So, I have a digital score of Stars and Stripes Forever, for piano solo (by the way, poor, as some parts are missing and could be done easily on a piano); but the thing is : the first page (cover) contains a lot of information about the available versions for buying, a lot of sorts... but, there is one which I never saw (while I know "well" these kind of covers and information), it's for "solo guitar".

So I don't understand, I saw a lot of time "guitar/mandolin" and "guitar/banjo" where I can imagine that the guitar was doing the rhythm part, the chords; but here is a "solo guitar" version. Impossible to find more on internet, of course as it ultra rare and possibly was already at the epoque. I wonder if this score was arranged for "finger style" guitar or for a plectrum.

Indeed, fingerstyle guitar was not common at all at this time, the first guys who arranged and played stuff on solo guitar (in my mind) were Blind Blake (cool - and the more complex - rag stuff guitar until BBBroonzy) or Andres Segovia for classic (of course, there was an old fingerstyle tradition for guitar, but the "arrangements" were very rare until Segovia).

So that's it : I'm stuck with this official "solo guitar" version of Stars Forever; but I can imagine it very poor compare to what some masters have done since yet (first was Chet Atkins probably, then Marcel Dadi, then a lot of other players). I just wanted to share my surprise about that with you.

Sorry for my bad English, thank you for reading and have a good evening.


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I saw this guy back in the mid 1980's. Spent the evening with my jaw hanging open:

Sousa's publisher, 'Church' provided arrangements for all kinds of instruments, including banjo, mandolin and zither. I can tell you that the banjo arrangements are pretty awful.

and here are the guitar arrangements in the Library of Congress holdings:

Wao, really I can't belive that you found that. So thank you. I wonder if you have checked "guitar solo" in the option or whatever, cause all seems for solo guitar. That's really amazing and very rare. But I can see that there are not alternates basses or what, it seems very special, and I don't know at all this marches. I wonder what it sounds like; maybe I ll try to play one of them exactly like it's written, cause it's so rare.

I didn't know that Sousa had an official publisher (but maybe a lot of people were working for this man?!).

And this version of Stars by Guy Van Duser is super good and complete. I see that everybody play it in E, and I think they are all right.

Thank you again for these link.


When printed tutors and sheet music for what is now called "classic banjo" first appeared it was called "guitar style" to distinguish it from "stroke style" (down picking). "Guitar style" was chosen because playing guitar with thumb and fingers was something familiar.   Finger style solo guitar is very old and was very common for centuries. This was so all over the Spanish speaking world. And this was even before Fernando Sor began composing for guitar as a concert instrument.    

I simply typed in "Sousa" and "Guitar" in the search box and those are the items that popped up. I really didn't know whether I would get the "solo" or what. I knew the Banjo pieces were there, I just hoped I might find the Guitar versions as well.

As far as I know, Sousa's early publisher was John Church. Later works were published by others.

It would indeed be fun to hear what some of these sound like. "King Cotton" is a wonderful march (and legendary in Sousa lore), as is "Manhattan Beach". "Liberty Bell" is familiar to anyone who's ever seen "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on TV...the theme music.

Ok thanks for your informations to both ! Of course Jody you're right, and this finger style is old,adn first appeared "officially" with O Petrucci in 1501 (Btw the way it's interesting to know that the first ever music printed (that we know) is some lute solo finger style), then stay during.. longtime (passing by baroque, classical, romantique guitar) until ..Eddie Lang, Django, Lonnie Johnson probably ? But I think that in some ragtime and jazz bands from 1900-1920 surely some guitarist used some pick already (for more sound, and just chords accompanements)

And Trapdoor, I finally weel seen that you typed" guitar music", that's a cool idea, these documents are so rare. But I really, I get that these arrangements are very "simple", I surely would prefer doing a personal one. Ok for these Sousa piecew that you refer to, I will check that soon.



Wao thank you so much for this sharing ! That's great, I was thinking it was for guitar, but sadly I feel that the guitar solo version by "Church company" is lost forever ..

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