What is the Main Objective of the DOS Amigos Homepage?
By means of this web site I want to provide free sheet music for classical guitar (solo, duo and ensemble) for the international classical guitar community. I have played almost every piece on this web site myself (I have been playing the guitar for well over thirty-five years now). 😉 Obviously, this does not mean that I am able to play them perfectly without any preparation. During this time, I made my own sheet music versions without markings and fingerings (that’s policy) and I found it a good idea to share this collection.
Do you have more objectives with the site?
Yes, I do. Here are a few:
- Provide some information about my musical adventures and publications.
- Writing stories about the guitar CDs that I like.
- Placing recordings of pieces that I play on the net.
- Maintain links to guitar- and writing resources on the Internet.
How long does the DOS Amigos Homepage exist?
I started my first version of the DOS Amigos Homepage in 1998. Internet was new for me and a training course HTML for my job as technical author provided a perfect opportunity to play with new technology.
In those days, my Internet Service Provider granted me a full Five Megabytes web space from which the large email attachments were subtracted. It was a bit of squeezing to get the information in place.
Now I have 75 GB under an own domain name, which is quite sufficient for a large size website, enabling me to submit a lot of MP3s to play the over 800 pieces. In the old days, I had to use MIDI files for that purpose, with worst case a thin can sound. Now it is better. Using the Sibelius sounds it at least remotely resembles a guitar sound.
Where does the name DOS Amigos come from?
The name comes from the guitar duo of the same name which consisted of the guitarist Hans Oosterwal and Mark de Gooijer, which is me, the undersigned. This duo existed for fifteen years until -very unfortunately- the end came in August 2007.
In the early days of the duo, Hans and I made our arrangements with the good old Musicator score writing software under Windows 3.11. Yes, the computer Stone Age: DOS and Windows! Consequently, we spent quite some time behind the screen, apart from our weekly rehearsals. The awareness of our fiddling with DOS plus the fact that we formed a musical duo based on mutual friendship were the reason for our name: DOS Amigos!
Despite the fact that the guitar duo is defunct, its name still is a household word. That’s why I have continued the web site under the name DOS Amigos. Just the slogan has changed: DOS Amigos: dos Guitarras changed into DOS Amigos: La Guitarra y Yo! (Two Friends: The Guitar and I!). This is an apparent truth for me as a solo player and amateur guitarist.
How many times the DOS Amigos Homepage has been remade?
Well, it has been seven times by now.
I started in 1998 with a frame layout. Those were the days that Netscape was the most popular browser, and its frame support was pretty good. In the end frames appeared a bit unpractical, it was almost impossible to obtain a consistent layout. So, I redesigned the site, using a fixed table layout. That worked much better.
After six years with the same good old layout, it started to itch a bit with me. I saw all those new technologies for web sites and became interested. I started to experiment with content management system driven websites under Joomla and Drupal, but found that I should make a less spectacular technological leap, using a table-less layout with Cascaded Style Sheet technology.
Of course, this was not without problems. Read the story about the browser quirks for some amusement!
Six years later (it looks like a ‘six-year itch’) I tried to rework the site again. Joomla failed me again, all this database stuff got out of reach for me, so I updated the site layout and graphics and included breadcrumb navigation. Quite a job with almost 2000 articles! Later on, I updated all MIDI files to MP3 files.
Now, in 2017, I decided to experiment with the WordPress platform with translation and management plugins. My provider supports it, so why not. I use a fixed theme that is clearly readable on computers, tablets and Smartphones. Yet I still have a personal approach in styling the pages. It was quite a job with about 3000 HTML pages and over 1300 media files.
Unfortunately, the WordPress exercise appeared to be a dead end as a consequence of unreliable plugins that wrecked the site on updates. So, I was back to hard coding again. Well, anyway the layout is fresh now and the structure has changed for the better.
After two years, after good experiences with a WordPress blog, I decided to use the WordPress platform again, because management is much easier. With a minimalistic layout, the DOS Amigos Homepage is now also easy to follow on Tablet and Smartphone.
However, WordPress continued to evolve, forcing me to rebuild the entire site. With a new theme with some useful functions, I hope to be future-proof again.
What will you find on this Site?
The options in the top menu bar already give a clue of the information you can find on this web site. In brief, you will find the following in the DOS Amigos Homepage:
- A section Allsorts with this FAQ, the history of the guitar duo DOS Amigos, CD stories, little reviews of guitar CDs that I like and special items.
- Music for Solo guitar, from Renaissance to the first half of the twentieth century. If available, the sheet music is in PDF format. Every piece has a MP3 file which you can play to get an impression of the piece.
- Music for guitar Duo, from Renaissance to Rock. This is the repertoire of the now defunct Guitar Duo DOS Amigos. Here you will find the PDF files of the sheet music (if available) and the MP3 files for playback.
- Music for guitar Ensemble, a mixed bag. Here you will find some music for three and four guitars and some material for ensembles like flute and guitar and voice and guitar. Again here the sheet music and MP3 audio.
- The Recordings that I made of a few guitar pieces.
- The column Guitarities: tips, tricks and stories about the guitar.
- Mark’s, my private department with information about my musical publications, my writing hobby and my publishing house.
- Archives, a dig into the past. Here you will find the old guitar festival reports.
The larger part of the DOS Amigos Homepage is dedicated to sharing music for free.
The guitar method by Aaron Shearer, the well-known American guitar pedagogue, states that the major goal for the guitar student is sharing music, i.e. performing it for other people. This brings you outside (the protection of) study and the small circle of friends and relatives, but makes your effort in learning to play quite useful: your music may move, enjoy, astonish or even exasperate other people (of course I hope that the latter will not happen to you).
You can share the music you are playing in another way as well: providing the sheet music enables others to play the music and -if desired- share it at their turn. That is exactly the intention of the DOS Amigos Homepage, be it restricted to music in the Public Domain. This applies to folk and traditional music and to classical music of composers who lived before 1938.
If I expect that there is some kind of copyright involved for a specific piece, you will be able to play it, but the sheet music is not there. As a service and a gesture to the composer/publisher I will mention the source and if known the publication number. This enables you to buy the music if you like it.
All the music on this site forms a bit of a history. I have been playing the guitar for well over forty years. The larger part of the solo material on this site I have played myself. Here you will find the classical pieces only, the popular material I have been playing is not included in this web site. The guitar duo music forms the history of 15 years of repertoire of the Guitar Duo DOS Amigos. The Ensemble music is played by the Guitar Circle, and some pieces come from attempts to form an ensemble with another instrument than the guitar.
The top menu is the main navigational tool to access the major segments of the site. Depending on your device, desktop, tablet or Smartphone, this menu is visible or hidden behind a hamburger menu button. To make navigation easier, I’ve added a breadcrumb trail.
I provide deeper navigation with local menus and buttons. For instance, within a smaller music segment like Renaissance within the Solo section, I will include a composer’s menu. In the composer page, there will be a submenu for the biography and the pieces. So, every composer has a number of pages. In addition, each major section has an index page listing all of the pieces contained therein. You can link directly to them. Note that you will then miss the composer information.
To quickly scroll to the top menu, an arrow button appears on the right with which you can scroll up in one go.