Monday, July 22, 2013


Hello, friends and fellow guitarists:

I am a professional guitar player, and am proud to say that I am well known and highly respected, among musicians, in the Chicago area.  I have enjoyed a rather eclectic musical life.

   From 1959 to 1970, I was a member of the American Broadcasting Company Staff of Musicians in Chicago. During my 56 years of playing professionally, I have performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (both as a classical guitar player and as a Pop and Jazz guitar player), the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Chamber Consortium, the Chicago Chamber Choir, the Music Of the Baroque ensemble, and numerous orchestras in accompanying ballet performances.  On some occasions I perform on the classical guitar; on others, I play some form of Pop or Jazz guitar.

  I have performed on thousands of recordings for Radio and Television commercials.  Besides enjoying a wide range of musical activity with the classic Guitar I also play a wide variety of "fretted", stringed instruments.

  Recent album recordings on which I have performed include: (1) Embrace the Wind, REALMUSIC cassette and CD, solo classic guitar and clarinets, playing the music of composer, Larry Wendt), (2) Three Penny Opera Suite / Kurt Weill, JOHNSON digital CD, recorded by the Chicago Pro Musica (an ensemble of players from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and (3) Monteverdi Vespers Of the Blessed Virgin, digital CD, recorded by the Music Of the Baroque ensemble.  In 1995Patrick Ferreri and flautist, Arthur Lauer, recorded a duo CD album, entitled Debussy, de Falla, Delightful, which is available on the REALMUSIC label. The album features duets, which range from the music of J. S. Bach to that of Claude Debussy. All of the transcriptions featured on the album were made by myself, and some are published by Ferreri Publications.

  Most recently, I recorded my own solo guitar album on which I play the classic (nylon-string, finger-style) guitar in my own Jazz arrangements of and improvisations on old standard love songs. The album is entitled, “Expressions of Love,” and is available on the Internet at and as individual tune downloads at  The album has received a rave review in Just Jazz Guitar magazine.

  You are visiting an unusual Blog site.  I am possibly the only professional musician who is not interested in becoming famous. I never have.  My interests have always centered on being a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.  Music is what I use to accomplish that goal.

  That being said let me add that I love music.  I spend most of the day practicing, arranging, analyzing, writing manuals about, and listening to music.  I have never understood the drive that other people have towards fame.  I do understand the drive to earn enough money to feed a family, buy a nice home, put kids through college, take nice vacations, and retire comfortably, however.

  If you love music, as I do, and would like to learn more about composing, arranging, transcribing and improvising – from a guitar player’s standpoint – you have come to the right place.  If you are mainly interested in Show Business, fame and fortune, I can’t help you there; sorry.  But, you must know that there are plenty of other blogs and websites that can help you with that goal.

 Today, I am going to begin an experiment that I hope you guitar players will like.  I am going to present a small portion of music theory that you will be able to apply easily to many of your own guitar arrangements – whether you use your guitar as a solo instrument or as accompaniment to yours or someone else’s singing. If I get even one person to respond favorably to this first offering, I will continue to create more blogs indefinitely.

  First, allow me to explain what my blogs will be all about.  As I see it, there is music and then there is show business.  In some cases, the two seem to be intermixed – but they really are not.  When I refer to “music,” I am referring to the aesthetics of music; music that reaches one’s sense of art, beauty, and abstract sensibilities. Such music has nothing to do with fame, fortune or entertainment.  The music that I am referring to is deeper than all of that, and has a value that relatively few people understand.

   Show Business concerns dress, appearance, show, spectacle, and all of those things that are aside from music itself.  Are any or all of these extra-musical considerations important?  Of course they are to anyone who wants to make a living, or become wealthy and famous in music, but they are not relevant to music itself.

  My blogs are for those of you who love the aesthetics of music, and who feel driven to learn how to arrange, compose, transcribe, and improvise.

 Each bit of theory will appear in regular notation and in tablature.  I am including tablature in order to attract those of you who use it, and who might find the regular notation too daunting.  My sincere hope, however, is to convince all of you who prefer to read tablature that you simply must learn how to read music if you want to make your own arrangements and not merely play mine.  After all, you presently have to at least study the regular notation in order to obtain hints as to how to the time values that are not shown in the tablature, don’t you? I promise you that your transition to using regular notation will be so painless that, in a short time, you will wonder why you ever resisted it.

OK, so here we go with the first lesson.  This one deals with what I call the “Substitute Dominant.”

The Substitute Dominant

  The first thing that I am going to do is to skip ahead to the finish line, and give you a harmonic principle that you can apply immediately.  Then, after you have it working for you, I recommend that you calmly and diligently apply yourself to learning the theory, behind the harmonic principle.  Please understand that the theory is just as important, and in many ways more important, than the harmonic device itself.  It is only through your coming to understand the theory that you will not only learn how to apply this device, but to build upon it, expand it, and discover additional devices on you own.

