Benga Beat

Written for : Solo guitar

Composed in 2011

Published by Doberman – Yppan.








hot-club2Hot Club Francais

Written for : solo guitar

Composed in 2012

Published by Doberman – Yppan








latin-cabaret2Latin Cabaret (Showgirls)

Written for : Guitar Trio

Latin Cabaret (Showgirls) (2005), is a guitar trio with a vibrant Latin jazz feel which was commissioned and recorded by Appassionata on their CD, Let Go – BGS Label. Latin Cabaret conveys the unremitting energy and rhythmic drive of a Brazilian street carnival and the spectacle and glamour of a nightclub cabaret, hence ‘Showgirls’. Also an accomplished pianist, Ryan conceived much of the harmonic material for this piece at the piano.

Melodically the work is based around different permutations of the pentatonic scale whilst for the overall ‘Latin jazz feel’ Ryan cites the music of guitarist Pat Metheny as an inspiration. There are also percussive and improvisational ideas woven into the musical texture and occasional elements of minimalism.


Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).


Scenes from The Wild West


Written for : Solo Guitar

Gary Ryan’s groundbreaking Scenes from The Wild West (2003) for solo guitar is a six movement work that is widely acclaimed as one of the most original and entertaining compositions written for solo guitar in many years.

The suite explores and blends a wide range of techniques used in the many different styles of guitar playing and American music that exist today. There are musical references to steel, slide, plectrum, rhythm, electric and flamenco guitar as well as to the mandolin and banjo, country and western, gospel, jazz, rock, electronic dance music, film soundtracks, classical, TV, nursery rhymes and even incidental music to cartoons!

Scenes from The Wild West portrays the guitar in a new light, transcending the standard guitar repertoire in such a refreshing way that it never fails to entrance audiences.

Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).buy-now-button


Scenes from Brazil

scenes_brazil_scoreWritten for : Solo Guitar

In his next solo guitar work, Scenes from Brazil (2004), Gary Ryan continues his exploration of the sound world of the guitar even further. It’s defining central movement, Junglescape, uses new contemporary techniques for the instrument in such an imaginative and creative way that the listener is transported, via its evocative and vivid soundscape, to the delicate and fragile world of the rainforest.

Ryan uses new guitar sounds to add a stunning programmatic element to the piece, captivating audiences by the magical beauty of the music. By contrast, the two outer movements of Scenes from Brazil, Sugarloaf Mountain and Rio Bay (from the Corcovado) portray the colourful and vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. The samba-like rhythms of Sugarloaf Mountain and the lively bossa-nova section in Rio Bay perfectly balance the esoteric tones of the central movement.

Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).buy-now-button



ryan_generatorbkWritten for : Guitar Duo

Generator (2005) is a guitar duo written for Mark Eden and Chris Stell. In this composition Ryan continues his crusade to redefine the boundaries of the classical guitar by creating an unparalleled ensemble work that never fails to stun audiences.

Ryan’s music, now forming its own distinct genre, dispells the myth of ‘classical’ and ingeniously draws in listeners from all backgrounds due to its eclectic qualities.

In his programme notes Ryan describes the inspiration behind the work which centres around the sounds and rhythms generated by machinery: Silence followed by ‘electric sparks’ create the machine which then comes to life with an ‘unstoppable rhythmic energy, passing through a series of extraordinary sound worlds until eventually the symmetry of malfunction, death and decay brings the piece to extinction’.

buy-now-buttonOther fascinating and diverse influences include electronic music, free running, juggling, obsessive thoughts, cloning, the harmonic series and the blues scale, tribal chanting and the art works of Giger and Escher.

Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).


book1Scenes for Guitar Book 1 – Ten Easy Pieces

Written for : solo guitar

Camden Music Guitar Series (Difficulty level: Beginner 1 – 2)

A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK’s top guitar composers, educators and performers.
A set of ten easy pieces from one of the most popular guitar composers in the world. These pieces bring Ryan’s unique style of writing within the grasp of beginners and early grade students.

Click below to listen to Gary performing each of these pieces.

1. Snake in a Basket
2. Barn Dance
3. Night Sky
4. Black Stallion
5. Lost at Sea
6. Highland Chimes
7. Russian Bear
8. Urban Traffic
9. Caribbean Dance
10. The Old Watermill






book2Scenes for Guitar Book 2 – Eight Intermediate Pieces

Written for : solo guitar

The Camden Music Guitar Series series (Difficulty level: Intermediate)
A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK’s top guitar composers, educators and performers.

A set of eight intermediate pieces from one of the most popular guitar composers in the world. These pieces bring Ryan’s unique style of writing within the grasp of intermediate students.

Click below to listen to Gary performing each of these pieces.

