Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two Sections For Guitar

     Two Sections For Guitar  by  Euphiophone

We're planning on launching a series on the SSTN site about different approaches to guitar playing, both in terms of compositional approach and differing methods of extracting sound using extended playing techniques or effects processing.

This reminded me of a piece I wrote while studying in Trinity so I dug it out for some bloggy goodness.

Below are a few wee extracts from the spiel I had to write for it (leaving out, hopefully, the more boring technical aspects).
In order to generate the material for my piece I used a process similar to that used in Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. I wrote a number of different figures that were to be played together. However, it was of no importance that they were played in sequence. I wrote two sections, and within each section there was a number of parts which the performers were allowed to choose, at their own disgression, which of them to play and for how long to repeat each one. They were also encouraged to stop playing if they wanted, as long as it was for the duration of a phrase, or a multiple of that duration, so that they would still be in sync when they came back in. The only restriction to what they played was that they had to fill up approximately two minutes of time. Therefore, similar to ‘In C’ there is an element of improvisation, but it is improvisation within a pre-defined framework of pre-written parts. Each of the the players performed their part in isolation to each other, never hearing what anyone else was playing. The only sound available to the guitarist was a steady simple 4/4 beat played with a kick, snare and high-hat combination, which I later removed. 
I edited their parts so that there was more of a linear build in the dynamic in section one, going more or less from quiet to loud. However, section two was left exactly as performed by the players with no rearrangement by me in post-production. This section has a much more constant pulse and therefore lent itself quite easily to the nature of the collaborative playing of the players.
In post-production I also added in some percussion parts. The original source sounds were obtained by recording myself striking the body of the guitar and scraping or plucking muted strings.
I collaborated with the players regarding the ‘sound’ of the guitar. I encouraged them to be adventurous with the different types of sound manipulation they had at their disposal through their selection of pedals and the capabilities of tonal adjustment on their guitars. If I thought it was wildly not in keeping with the tone of the piece I would tell them, or else we would just go with it.


F said...

Hey, this was pretty interesting.

Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough, but I think there's a real lack of technical analysis of contemporary written for the layman. I suppose a music blog or review site, but it looks at how a band created their sound or why it's good/bad. Instead of what you mostly have of "hey this wonkgazestep band is awesome! check out their myspace".

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