Example 1 illustrates the Dominant 7th  (V7) (
G7) chord resolution to the Tonic chord (I) (C) in the key of C major. 

   Example 2 shows you how to find the so-called “root” of the Subsitute Dominant 7th  chord.  By descending a Perfect 4th, from the root (G), to obtain the 5th of the  G7 chord, and then lowering that 5th by a chromatic semi-tone, we come first to D, and then to D.  That D then serves as the root of a D7 chord which can be used as a substitute for G7.  That’s how it works; determine the diminished 5th (flatted 5th) of any Dominant Seventh chord, and you can use it as the root of its “Substitute Dominant” chord (ii7).

  This chord can be used as a substitute for G7 any time the melody note that is a B or an F.  If the melody note is G, that would mean that a D+11 used aswould have to be used.  If the melody were an A, no problem: it’s in the chord.  The only instance in which this chord sounds  a bit too modern is when the melody note is D, so, for now, avoid that use.

  You may notice that the D7 chord has an augmented 6th (B), which is enharmonic to the chord's 7th (C♭).  This is typical of so-called " Substitute Dominant 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th chords, and I will explain why in a future posting.   In the next installment, I will give you the theory behind this device,  You will need to know the theory in order to apply it more successfully, and more often.  You will also need to be shown how it can be modified, augmented and expanded in such a way that will allow you to discover many other important points of applied theory on your own.  By fully understanding the theory, you will also be able to apply your knowledge to songs and melodies in any and all keys and modes.  That is a worthy goal, and one that is far better than to have you simply playing my arrangements.  I am not seeking to create clones of myself; I would like to help others find their own style and voice.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Good News/Bad News

News sometimes comes with two sides to it; as with the current abundance of jokes, there is the bad news, and then there is the good news. The Law of Compensation seems to manifest itself everywhere, even in humor. Some aspects of the guitar, which make it a relatively easy instrument to play also make it a difficult instrument on which to sight-read, compose or transpose. This is because, unlike keyboard instruments, not all types of chords and chord voicings are attainable on the fingerboard of a single guitar. The guitar has, like all other instruments, its own inherent limitations; those limitations, along with its possibilities, must be fully understood in order to compose or arrange music that puts the guitar in its greatest light.

The "good news," regarding the guitar, is that it is a chromatic instrument; therefore, any chord form, scale form, or melodic figure that is played in a lower position, and which does not involve any open strings, can be shifted up the fingerboard, utilizing the same pattern of fingering and string involvement, to obtain as many half-step higher transpositions as the practical range of the fingerboard will allow. The "bad news" is that, by doing so, one can easily fall into the trap of playing those transpositions without really understanding them, i.e. without fully grasping what notes are being played, what each note's relationship is to the key and chord involved, and how the tones should look on score paper. This apparent "ease," and the pitfalls it engenders, is no doubt the reason why some guitar players end up being such poor sight readers, or shall I say “terrified” sight readers.

Consider the duties of the keyboard players, on the other hand, who are required to think about all kinds of theoretical considerations, in order to effect a similar series of transpositions. Keyboards are diatonic in design, and so arranged to make playing in the keys of C Major and A Minor the physically "easiest" of all. Each of the remaining major and minor keys all require one to dig one’s hands in, and angle one's wrists a bit, in order to reach the smaller black keys. In playing a scale, the point at which one must sneak the thumb underneath the fingers, to reach the next natural note (key) is slightly different for each key. The use of chromatically raised, or lowered, embellishing notes only serves to further complicate matters. Any kind of scale, played in octaves, with two hands, requires a different pattern of fingering for each hand, simply because the left hand thumb is to the right, while the right hand thumb is to the left. Guitar players do not have this complication with which to to deal.

On a keyboard, even those who play by ear cannot transpose a scale, chord or melody without having to think about the actual notes being played. They also must think about voicing, since they have no "movable chord forms" such as we guitar players have. The piano player's "bad news" is that he must think and work hard; his "good news" is that he becomes a relatively more accomplished musician (than perhaps most guitar players) in the process.

The best advice I can give to a student of the guitar is to slow down and name each note as (s)he plays it. It is also wise to name the chords, name their relationship to the key, identify their voicing and inversion, identify the intervals involved, etc. It is best to avoid the temptation of racing through one's scales, etudes, exercises or pieces. No real benefit comes from merely dazzling one's peers with amazing speed and dexterity. Do not allow the "good news" (the chromatic ease of the guitar fingerboard) to become the very thing that cheats you out of becoming an accomplished, guitar-playing musician.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10, 2010

Hello, friends and music lovers:

My CD album, Expressions Of Love, is the product of a dream that was postponed for many years as I strove to earn a living in music, and provide for my family. I have earned my living as a professional guitar player since the age of fourteen. I named my record label Rosa-Turi after my paternal, Sicilian grandparents, Rosa and Turi (short for Sarvaturiddu and Turiddu).

