Thelonious Monk for Guitar

Thelonious Monk for Guitar book image
  • 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

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


“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 Improve 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


Author’s Note
Selected Discography on CD
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 Voge 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

Page of Reflections

Gary Wittner, 2021, All rights reserved. Gary/Guitar pictures used by permission. Photographer - Pepe Avilés.