Electroacoustic Composition – For Guitar

Electroacoustic Composition – For Guitar

This piece is an experiment in improvised electroacoustic composition. Despite having access to recording facilities I chose to use items I had on hand to create a less polished sound, giving a nod to pioneers of electroacoustic music who worked with so much less. I used a secondhand 70’s acoustic guitar, rigging headphones to the body along the cross bracing of the face and inside the sound hole, to create a makeshift microphone system. The output of the primitive microphones was nigh inaudible, so I raised the volume of the piece as a whole, causing a high noise level to be present in the recording. This acts as a grounding and oppressing feature, being separated from the guitar track and equalized to filter the frequency of the white noise. This EQ also emphasized the added harshness of a rattle bridge made with cigarette papers laced through the strings at the bridge.

I tapped on different parts of the body and neck, creating different frequencies of knocks, while allowing the the strings to resonate freely. Occasionally, I hit the microphone, but did not remove the mistakes as they created a new, clashing sound entering the piece. This performance was recorded in Logic Express, then pitch shifted, processed, and made more disorienting, despite its subtle character.

A recurring rhythmic theme enters and provides the basis for the rest of the the electroacoustic composition. The sound signal continues to be furthered processed, using a bitcrusher and other digital distortion methods. At the midpoint, the piece breaks down and turns to pure static. The theme returns, deeper and stronger in tone, but more meandering, as a different noise enters the recording from a still-on TV. This serves as a reminder the piece is, at its core, a solo improvisation, recorded on-the-fly in less-than-optimal conditions, and processed later as an electroacoustic composition.

Finally, the rhythmic theme is modified using heavy reverb, changing important parameters of the processor to introduce noise again into the piece. The first strummed notes end the electroacoustic composition.

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