In arranging the music of my CD, I strove to weed out any arranged or improvised phrases, fills, ornaments, harmonic concepts, and rhythmic feels that simply did not reflect my personal style. Having performed on thousands of recordings for radio and television commercials, record dates and industrial films, where I was required to sound like other guitar players, I had almost forgotten what my own style was. Most of the time I was asked to imitate some other guitarist of fame and fortune.

My arrangements and improvisations on this CD feature my own harmonizations involving lots of chromatic chord progression, and a good deal of informal counterpoint. Much of it is performed ad libitum, and some of it swings a tempo. This CD represents only a portion of my musical accomplishments, and was indeed a labor of love. I plan to create more CD’s; some of them will involve my plectrum Jazz guitar playing.

I have always been more interested in the aesthetics and beauty of music itself, than in the show business aspects of performance, applause and fame. After working so many years, and so hard, to please arrangers, producers, band leaders and orchestra conductors, I now wish to please only myself – and any listeners for whom I perform. So far, this is the very best part of my musical career; I feel liberated, uplifted and inspired. I hope you will feel my celebration of life, and my appreciation of beautiful melodies, as you listen to my Expressions Of Love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Patrick Ferreri explains his CD album

Hello, fellow guitar enthusiasts:

Perhaps you can identify with me. At the age of eleven, I took up the steel-string, plectrum guitar – playing Pop music, Country and Western, and Folk music. I was soon smitten by improvised Jazz and beautifully arranged music in the Jazz idiom. That is what hooked me on arranging, and my life has been a never-ceasing quest to improve my arranging skills. In addition to my love of performing Jazz, and arranging it, I love to teach it. Sharing my knowledge is something I do happily – because that is what I have experienced in dealing with my teachers and my cohorts, all of my musical life. I am currently working upon a series of eight manuals that deal with the subjects of arranging, composing and improvising – for guitar players, specifically.

At the age of nineteen, I took up the classic guitar, and became a pupil of the famed teacher, Richard Pick. My original goal was to use the classic guitar to hone my knowledge and skills in contrapuntal arranging and improvising textures. Little did I know, at that time, that I would become enthralled with the classic guitar itself, and its available repertoire.

After devoting many years to creating classic guitar, classic guitar and flute, classic guitar and violin, etc., transcriptions of classical music, I finally re-turned my full attention to Jazz guitar arranging. I arranged, performed, recorded, mixed and produced my own CD album of Old Standard love songs. My album is entitled, Expressions of Love, and is available on the Internet at CD Baby, and Digstation. If you give it a listen, I am sure that you will recognize my deep appreciation of these tunes, and hear the influences that classical music have made upon my arranging style. My record label is called “Rosa-Turi,” named after my Sicilian, paternal grandparents, Rosa and Sarvaturiddu (Salvatorello in Italian).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Patrick Ferreri, Classical and Jazz Guitarist in Chicago

I took my first guitar lesson in 1950, at the age of eleven. Three years later, I began playing at wedding receptions, banquets, birthday parties, etc., as I continued my studies. I've made my living by playing the guitar, ever since. From the age of 13 to 18, I studied Jazz guitar with George Allen (teacher of most of the guitar players in the Chicago area who can read music, follow a conductor, and improvise in a wide variety of styles). From age 18 to 29, I was a staff musician at the American Broadcasting Company radio and television studios inChicago.

At the age of 19, I became a pupil of Richard Pick, Chicago's foremost teacher of the classic guitar, composer, and author of many materials for the classic guitar. I studied with Mr. Pick for many years, and performed many duo guitar concerts with him prior to his retirement from public performance. From age 29 to the present, I have been a studio musician -- performing in recording studios where music for radio and television commercials is recorded. I also play in many ballet, theatre, and stage show orchestras.

During the 44 years that I have worked in recording studios, I have often performed (as an "extra," and not as a star performer) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Music of the Baroque ensemble, the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend(Indiana) Symphony Orchestra, and many other ensembles.

I may play Classical music one day, Jazz the next, Country and Western the next, and so on. I still do such work, and will never retire (as long as my fingers and mind continue to function.) When I perform with orchestras, I sometimes play the classic guitar. For "Pops Concerts," I play the arched-top, electronically amplified Jazz guitar and/or tenor banjo. For commercial recordings, I play the guitar (in almost all of its many forms), the Renaissance lute, the electric fretted bass, the mandolin, the mandola, the mandocello, the banjo, the Russian balalaika, the Greek bouzouki, and the ukelele. I tune all of these instruments as they were designed to be tuned, and I read music in all clefs. On some jobs I must sight-read music, on some I am required to improvise on tunes that I know, and on others I must play "by ear." I enjoy my musically eclectic life. I chose it. It has allowed me to be a devoted and attentive husband, father, and grandfather, while also being a musician.

As a professional musician, I have learned many things concerning music, both as an art and as a career. Perhaps some of my observations may be of value to those who are about to begin a career in guitar playing. I have published a few essays, regarding my insights, and they are available to you from Ferreri Publications.