Our American Musical HeritageDos Canosos, Un TigreLinksContact Gary, Bookings, OrdersMusic & Life of Thelonious MonkSonglists and Samples for 3 CDsGarys HomepageBio
Reviews on Thelonious Monk for Guitar:
"Guitarist Gary Wittner has established something of a reputation for bringing the genius and the music of Thelonious Monk to the guitar....... Wittner's arrangements bring a fresh insight for the guitarist and as such should be applauded........The book is well laid out, the music is clear and readable..........The inclusion of performance notes with recorded sources is also a nice touch.........Altogether, an excellent book .... Wittner has done a fine job on these arrangements and the book comes heartily recommended."

            Jazz Guitar International
            Rating ****

"Thelonious Monk For Guitar makes the music of one of the most important and immediately identifiable jazz composers more accessible. . . The presentation is well thought out and thorough. . . Of significant value are the performance notes that accompany each of the 11 compositions."

            Jazz Improv Magazine

See Gary's Guitar Player Articles
Sessions: Monk on Guitar
Sessions: You've Got to Monkify

For more information on Thelonious Monk go to:
Presentations on the
Music and Life of Thelonious Monk
11 compositions notated for guitar transcribed from the original recordings

With specific performance notes for guitarists

Listing of recorded sources for each transcription

Selected discography

Several tunes never previously published


    Author's Note
    Selected Discography on CD
    WE SEE
    About the Author
    Guitar Notation Legend

Portion of Performance Notes for Reflections from THELONIOUS MONK FOR GUITAR:
Recorded Sources:
Monk, OJC-016
Alone in San Francisco, OJC-231
The Complete Black Lion and Vogue Recordings of Thelonious Monk, Mosaic MR4-112

"Reflections" was recorded five times between 1952 and 1968. The second recording, in 1954, listed the composition as "Portrait of an Ermite." It was originally a slow swing tune, but subsequent recordings treated it as a ballad, as it is mostly widely known today.

This is a solo guitar arrangement. There is quite a bit of activity in the bass line, and this works best unaccompanied.

Measure 1: Be sure to sustain the opening chord for the first full beat. On the end of beat 3, lift only the third finger to play the C melody. Let the rest of the chord sustain for the entire beat.

Measure 2: The E flat bass line is Monk's addition to the melody. The rhythm used in this arrangement comes from one of Monk's recordings, but it can be varied according to your own taste. Try using an A bass note in the second half of this measure, creating Eflat 7flat 9 with a flat5 in the bass.

Measure 3: Monk sometimes played the first three melody notes E flat–F–C as a quarter-note triplet. The second "A" section at measure 11 uses this rhythm. The melody line ends with the tied E flat at the beginning of beat 3. The following sixteenth-note passage on beats 3 and 4 is Monk's improvised line. Note that the sixteenths on beat 3 are played 8va (an octave higher than written). On beat 4, try to sustain the D sharp and the A until the B is played, to create a B7 chord (no 5th) on the final sixteenth note of the measure. For improvisation, the chord changes are A flat maj7 for two beats, B flatm7 for the third beat, and Bm7 for the forth beat.
Excerpt from Reflections

Music & Life of Thelonious Monk
Dos Canosos, Un Tigre
Our American Musical Heritage

©2007, Gary Wittner, All Rights Reserved.