Category Archives: repertoire

INTERLUDIO (1968) for 10-string guitar by Leon Schidlowsky (ed. Viktor van Niekerk)


One of the earliest compositions for the ten-string guitar of Narciso Yepes is now available in an edition published by the Israel Music Institute.

Dating from 1968, Chilean-Israeli composer Leon Schidlowsky‘s Interludio was written for Yepes and his guitar in a graphic ‘space-time’ notation widely adopted during the 1960s when Western art music entered its ‘liquid’ (or ‘post-‘) modern phase.

Excerpt from INTERLUDIO by Leon Schidlowsky (ed. Viktor van Niekerk), Israel Music Institute.

Schidlowsky originally notated Interludio across two staves with (transposing) treble and bass clefs. However, one of the composer-approved changes to the score was the relocation of all notes played on strings 1-6 to the upper staff, and all notes played on strings 7-10 to the lower one. This allowed us to minimize string and fingering indications (and thus limit entropy) in an already cluttered score. (Strings 7-10 are only indicated when fretted.) Incidentally, in Interludio, strings 7-10 are used over 120 times in the space of about 2’12”, making for a challenging addition to the repertoire of the virtuoso ten-string guitarist. The piece also provides extensive opportunities for the use of Yepes techniques like prestissimo flourishes with three fingers of the right hand, and cross-string trills.

The score is available from the Israel Music Institute*, catalogue number IMI 8002:

A few minor errata have to be pointed out:

  • Bar 41: either slur or attack the G#, but of course not both.
  • Bar 115: the arrow indicating the simultaneous playing of two strings (8-7) by the right-hand thumb should point down.
  • Bars 122-23: left hand fingering (3 4) should be 4 then 3.
  • The explanation of symbols used in the score has been omitted; I include both Schidlowsky’s original Spanish instructions and my English version below.
Symbols (Spanish)
Symbols (English)


(For an example of Schidlowsky’s style, click here for his Piano Quartet on YouTube.)

*The score is also available from the following IMI representatives abroad:

Theodore Presser (USA, Canada, Mexico), Peer Musikverlag (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Melos Ediciones Musicales / Ricordi Americana (South America), Albersen (The Netherlands), Cesky Rozhlas – Fond Hudebnin (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary), AB Nordiska (Sweden), Intermusica (Spain, Portugal), Danmusik (Denmark), and Harald Lyche (Norway).

Giga by David Kellner & Menuet by Camille d’Hostun

Two elementary and intermediate level ten-string guitar transcriptions of baroque lute music:

Camille d’Hostun, duc de Tallard (1652-1728)

TALLARD [click here to download PDF]
Transcription by Viktor van Niekerk

David Kellner (1670-1748)

KELLNER [click here to download PDF]
Transcription by Viktor van Niekerk

Note: Numbers inside triangles indicate strings whose vibrations need to be checked by the given finger of the left or right hand. When this symbol is accompanied by the abbreviations w, th, or dp, the meaning is to stop the vibration of the string by means of the RH wristheel (thumb-side), and distal phalanx of the thumb respectively. The difference between stopping the sound with “p” (thumb) and “dp” is that the first makes use of the thumb pad (as if playing the string) while the latter checks the string’s vibration by means of the side of the thumb’s distal phalanx (i.e., placing the thumb ‘under’, not on, the string). The latter technique is useful when ascending to an adjacent string, not wishing both to sound together. Not all such techniques are explicitly indicated. The most common damping technique is a (light) rest stroke, when descending across adjacent strings that form a major/minor 2nd, e.g., a rest stroke on string 10 after sounding string 9, leaving 10 to sound while checking 9 by coming to rest on it. Occasionally it is a good idea to fret the A2 bass on string 9/10 instead of playing it open when it is followed by an open 9th string (i.e., G#2 or G2). This avoids the melodic (M/m) 2nd becoming a dissonance as well as unnecessarily tricky damping. There is an example of this fingering in the Kellner Giga: the anacrusis or pickup from bars 3 to 4, page 2, system 2.

Menuet (Urtext) by Tallard

Giga (Urtext) by Kellner

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999), edition Viktor van Niekerk

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude in C minor BWV 999

Edition Viktor van Niekerk: click here to download PDF

Note: Narciso Yepes used a half capo tasto at III when he performed this prelude. While avoiding the extended barre of mm. 1-4, this solution (like most six-string guitar editions) makes it impossible to play the correct bass note on page 2, system 4, m. 2 (p. 1, system 6, m. 2 of the Urtext). I prefer to do away with the capo altogether, a solution which opens again other possibilities. One of these is occasionally to fret the bass line on strings 8-10, avoiding disruptive mid-phrase changes of position. Interpretive merits aside, for the advanced ten-string guitarist the result is also a good technical study in extended use of the fingerboard, and for the agility of the right hand thumb (strings 7-10 are used 46 times in this brief composition).

