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ProduitsPartitions pour guitareGuitare seuleThe Exchange of Joy

The Exchange of Joy

The Exchange of Joy

Compositeur: TOMMIS Colin

DZ 2767


ISBN: 978-2-89737-684-0 

Guitare seule

36 p.




“But come what sorrow can, It cannot countervail the exchange of joy, That one short minute gives me in her sight.” (Romeo and Juliet, act 2 scene 6.) The inspiration for these 14 pieces has been the people in my life. This music has brought me pleasure to compose and play – I hope these compositions bring the same fulfilment to other guitarists and their audiences. 


A Blackpool Bouquet

This was written for a woman I was courting in Blackpool. I wanted to write something that was tuneful, accessible and easy on the ear, but almost inevitably – the development takes it further than easy listening. She liked it, but opted for a man who didn’t play guitar.


The Happy Couple

The marriage of my friends Michael and Barbara was a happy day and I played this at their wedding ceremony; the opening motif is a setting of the phrase “Michael and Barbara”. It’s a silly piece which would fit into any wedding, even if the couple had different names.


Birthday Boy

Michael turns up again here. Giving people musical presents always spreads happiness around – and what other present can you give, but still keep? 


A Grand Old Man

I was otherwise engaged for my father’s 99th birthday but promised the family I would get there soon to play for him. He died before I did. I wrote this tribute the day he died and played it at his funeral. He was really bad at playing guitar but knew the chord of D7, so I managed to squeeze in a sort of D9 in his memory. I think of him every time I play it.



Bibiche was a flautist I loved. One day I sat down, looked out at the Irish Sea, and wrote this melody for her as an unaccompanied flute piece, (one of many which subsequently followed.) Here is a much fuller composition, based on the original idea. It was premiered by Fiona Harrison at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Stoke D’Abernon, in a concert staged by the European Guitar Teachers Association.


If the Skies Unwind

The melody of a song, written as a warning of the dangers of climate change, was only half the length, and finished in D minor. Bibiche suggested its potential as a guitar composition and it became what we have here. Minor tonality becomes major, but the pathos is unchanged. 


All the Way Home

Joy Nicot Smith is a French chanteuse with a pretty voice and a good ear for an ear worm. I started to work with her as her accompanist and, with her permission, used her tune for this guitaristic and campanella composition.


There is a gallery at Salford Quays, Manchester which houses some of Laurence Stephen Lowry’s paintings. On a freezing February day wandering through it with Bibiche, I was amused at the speed with which people “consume” art. Some walk straight past without even looking whilst others will stand before a painting for 5 or 10 minutes. The different speeds in the piece represent those two behaviours.


For Lovers Ever Run before the Clock

We probably are all familiar with that tingling giddy feeling as a romantic liaison unfolds and this music tries to encapsulate that sense of bubbly excitement such a moment can hold. For lovers ever run before the clock comes from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”


It’s Ragtime, Molly

Denise always enjoyed Scott Joplin, although her dog Molly seemed to sleep through it. The pair got along well and a birthday seemed like an opportunity to celebrate that act of rubbing a wet dog down with a dry towel. It’s more of a gentle rather than a vigorous rub...Molly was getting old.



Manon was a girl on the threshold of adulthood who was taken very suddenly by a mysterious illness whilst on holiday. I could have sent her mum a card of sympathy, but this seemed like a more telling gesture.


Ar Lan yr Môr

This is a Welsh folksong in D major, but the accompaniment is set in A minor. The bi-tonal treatment used to unsettle my musical friend Emyr and we were always arguing about how reverential treatments of folksongs should be. Once we put our instruments back in their cases, we got along fine! There’s also a hint of Brazil here; two countries and two tonalities.


The Day She Walked into Powis Hall

Powis Hall is a small concert venue in North Wales where I was scheduled to give a lunchtime recital. One hour too early, my wife-to-be walked in. The following night she walked into a choral concert I was singing in. The coincidence became a life-changing moment (she was also a very good classical guitarist). The opening bars went round and round for years before this finally emerged. It was premiered by Craig Ogden at the Llandudno Festival.


Scarborough Fayre

David Qualey is an American guitarist resident in Germany; I have spent quite a bit of time in his studio and many hours in his company at Haus Harderode drinking beer and laughing. His early compositions and playing were such an inspiration to me and we have become great friends over the years. I didn’t arrange this especially for him, but I recall he loved it for its simplicity. 

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