In this course, we will survey the modern classical guitar repertoire, taking an especially close look at the multiple works in the genre by Mauricio Kagel, Jason Eckardt, Brian Ferneyhough, Astor Piazzolla, Elena Mendoza, Ming Tsao, Franco Donatoni, and Clara Maida. Within this context, we will consider the very nature of the genre and the instrument's relationship to the electric guitar, vernacular music, and contemporary composition at large. Through these comparisons we will draw on the societal role of the classical 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 classical 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 classical 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 F., Ming, Tsao, The Techniques of Guitar Playing Bärenreiter