(Clearly I disagree with the assumed “fidelity” of formalist “executions” of the text that “read” literal “intentions” into rests. There are examples in Bach’s music where such textualism results in obvious nonsense, e.g., four one-bar phrases of a single melodic line, with big leaps, instead of one four-bar phrase in steps and two-part counterpoint at the beginning of the Sarabande of BWV 995. Nevertheless I believe in the value of a plurality of different interpretations, so I may well formalize or “rhythmicize” some future performance, just as I may take the tempo slower or quicker, bring out other implied voices, or apply other articulations and dynamics. Why not? For an excellent demonstration of such possibilities in Bach – but not necessarily just in Bach – see this lesson by pianist-composer Emile Naoumoff.)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)

J.S. Bach: Prelude (BWV 999)
Urtext in the hand of Bach’s student J.P. Kellner


Explanation of Symbols

Julian Bertino’s Graduating Recital, 16 April 2016


Hirokazu Sato (*1966) – Mountains, Wind and the Lakes (1997) for 10-string guitar

Concepción Lebrero (*1937) – Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz (1989) for 10-string guitar

(About this work, see:


Fernando Sor (1778-1839) – Marche Funèbre pour harpolyre
(Ed. Viktor van Niekerk for 10-string guitar after Sor’s original publication for 21-stringed guitar)

Julian Bertino (*1991) – Kriyā (2016) for 10-string guitar

Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) – Lute Concerto FaWV L:d1


Playlist of full recital:

Narciso Yepes 1979 Recital, 1984 Concert Programmes

This 1979 recital of Narciso Yepes has to date received over a million views, on this video alone. Including uploads of individual items (e.g. Recuerdos de la Alhambra), it has in fact been viewed c. 6 million times.

The recital is now also available with restored audio quality in the following playlist:

Alternatively, click on an item below for easy navigation.


KÜHNEL: Suite (for baroque lute)


BACH: Sarabande & Double BWV 1002 – @11:43

BACH: Chaconne BWV 1004 – @18:46

SOR: Fantasie Villageoise, op. 52 – @33:38

SOR: Variations sur “Marlborough s’en va-t-en guerre”, op. 28 – @42:37

PERIS: Elegía para Gisela (for 10-string guitar) – @48:29

KUČERA: Diary (Homage to Che Guevara) – @55:50

-Day of Love
-Day of Hate
-Day of Decision
-Day of Battle
-Day of Death

BROUWER: Tarantos – @01:08:41

VILLA-LOBOS: Etudes nos. 1, 11, 12 – @1:13:14

BACARISSE: Passepied (encore 1) – @1:23:33

ANONYMOUS: Brian Boru’s March (encore 2) – @1:27:42

TÁRREGA: Recuerdos de la Alhambra (encore 3) – @1:33:20

GALILEI: Saltarello (encore 4)- @1:38:35

RUIZ-PIPÓ: Danza no. 1 (encore 5) – @1:42:02

* * *

As Fritz Buss points out (in this interview), Yepes usually had about four or five programmes of this length committed to memory at any given time (excluding concertos). As an example, here are a few recital programmes from April-May 1984:

  • May 1, 1984, Great Hall, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg:


Music by Alfonso X, Kellner, Bach, Giuliani, Satie, Villa-Lobos, Peris, Balada, Tárrega:


  • May 10, 1984, Linder Auditorium, Johannesburg:


Music by Adriaensen, Falckenhagen, Scarlatti, Bach, Falla, Sainz de la Maza, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Brouwer, Ginastera:


  • May 20, 1984, Civic Theatre, Johannesburg, in duo with Godelieve Monden:


Music by Johnson, Ford, Telemann, Carulli, Gurdjieff, Petit, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Rodrigo:


* * *

Moreover, as Yepes mentioned (in this  interview), by 1981/’82 he had c. 23 concertos in his repertoire, to which could be added (at least) those by Françaix, Marco (Eco), Balada (Persistencias), Moreno-Buendía, and Hovahness (No. 2) that came later.

