Adam Levy Teaches His Transferring Solo Guitar Composition “Clandestino (Elegy for a Cheesemonger)”

Adam Levy Teaches His Transferring Solo Guitar Composition “Clandestino (Elegy for a Cheesemonger)”

From the November/December 2022 difficulty of Acoustic Guitar | By Adam Perlmutter

Many musicians have discovered new methods of collaborating through the pandemic, and for Adam Levy, the ace guitarist-composer, singer-songwriter, sideman, and educator, this included internet hosting a distant writing group from February 2021 to March 2022. Utilizing prompts like “the spy who liked guitar” and “walk-on music on your look on a late-night discuss present,” every member of the group penned 33 new compositions. 

One project was to put in writing one thing to have a good time the spirit of somebody misplaced. Levy composed “Clandestino (Elegy for a Cheesemonger)” in honor of Anne Saxelby, a champion of artisanal American cheeses whom he had met at her store in New York, and who had died of a coronary heart situation in 2021 at 40. 

The transcription right here is predicated on a model, accessible on Levy’s Bandcamp page, that the guitarist recorded on his Waterloo WL-S Deluxe. “Clandestino” begins with a playful single-note determine drawn from the D main pentatonic scale (D E F# A B), adopted by a collection of damaged sixths. This part displays the vibe that Saxelby projected in her unique store on New York’s Decrease East Facet. “Her vitality was all the time vivid and welcoming,” Levy says, “in order that advised the opening theme.”

Levy misplaced contact with Saxelby when he moved to Los Angeles in 2013, and within the years that adopted, she grew her enterprise exponentially whereas elevating a household. That interval was the inspiration for the primary physique of the composition, the place in bars 5–8 Levy shifts an open D minor chord form in opposition to an open D pedal tone, arriving at a collection of placing harmonies. Levy says, “Although I didn’t know her then, it appears her life was wealthy and storied—therefore the colourful chords.”

Levy needed to keep away from any sense of disappointment in “Clandestino,” so to shut the piece (bars 21–24), as an alternative of composing a extra elegiac part, he selected to repeat the opening theme twice. “I’ll all the time keep in mind Anne that manner—as a vivid gentle on the Decrease East Facet, captivated with locavore cheeses,” he says.

For some wonderful lesson options by Adam Levy, see Play Guitar Like the Great Singer-Songwriters, accessible at

As a consequence of copyright restrictions, we’re unable to publish notation or tablature for this musical work. You probably have a digital or bodily copy of the November/December 2022 difficulty of Acoustic Guitar journal, one can find the music on web page 60.

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