1. A Chill Wind
2. Austin’s Allegro
3. Dark Clouds
4. Golden Days
5. Joie de Vivre
6. Memories of Summer
7. Right Handed Reggae
8. Winter Dream





City Scenes

ryan_cityscenesWritten for : Solo Guitar

City Scenes (2005) is a wonderful three movement suite for solo guitar. Its two outer movements, Rush and Metropolis, depict the vibrance and energy of city life and contrast beautifully with the lyrical central movement, Birds Flew Over the Spire (depicting the classic English scene of swallows flying around a church spire in late summer). Rush opens in a vital five with poly-rhythms, syncopations and a harmonic language reminiscent of music from Cuba and Venezuela whilst Metropolis conveys the non-stop hustle and bustle of a musical ‘city’ where influences combine from many different ages and musical cultures.

As with so many of Ryan’s compositions, this movement is particulary exciting to watch being performed with energetic syncopations, left hand hammered chords, finger clicks, tamboura effects and even the sound of a siren!




Dreams, Rest and Motion

dreamsWritten for : Guitar Duo

Dreams, Rest and Motion (2006) is a guitar duo composed for the Dutch guitar duo, Duolisme. This work has a completely different feel to the dark mechanical world of Generator. It combines different kinds of silence, movement and the gaining of momentum to create a wonderully atmospheric piece which portrays the varying stages of dreams and sleep. Indeed the piece often has dream-like qualities, notably at the beginning and end and there are moments where the music suddenly ‘rests’, creating different atmospheres of silence.

After the stillness of the opening the piece gradually builds up momentum through a series of increasingly elaborate improvistory melodies played over a syncopated accompaniment. Ryan then ingeniously builds the music up to an almost carnival-like atmosphere before finally returning to the rest and silence of the introduction implying that all that has been heard may have simply been a

Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).


Songs for Erin

ryan_erinbkWritten for : Solo Guitar

Songs from Erin (2007) is a shorter, two movement work for guitar commissioned by Rebecca Baulch and inspired by Ryan’s visits to Ireland. Ryan explores different tunings for the guitar in these pieces, making the instrument sound reinvigorated, idiomatic and resonant in new ways. Out of Clonmel has an energetic flavour reflective of Irish folk music, the melody being decorated with ornaments which imitate those played on the pipe or whistle.

Lough Caragh is more contemplative and influenced by the traditional Irish ballad. It depicts a beautifully tranquil lake west of Killarney in County Kerry and reflects Ryan’s love of the incredible scenery and atmosphere of south-west Ireland.






Play Piazzolla – Easy Guitar Arrangements by Gary Ryan

Written for : Solo Guitar

Play Piazzolla is a unique collection of 13 tangos by the Argentinian master of tango nuevo, arranged for solo guitar. The pieces have been skilfully arranged by Gary Ryan so that this wonderfully vibrant music can be easily enjoyed by intermediate guitar players.

Artisane – Ausencias – Chanson de la naissance – El viaje – Los suenos – Milonga for Three – Vuelvo al sur – Milonga – Mumuki – Ouverture (1) – Ouverture (2) – Sensuel – Tango final







Written for : Guitar Duo

In Bazaar (2008), Ryan takes his exploration of new guitar techniques to a further dimension, producing a highly original duo work which is again totally different to standard repertoire. The work is for two guitars with a pre-recorded electronic loop station and features the use of specific objects to create percussive effects akin to the ‘prepared’ piano of the 1960s. Among the objects used are a tuning fork, spoons, pencils and ping pong balls!

The title of the piece refers to the way the two guitars ‘barter’ with one another, exchanging and repeating material in the manner of a busy market stall holder and his customer. Bazaar makes extensive use of the diminished or octotonic scale to create an Eastern flavour in the music which is interspersed with four ‘still interludes’ representing ‘calls to prayer’. It is exciting and intoxicating to perform, watch and listen to, leaving the audience spellbound by its entrancing powers.

Click here to view Gary’s programme notes (pdf).



TCL Guitar Grade 5

Trinity Guildhall Music Examination Repertoire

Written for : Solo guitar

Gary Ryan also composes extremely popular student repertoire.

The following pieces are listed in the current Trinity Guildhall Guitar Syllabus:

Cat Burglar

Grade 1
Day of the Match

Habanera Era

Grade 3
Banjo Bill

Grade 5
Birds Flew Over the Spire (from City Scenes)

Grade 6
Los Suenos (from Play Piazzolla arr. Ryan)

Grade 8
Sugarloaf Mountain (from Scenes from Brazil)



Music for the Theatre

Written for : Various

Gary Ryan has composed several electronic scores for theatre including:

The Passion Plays by Michael Punter (Crystal Palace Park, London 1992)

Partridge by Michael Punter (Barons Court Theatre, London 1993) – nominated for a London Fringe Theatre Award

Wolves by Michael Punter (Bridewell Theatre, London 1997)

The Lady of the House of Love by Angela Carter (Horsham Arts Centre, Sussex 1997)

Lebensraum by Horovitz (Kings Head Theatre, London 1998).



Click here to read ‘Gary Ryan on his compositions for guitar’ (pdf).