Yepes’s performance of the Adagio from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (with its transcendent, non-textual elements that so nag at the straitjackets of formalist minds) has received c. 4 million views, on this upload alone:


Suite Popular Argentina (Miguel Angel Cherubito)

Miguel Angel CHERUBITO (*1941) - Suite Popular Argentina (1989)
dedicated to Narciso Yepes

• Zamba [00:00]
• Milonga [04:45]
• Chacarera [09:11]
• Vidala [11:18]
• Tango [14:32]
• Malambo [20:43]

Miguel Angel Cherubito was born in Buenos Aires in 1941. He studied the guitar and composition. Between 1974 and 1989 he lived in Barcelona where he was active as concert guitarist, composer and conductor. He subsequently returned to Argentina where he became the director of a music school. He has written music for guitar as well as orchestral music. His herculean Suite Popular Argentina (1989) was written for Narciso Yepes, who gave the première in Tokyo.

Yepes said the following about this work and its composer: “Cherubito has the gift of…refinement and creative vein of a man who has much to say to us through music and especially the guitar. His Suite Popular Argentina is an example of this. I play this work in all my recitals, being one of the most applauded of my vast repertoire.” (1992)

Cherubito has written the following about the folkloric movements of his suite:

The Zamba is a pair dance with a slow tempo and courtly, galant character. It is danced in all Argentinean provinces. Its origins may be traced back to a Spanish dance known as the Zambacueca, from which two different dances developed: the Argentinean Zamba and the Chilean Cueca. The Zamba can also be sung.

The Milonga also comes originally from Spain and can be danced as well as sung. It resembles the Habanera but is faster-moving. There are two kinds of Milonga: the country version, which is sung and in which the interpreter improvises; and the town version, from Buenos Aires, which may be sung and danced. This is faster than the country version and may contain various themes: melancholy, romantic or amusing. The Milonga from my suite has a dramatic character and belongs to the country type.

The Chacarera is sung and danced in the northern provinces of Argentina. There are three forms: the simple, the double and the long Chacarera. The most important composers of the dance come from Santiago del Estero. The Chacarera in my suite belongs to the simple form. In keeping with tradition, the guitar plays two parts: in thirds or in sixths.

The Vidala comes from Bolivia and the north of Argentina, and has its roots in [First Nations] culture. It is not a dance, but a musical form – sung or purely instrumental – whose melodies are reminiscent of the plateaus and mountains of the Andes.

The Argentinean Tango may also be sung. It came into being at the end of the nineteenth century in Rio de la Plata, and combines elements of African dance and European music. As a town dance, the Tango is now associated mainly with the area of Buenos Aires.

The Malambo, though to be found throughout Argentina, is cultivated mainly in the Andes and Central Pampas. It has a very dynamic character and continuous rhythm from beginning to end. It is danced principally by men – alone or in groups -, and the movements are limited to the feet. The origins of this dance are not known exactly, but I believe that it comes from Spain, where this footstamping represents an important feature of dance.


The sheet music is available to purchase from the Schott Shop:,49575,cmss,3210.html

It should be mentioned, however, that the composer revised the work in 2014. Changes (most extensively to the Chacarera and repeats) are not reflected in the Schott edition.

‘Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz’ by Concepción Lebrero (composition for 10-string guitar)

Concepción Lebrero
Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz (1989) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to Narciso Yepes)

1. Soñando [Dreaming]
2. Despertando [Awakening]
3. Cantando [Singing]
4. Tocando la guitarra [Playing guitar]
5. Arriesgando [Risking]
6. Pensando [Thinking]
7. Ascendiendo [Ascending]

María de la Concepción Lebrero Baena (*Toro, Zamora, 24-VII-1937) received First Prize in Piano at the Conservatory of Salamanca at the age of 10. At the age of 13 she graduated in Piano, in Madrid, with another first prize. She continued her musical studies in Madrid, studying piano virtuosity with José Cubiles, harmony with Jesus Arámbarri, counterpoint and fugue with Francisco Calés, accompaniment and piano transposition with Gerardo Gombau, organ with Jesus Guridi and composition with Cristóbal Halffter, obtaining at the end of all these matters the respective First Prizes and various other awards.

Her compositions include music for children, several song cycles for voice and piano, choral works, piano and organ works, cantatas and oratorios.

Narciso Yepes wrote the following about Lebrero and her only composition for guitar:

“Concepción Lebrero is an outstanding Spanish composer, pianist and teacher. She has taken over the musical education of my children during my absence. Many times, over many years, I asked her to compose something for me, but she never agreed, with the excuse of not knowing the resources of the guitar. She composed cantatas, oratorios, works for orchestra and piano, voice and piano, but never anything for guitar.

