for guitar ensemble

was written for members of the Glendale Community College Guitar Ensemble, the Arizona State University Guitar Ensemble, the Tucson Guitar Society, and the Bolton Guitar Program at University of Arizona, for the 2024 Oh My Ears Instrumental Choir Concert.

This piece is based on three ideas:

1.     The motion of sound in space. By surrounding the audience with the guitar ensemble, and precisely coordinating gestures with video-scores on performers’ cellphones, it is possible to create an immersive and highly dynamic listening experience.

2.     Microtonality. Half of the guitars are tuned ¼ tone sharp to achieve a colorful harmonic language based on different overtone series.

3.     Inclusivity. The piece can be performed by any number of guitarists of any level. Performers may choose from a variety of different gestures ranging in difficulty, allowing from absolute beginners to advanced performers to all play together.

The piece was crafted with harmonies based off of four different overtone series, each sharing at least one common partial with the others. At the beginning, the right side of the ensemble is based off of an E overtone series, and the left side off of an F ¾-sharp overtone series. Halfway through the piece, the right side changes to a G-sharp overtone series, and the left side to a B ¼-flat overtone series. Near the end, I explore some dense microtonal clusters before a coda that explores harmonically-indeterminate timbral gestures (plucking above the fingerboard and plucking between the left hand and the nut of the guitar). All of these materials move across the performance space based on a video-score that the performers watch during performance in order to coordinate their gestures.

Thank you to Bill Clay for inviting me to write this piece, to Oh My Ears, and to Chuck Hulihan, Martha Masters and Jose Puertas.

Listen to the world premiere here:

    ︎  ︎  ︎ oeiop!