Guitar duets are an excellent medium for showing off the potential of the instrument in a variety of styles and genres. A guitar duo also works well for performing arrangements of popular pieces that were composed for other instruments.
Most often a guitar duet will be split with one guitar playing the melody and one performing the accompaniment. This arrangement style has two distinct groupings: either the melody is the more complex part, or the accompaniment is designed for the more accomplished player.
When the melody line in a guitar duet is the simpler part, there is a lot of potential for less experienced players; with the guidance and security of joining a more advanced guitarist, they can perform impressive sounding pieces early on in their study. For budding classical guitarists, Peter Nuttall’s Flexi-Duets and Primary Suites are the perfect solution to finding guitar ensemble pieces that both sound great, and are arranged with beginners in mind.
While more flamenco than classical, the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have built a solid career and following from their compositions and performances that follow this homophonic texture. Fans of the classical guitar sound who are seeking a new challenge should definitely check out Rodrigo’s relentless rhythm playing teamed with Gabriela’s furiously fast melodic runs.
Most pop songs and orchestral pieces arranged for two guitars will follow this format of splitting melody and accompaniment because it just works so well. The repertoire possibilities for guitar duos are vast because so much music can be performed in this way. 8notes offers 80 pieces of free sheet music that range from easy to advanced, across genres of traditional and jazz to classical.
In advanced classical guitar duets the music is more equal and melody parts often cross over and are shared between both players. It is very rare to find long stretches of simple, monophonic lines in either part of these kinds of pieces, and usually both parts will be technically equal. You can find a huge amount of advanced music for two classical guitars from IMSLP.
PlayScore 2 can be used as an accompaniment device when you are learning and practicing guitar duets. PlayScore 2 has built in playback options, which means you can listen to both guitar parts or alter the volume to concentrate on the one you want. While you’re practicing your duet it’s easy to slow the tempo and loop sections, all while following the score on screen. Using PlayScore 2 can help you independently rehearse the musical interaction between you and your guitar duet partner.