“A few days after the death of our son, Juan de la Cruz, whom she had taught music and cherished from an early age, Concepción gave me this work Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz and said tersely: ‘I’ve written it thinking of Juan, as if he had dictated it to me. Do what you want with it; I do not even know if it is playable on the guitar.’ From the first note I felt overwhelmed. Movements: Dreaming, Awakening, Singing, Playing guitar, Risking, Thinking and Ascending, are an interior glimpse of the eighteen years of our son on this earth, from his first steps in life and music through teenage risks to the fullness of true life. I put my guitar and my love in the service of this work, because it is not just art, it is also a message of timeless beauty.” (Narciso Yepes)

Excerpts from Yepes’s autograph manuscript:





3 Baroque Lute Sonatas (Falckenhagen, Straube, Weiss)

‘We can say that the lute is to the guitar as the harpsichord is to the piano. And if this is true, how can we take the music written for these eight, nine, or 10-course instruments – even [eleven,] thirteen and fourteen courses, in the case of the baroque lute – and transcribe it for a guitar, which has only six strings? [...] I want to be able to make “legitimate” transcriptions in which the music loses nothing, but rather improves in quality.’ (Narciso Yepes. 1978. “The Ten-String Guitar: Overcoming the Limitations of Six Strings”. Interviewed by L. Snitzler. Guitar Player 12, p. 26.)

Sonata no. 2 by Adam Falckenhagen (live in Buenos Aires):

Sonata no. 1 by Rudolf Straube:

Sonata no. 2 by Silvius Leopold Weiss:


“With the ten-string guitar I have many possibilities, and I do not need the baroque [lute] tuning exactly.” (Narciso Yepes. 1983. “Conversation with Narciso Yepes”. Interviewed by J. Schneider. Soundboard , Spring: p. 66.)

Scordatura: String 7 = B1 (low B)
Scordatura: String 7 = B1 (low B) – other low basses (C#2, D#2) are fretted on string 7


2 South African Sonatas for 10-String Guitar


Cromwell Everson (1925-1991): Sonata (1984) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to David Hewitt)

1. Allegro Energico
2. Mesto
3. Rondo

Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 1)
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 7)
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson
Sonata for 10-string guitar by Cromwell Everson (excerpt from p. 17)
Cromwell Everson
Cromwell Everson (1925-1991)

Oliver Cromwell Everson (1925-1991) was a pioneer of modernist and electro-acoustic music in South Africa, and composer of the first opera in Afrikaans. His oeuvre includes, among other works, five sonatas, a trio, the opera Klutaimnestra (1967), a set of inventions, four song-cycles, a piano suite, miscellaneous pieces for the piano and the guitar (Cantūs Tristitiae for ten-string guitar), as well as an incomplete symphony and string quartet. He received his Doctorate in Music from the University of Cape Town in 1974.

Here is a sample of Everson’s music, from Vier Liefdesliedjies (1949):



David Hönigsberg (1959-2005): African Sonata (1990, rev. 2004) for ten-string guitar (dedicated to Viktor van Niekerk)

1. Amiably, with a sense of walking (A Basutu Tune)
2. A quiet summer evening…
3. Fast and play very rhythmically
4. Energetically

African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 1)
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 11)
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg
African Sonata for 10-string guitar by David Hoenigsberg (excerpt from p. 15)
David Hoenigsberg
David Hoenigsberg (1959-2005)

David Hönigsberg (1959-2005) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to German-Jewish and Afrikaner parents. He studied with the most prominent South African piano teachers (Peggy Haddon, Annette Kearney, and Pauline Nossel). After graduating with a B. Mus. in Composition from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, he attended the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna, as a composition student of Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1993, working as a freelance composer, conductor, and pianist. Hönigsberg’s oeuvre includes, among other works, 4 Symphonies, an Orchestral Suite, 2 Violin Concertos, a Piano Concerto, a Viola Concerto, a Guitar Concerto,  a Piccolo Concerto,  Soliloquy for Violoncello and String Orchestra, 5 String Quartets, Missa Brevis, two cantatas, numerous songs and chamber music, notably, a number of African Dances for piano, African Sketches (1988, for flute or oboe, ten-string guitar and optional African shaker or tambourine), and Antique Suite (1988 rev. 2004, for ten-string guitar and harpsichord).


Lastly, it should be mentioned that these sonatas exist thanks to the late David Hewitt (1947-2001), an accomplished ten-string guitarist and composer in his own right.

Hewitt started his career as a rock guitarist and only turned to the classical guitar after finishing his schooling and meeting Fritz Buss, who became Hewitt’s mentor of many years. Through Buss, Hewitt later also attended master classes with Narciso Yepes.

