English Folk Guitar 2

This book is devoted to solo instrumental playing and attempts to cover most of the styles used today, from those derived from mediaeval lutenists to those developed by contemporary players. Most of the music is technically quite easy but being such good and timeless tunes are rewarding to work on. The greatest problem the majority of players will have is reading the rhythm; the tablature makes note finding straightforward. Contains 38 pieces including Planxty Davis, Nic Jones’  BBC Folk on two theme.
Companion cassette available £8.00
23cmsx30cms(9″x12″) 64 pages

Price: £18.00
ISBN: 978 0 906114 83 4 (2nd edition)


Folk Monthly magazine October issue 2016

Folk guitar is a big tent term that covers anything from artless three-chord twiddling to complex, alternative tuning stuff purveyed by the likes of the Martins Car-thy and Simpson. Michael Raven was a virtuoso whose music owed more to the classical guitar tradition than to folk, even though the material he played was largely from the folk canon.

Check out Lichfield Bower Processional, one of his Youtube videos, and you’ll get the picture. It’s a barnstorming display of instrumental wizardry likely to make any struggling novice sell his guitar and buy a kazoo.

Raven’s faultless technique is almost too rich for folk, but his influence on the genre is undeniable. Explore Youtube and you’ll find numerous performances of his arrangements by others.

This book offers 38 pieces ranging from medieval lute music, through 17th century dance tunes, military marches, Anglo-Irish airs and jigs to some attractive Raven originals, including Captain Rock’s Farewell and Crystal Spring, so familiar that I hadn’t realised they weren’t traditional.

The arrangements, beautifully displayed in standard notation and tablature and illustrated with woodcuts, engravings and photographs, are “technically quite easy” according to the author, but some (including me) will find them a challenge. Most pieces are in standard tuning, but there are some in drop-D, including Planxty Davis, an O’Carolan-style fiddle tune well known from the Mc Jones recording used by Mike Harding as the theme for his much-missed Radio 2 show.

Raven, who died in 2008, wrote many fine instructional books. Most are still in print and, like this one, serve as a welcome reminder of an enviable talent.

A companion cassette recording by the author is available, as are all Raven’s books, at michaelravenpublication.com.