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Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
Yellow Rose of Texas Anonymous Guitar octet
American folksong, arranged by Tom Potter for 8 guitars.
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Parts: Gtr1  Gtr2  Gtr3  Gtr4  Gtr5  Gtr6  Gtr7  Gtr8
2013-04-23

Title: "Yellow Rose of Texas"

History

The "Yellow Rose of Texas" is an American folk song dating back to Texas's struggle for independence from Mexico in the 1830's.  Although little is known for sure, much has been written about the history of the song, including attempts to identify a historical person who was the "yellow rose".  We can presume that the "yellow rose" was a woman of mixed white and black ancestry.  Some versions of the lyrics suggest that the person singing the song is intended to be in the character of an African American.

Many variants of the song exist, including a popular hit version by Mitch Miller in 1955.  The sources I have used for the melody and lyrics are the Mudcat Cafe article and the Wikipedia page.  The Wikipedia page also has a good account of the history of this lovely and historic song.

Arrangement for 8 guitars

I wrote this arrangement of "Yellow Rose of Texas" for sight-reading by a guitar club or guitar class.  Some parts are easy, while others are more challenging. 

Performance instructions:

Do not play small notes: they are cue notes. When notes are marked staccato, play them short and crisp.  In all 8 guitar parts I have tried to minimize the number of times that you need to change the fret position of your left hand.  So, for example, if the sheet music indicates that you should shift to VII-th position, then you will probably stay in that position until the next printed indication of a change in fret position.

Guitar 1: You always play the melody, and your part is always doubled by at least one other part, so this part can be omitted if necessary.  But it provides a useful reinforcement of the melody.  Except for the last very high note, you stay in either VII-th position or IX-th position.

Guitar 2: You have the hardest part.  Note that some passages are marked "8va" meaning that you should play them an octave higher than written.

Guitar 3 and Guitar 4: You have some high notes, and sometimes have the melody.

Guitar 5: You are an accompanying part.  Notice that some notes are staccato.

Guitar 6: The easiest part.  Notice that some notes are staccato.

Guitar 7: Play your bass notes strongly.  Often you are reinforcing Guitar 8's bass notes.

Guitar 8: All the other players must get the tempos from you.  Your vital responsibility is to coordinate the abrupt tempo changes in the transitions to and from the slow chorale section that stretches from rehearsal letter C to letter D:

Bar before C: your repeated E's are in the new slower tempo (marked "Lento"), and all the other players get that tempo from those notes.

Bar before D: your repeated E's in this measure announce the return the original faster tempo.

Missing some players?

Septet: Guitars 2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Sextet: Guitars 2,3,4,5,7,8
Quintet: Guitars 2,3,4,7,8
Quartet: Guitars 2,3,4,8

—Tom Potter

   April 23, 2013

 

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