Guitar-violin/piano duets (in particular waltzes/dances) and advice for accompaniment

Edited: July 15, 2018, 12:25 PM · My family is planning a get-together for a bunch of friends and acquaintances (about thirty-forty people) to be held at a community hall. They are going to have some of the friends who are musicians play. These include a couple of vocalists, guitarists, pianists, and myself (violinist and pianist).
I don't think they really care what they/we play. It's basically a free-for-all. But I'd really like to perform something with the guitarists (there's two; one is also a pianist), and maybe a vocalist depending, hence the point of this thread.
One is more country and light rock, while the other one is open to pretty much any genre (I think classical and jazz are his favorites). Both are at least at intermediate level (as am I). That said, I'm not certain yet if I will collaborate with the latter guitarist, for personal reasons. But just for the sake of argument, I'll include two guitars in the combinations below.
A lot of people have mentioned how they enjoy dancing and would love more events that include dancing. So I'd really like to perform a few dances/waltzes.
I'm having a bit of difficulty finding any that are suitable. I will continue to look, but if you happen to know of something you think would be appropriate, I'd appreciate it if you shared it!
So here are the combinations:
• One violin, two guitars
• One piano, two guitars
• One piano, one violin, and one guitar
• Unaccompanied violin (and possibly one guitar/piano)
• Unaccompanied piano (and possibly one guitar)
It doesn't matter the genre, but I'd really like to be more accompaniment than the soloist on the violin for at least a couple of them. I'll be accompanying them on the piano (which is a given for that instrument).
It also doesn't matter the quantity of pieces. Five would be perfectly all right. I don't know if many people would want to dance after that amount, anyway (most are older and/or physically weak).
If you have links to the sheet music/tabulation for all parts, please share those, as well, if possible.
Also, do you have any tips for accompanying and playing with other musicians? This is my first time experimenting with accompaniment, and the previous times I've attempted duets, they've failed. So, I'm hoping this will be a bit different, because I'm planning to actually rehearse with the guitarists. I played with them before on a casual occasion rather spontaneously, so we agreed that the next time we tried, we'd rehearse first. Anyway, any experiences and advice you have would be well appreciated!
I don't know when it will be (it may not even be this year), so there isn't a rush, thankfully. I'm hoping enough time will lapse so that my vibrato might be more proficient than what it is right now.
Thanks in advance!

Replies (11)

Edited: July 14, 2018, 7:32 PM · Check out Ashokan Farewell and The Lovers' Waltz, both by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Easy, accessible.

ETA we used the latter for our first dance at our wedding! And I've played the former at church, open mike night, and even a memorial service for a friend.

July 15, 2018, 12:24 PM · I personally don't like Ashokan Farewell, but I just listened to The Lover's Waltz and it's quite beautiful. Thanks:)
Edited: July 16, 2018, 3:25 PM · You might not like Ashokan Farewell, and that's fine, truly it is. But I have to tell you this story. I played a standard 3-hour jazz gig at a hotel bar with two other guys, with a trio comprising violin (me), guitar, and percussion. The other two guys are local pros. We play 90% Brazilian tunes -- mostly jazz with improv, some quasi-classical stuff. Guitarist decided he needed to make a pit stop (because he guzzles green tea nonstop all day), so I took to noodling on my violin, and out came Ashokan Farewell. By the time I got to the bridge, the woman sitting at the closest table was in tears. When she and her husband left a little while later, they dropped a 20 in the tip jar, and in my area that is something that NEVER happens. Just sayin'.

Paganini Cantabile has guitar accompaniment too. That's a very "accessible" kind of classical-genre tune.

July 16, 2018, 7:18 PM · Thank you, Paul, for the story and the suggestion. I must have mistaken Ashokan Farewell for something else. After your comment, I was curious and looked it up on YouTube. It is quite lovely, and there's an arrangment for violin, guitar, and piano.
As a side note, I'm curious about Katie's comment of performing it at church and for a memorial. Does it happen to be religious, or did you choose it for its sad, melancholy element for those occasions?
July 16, 2018, 9:56 PM · It's not a religious piece. It's very popular though and I guess you could call it melancholy. I bet it is requested at memorials with some regularity.
July 20, 2018, 8:41 PM · It's apparently unheard of or impossible for violin to be the accompaniment for guitar, or piano, which I guess I knew but hoped it wouldn't be the case...alas. I'm going to compose at least one for the occasion. I've never composed for guitar before, and I rarely compose for piano. But I don't see how difficult it can be, given I already play the piano and I can always ask the guitarists if it makes sense to them or not. Though I don't know if one of them can read sheet music; he may simply read tabulation, or learn by ear. Hmm.
Does anyone know the composer of this:
Edited: July 24, 2018, 2:02 PM · Take a look at the "Fake Books". They are written as melody lines with chord charts. Any decent guitarist can play off of chord charts, and the format allows for some improvisation by both the violin and guitar. The jazz standards and Latin/Brazilian tunes are a good choice.
July 28, 2018, 11:40 PM · How experienced are you as a violinist? I have a version of Sarasate's "Romanza Andalaluza," Op. 22, No. 1, arranged for violin and guitar. The solo violin part is quite challenging (in the doublestop section). If you have another violinist, I also have the solo part divided into a duet for easier playing.
July 29, 2018, 7:41 AM · Margaret's Waltz
Midnight on the Water
Donegal Mazurka
Down Longford Way
Will Ye Go Lassie?
Ye Banks and Braes
Elliot Finn MacDonald
The Rowan Tree
Michael's Mazurka
Bytt-Lasses Brudmarsch

... thousands of them, really

Of course you need to run through things a couple of times, at least.

While the piano is playing the melody, either the violin can sit out (rest), or play chords with a groove, or weave a low counter line with lots of spaces where the melody is busy.

Every guitar player can comp tunes like this (chords in a groove, melodic runs, bass runs to link chords. They know this stuff.)

Have fun.

Play a few while people are arriving, and play for at least two brackets of dances.

July 30, 2018, 4:35 AM · Personally I really enjoy Shostakovich Waltz Number 2, it's really quite straightforward but it sounds nice to my ear.
July 30, 2018, 2:37 PM · Thank you!
Joel Quivey, I will look at those, thanks.
Joel Jacklich I can play Monti's Czardas fairly decently, though I do have some difficulty with the double stops, quick notes, shifting, etc. I've listened to the Sarasate before, but I'm not too familiar with it, so I'll have to listen to a performance on YouTube.
I don't know a violinist in the area. My aunt is a total beginner, so that isn't really an option.
Graeme, thanks for the list!
Peter, I agree. I love the Second Waltz. I'm learning it on the piano, though I'm having a bit of difficulty with the octaves, as I have smaller hands.

I'm still planning to compose a couple, though haven't gotten any further yet than choosing a key.

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