In this course, we will survey the modern electric guitar repertoire, taking an especially close look at the multiple works in the genre by Tristan Murail, Fausto Romitelli, Richard Barrett, Dai Fujikura, and Pierluigi Billone. Within this context, we will consider the very nature of the genre and its relationship to rock guitar, classical guitar, and contemporary composition at large. Through these comparisons we will draw on the societal role of the electric guitar as an instrument / object. The tone of this course is historical, conceptual, and creative. It is not a course for learning to play guitar (though students will certainly uncover practicalities about the instrument). Rather, we will see how the electric guitar has been utilized in wildly different ways by contemporary composers. Classes will consist of active listening, discussion, and score-study. Assignments will take the form of brief prose responses to different works and prompts. The culmination of this course is a final project: a short, original electric guitar composition.
A background in music, the ability to read standard notation and/or tablature is helpful. However, no specific experience is required. Many of the compositions we will analyze are non-traditionally notated. Students (especially those without a formal music background) are free to approach composition in this manner too. As such, students of various disciplines are welcome and should contact the instructor with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Josel, Seth, and Ming Tsao The Techniques of Guitar Playing Bärenreiter