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Style-free Pieces

David Raleigh Arnold

“Style-free” indicates that these pieces may be played as a solo or classical guitar pieces or played with a plectrum. Some could be played on other instruments. A metronome is a good idea to help you count, never to use as a substitute for keeping time.

The Easiest Stuff

The first three numbers in the Seven Easy Pieces are all playable with a flat pick.


Monstyria is not only fun for Halloween but very good for practice as well. Playing two notes at once with pick or thumb alone an important skill. Playing with the thumb, you are practicing both your apoyando and your passing stroke at the same time. Try not to move the right hand if you are using your thumb. The last chord is an Emmaj7add9. Your computer can play this raw midi version.[1]


Modula is totally style free. The whole thing could easily be played with the right hand thumb, and the chords of five or six notes ought to be played that way. Not counting chords made with one finger or none, the arpeggiated chord fingerings are all the same as either E or D7. The only note above the fourth fret is the “a” on the first string. Very young beginners can play this, and play it well, if they count it, so that they learn to place accents properly. Your computer can play this raw midi version, but a six-year-old can play it better.

In a Funk

In a Funk is very easy to play, especially if you miss no opportunities to make it even easier by sliding. Listen to the raw midi too.


Suspended is a study in tempo change. It is not difficult in any other way.

Flat City

Flat City is a very easy piece in C Minor. There are much more painful ways of becoming acquainted with flat keys. Practicing this will be very good for the left hand of any beginner. A piacere means to play it the way you want to hear it, which I hope will not be too much like the raw midi.

Broom Etude

The Broom Etude is a straightforward etude for speed. Sweep pick it with a flat pick or play it classical style. Played on the clarinet, it is advanced-intermediate grade. It would be good on arpeggione, a bowed guitar.


Fantasy is meant to be played slowly, with a good solid beat and plenty of dynamics (loud and soft). The dynamics are not included. Played on the clarinet, it is advanced-intermediate grade. A prestissimo beat at quarter=208bpm is equivalent to a largo, very slow, tempo playing three quarters per beat. Actually, that's a hair too slow. ☺

Rhythm Etude

This Rhythm Etude may be played without the use of the 3rd finger of the left hand. A midi version would not help one iota, because the problem is playing the rhythm, not reading the notes.


The last number in the Seven Easy Pieces can also be played with a pick, although it’s easier finger style. The tempo of a fandango is not very fast, but it swings.

Bay Blues

I think Bay Blues sounds better if it’s slow, so the raw midi version is nice and slow.[2]

§1 Sometimes a very convenient form of tab is to give the strings from lowest to highest with the frets. This particular chord is, in tab, 021002.

§2 todo: chords with Bob van der Poel's mma.

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©2007 David Raleigh Arnold