The Website of Harry George Pellegrin -- .Author, Musician, Recording Artist, Pedagogue

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Guitar Technique Sessions... Your Weekly Strength, Stamina and Dexterity Exercise

Week Number Fifty Two    October 20, 2005

We're always looking for new repertoire, furiously searching through the masterworks penned by the greats for other more 'serious' instruments. There are other sources -- sources that, if tapped, will make your audience smile! What a concept.

Have you ever looked to Hollywood? Some of the 20th Century's greatest composers wrote film scores. Here we take a look at an old piece of brilliance. It was one of my mother's favorites and I dedicate it to her on the first anniversary of her death. Written by a previously unknown artist, The Harry Lime Theme was originally scored for the zither, arguably a less 'serious' instrument than the guitar!


The Third Man

Considered by film buffs, critics and cinema historians as arguably the finest motion picture of the post war Film Noire genre -- and one of the overall greatest movies ever made, The Third Man, starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten is set in Vienna during those tumultuous first few years after the war. Torn by the political ambitions of the Allied powers as well as its burgeoning underworld spawned as much from the current occupations as by the stark contrast between what Vienna once was as contrasted to its current plight, Vienna is plagued by murder, extortion and the black market. Against this backdrop author Graham Greene penned a taut classic murder mystery, political commentary and ill-fated love story. Shot on location, it is a gem on all levels -- including the music.

The director and producer had no idea what to do for soundtrack music and stepped into a Vienna bar for a quick tip of the wrist. Performing in the bar was zither player Anton Karas. The light bulb went on -- this was the music that typified everything the creative forces wanted to convey in the film. Karas had never done any recording -- he didn't consider himself a composer. The money was good, so he agreed to write a soundtrack. Legend has it that Karas ran home and poured through his zither instruction books and grabbed a bit here, a snatch there, and crafted an easily morphed and varied piece. The melody is used in both duple and triple meters in the film, pushed from major to minor to fit moods and it all works flawlessly. This was genius.

The movie was a huge success, the music sold well bringing in more revenue for Karas -- who bought the bar he played in and continued to perform on his zither at the bar until his death. Pretty cool, eh?

I sat down with the guitar after watching the movie and almost automatically found the music under my hand. It is a natural on guitar. After working the rewind button on my VCR a few times, I had the rough idea of the tune which I then stored in my brain until on vacation in Rhode Island this past August. With PrintMusic loaded on my laptop, I soon had the rough partial transcription you see in the .pdf file. The complete transcription with fingerings will be in my guitar method. Suffice to say, a few of the note combinations are not suited for easy playability; I was working without a guitar and was looking for melodic/harmonic accuracy first -- I can always change things to suit the instrument later. (The thirds ornaments in the second run-through come to mind immediately. )

So you are scoffing at this point. "Certainly this type of popular music has no place on the classical guitar!" Well, have you heard Ben Verdery's renditions of Jimi Hendrix' music? I defy the scoffers to play Ben's transcriptions/renditions as well as Ben and then tell me that it ain't serious music! He isn't locked into a box, don't you be either.

Many of Hollywood's classic movie soundtracks will yield hauntingly lovely melodies that will work on the guitar. So they aren't the works of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin or Scarlatti - those guys were the popular music of their day! Don't turn your nose up sat a delightful melody simply because it isn't a 'masterwork.' Who knows, if you transcribe it and perform it in a 'serious' music recital, maybe you'll be playing the classic repertoire of fifty years from now! A buddy of mine used to learn television commercial jingles -- he insisted that with the amazing production values a 30 second spot had to have, there was a vast amount of tunesmanship and craft to be learned from the exercise.

 

So, in short, raid the Hollywood stockpile!

 

Hear the rough transcription.

Download the Harry Lime Theme .pdf file

 

 

 

 

BACK TO THE MAIN EXERCISE PAGE

 

Be well, be back!

What's New? The Two New Albums!

 

 

 

 

Hey, the new albums are out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's and its sequel as well.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track... Reflecting Pools is an ethereal journey into the realm of relaxation. In That Zone is a more classically structured exploration of mood and personality.

Available through www.BATHTUBMUSIC.com...

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or www.bathtubmusic.com.

 

LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at Amazon.com for what seemed like a century, it is my understanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website stocks new coipies of LOW END in an on again/off again mode.

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions: Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exercises to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting piece from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!

 

 

 

My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimy as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin

 

As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit www.makeNYNYagain.com and rebuild America!

 

 

About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definitely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and everyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps. Of course this was during the same period of time that Son of Sam was using Untermyer and Pine Street in Yonkers for his own uses... And we didn't know!!!

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.

Thanks!

 

 

 

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