes from which this very popular lullaby is taken.

A Word About Transcriptions

Guitarists owe a great deal of their repertoire to music that was originally written for other instruments. Yet, in spite of this there will always be some "purists" that will tell you that this music will always sound better on the instruments for which it was originally written. Some will even venture backwards to the period instrument. While this preference may or may not be "better," It is certainly debatable, but what would be the point ? J. S. Bach and many others had no reservations about reworking their masterpieces to suit other instruments and we have all benefited from the results. Whether or not a transcription "sounds better" should not be an issue, but whether or not it adds something of merit to the guitarist's literature. Does this stand on the guitar or not? A lot of transciptions force the guitarist to develop new techniques in order to achieve certain idiomatic effects and more. The result of which can easily open doors for fresh new compositions to be conceived on the guitar. The transcription process can be very liberating. It may even expand one's knowledge of harmony and other musical concepts. Please, let's not discourage its embrace!!! -jf

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Tags: 15, brahms, classical, francis, guitar, johannes, john, lullaby, solo, tab, More…tablature, transcription, waltz


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