Hewitt never lost his ear for African music. He inspired numerous South African composers to write new works for the guitar and eventually contributed many of his own compositions to his two African guitar albums (An African Tapestry from 1989 and The Storyteller from 1990). He also recorded duets with fellow Buss/Yepes alumni Tessa Ziegler and Simon Wynberg, including the guitar duets of J. K. Mertz and Napoleon Coste.

With the terrifying early onslaught of Alzheimer’s, David refused to capitulate. He knew his memory was failing him with ever increasing frequency, yet he bravely battled the debilitating symptoms. At last he was unable to play, or articulate his appreciation of excellence, but still continued to enjoy other guitarists’ concerts.

David Hewitt
David Hewitt (1947-2001)

Here is David Hewitt performing both parts of his composition Street Beat (c. 1989) for guitar duo:

And here is David Hewitt performing the Five African Sketches (1990) by Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph:

Gigue by François Dufault


Dufault2François Dufault’s Gigue (Souris no. 72) transcribed for 10-string guitar after the tablature for 11-course baroque lute (Berlin, Pr. St. Bibl., Mus. Ms. 40149 pp 42-3).

Gigue (Urtext) by Dufault
Gigue (Urtext) by Dufault


François Dufault (or Du Faut) was a French lutenist of the seventeenth century. He studied with Denis Gaultier and became in his own right one of the most celebrated representatives of the lute’s golden age in France.

His playing was described as “very grave and learned” by the author of Mary Burwell’s lute book, while the Dutch lute-enthusiast Constantijn Huygens referred to Dufault as “the rarest man I ever hope to see [sic] upon the lute” and “the rarest compositor [sic] that I ever heard, and the sweetest humor of a man.”

For more about Dufault’s reception and historical significance, see:

‘The historical importance of François Dufault and his influence on musicians outside France’ by  Tim Crawford

For an interview germane to the interpretation of French music of the 17th century, see:

New Composition: ‘Pièce bulgare’ by Siegmund Schmidt

A new virtuoso movement, Pièce bulgare (2013), has been written for 10-string guitar solo by the German organist/composer Siegmund Schmidt (*1939).

Schmidt has also written chamber music with 10-string guitar, including:

  • HOMMAGE für Trio (Querflöte, Viola und zehnsaitige Gitarre) (mit dem Titel HOMMAGE ist Johann Sebastian Bach gemeint) 2008
  • „WOLLE DIE WANDLUNG. O SEI FÜR DIE FLAMME BEGEISTERT.” (Rilke) -METAMORPHOSEN III für Kammerensemble (Flöte, Viola, 10-saitige Gitarre) und Orchester (Oboe, Englischhorn, Fagott, Horn in F, Trompete, 3 Pauken, Tamtam, Violine I, Violine II, Viola, Violoncello I, Violoncello II, Kontrabass) Satzfolge: Prolog – Passacaglia – Epilog 2009
  • HUMORESKE für Flöte, Fagott und Marimbaphon und in erweiterter Fassung für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre. (Vorgesehen als dritter Satz vor dem Rondo – Finale der SERENADE für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre) 2010
  • “ABEND WIRD ES WIEDER” Variationen (in der Fassung) für Flöte, Alphorn und zehnsaitige Gitarre 2013
  • INTERMEZZO GIOCOSO Fassung für Flöte, Viola und 10-saitige Gitarre 2014

Composer’s website (click here).

Here are some examples of Schmidt’s music:

New Composition: ‘The Dying Tree’ by Julian Bertino

Canadian guitarist/composer Julian Bertino (*1991) has written a new work for 10-string guitar. The score for The Dying Tree (2014) is available to download here:

Please inform the composer of any performances at:

Julian Bertino "The Dying Tree" for 10-string guitar (2014)
Julian Bertino “The Dying Tree” for 10-string guitar (2014)

Pascal Jugy’s compositions for 10-string guitar

Noms d’oiseaux
for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller

“Sometimes very freely, if you wish these birds to be free…”

“This invitation to freedom is a paradoxical one, in the sense that it is immediately tempered by the rigour of the notation, the precision of the tempi and the complexity of the metric. But is it really a paradox? What if all these elements were merely a cage where the Musical Bird safely dwells? Then, it is up to the interpreter to open the cage and let the Bird spread his wings and soar. However, freedom does not go without danger, and the interpreter may want to hold the Bird captive to preserve its life. Modern in its writing, this piece keeps a tonal foundation, more or less obvious according to the different parts. This ten-string guitar version was written at the guitarist Andreas Hiller’s request.”

Adios Latinos for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller

(Header art: Detail from ‘A boy with a birdcage’ by Abraham Bloemaert, 1566)