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Improvising with electronics; encouraging classical guitarists to reframe and explore the natural sound of the guitar through the use of digital instruments

ESTIBEIRO, Marc (2019) Improvising with electronics; encouraging classical guitarists to reframe and explore the natural sound of the guitar through the use of digital instruments. In: International Guitar Research Conference, 14-20 July 2019, Hong Kong, China. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

This paper presents a software environment which encourages classical guitarists to improvise with electronics. The differences between digital and acoustic instruments are considered, together with their contrasting traditions and performance practices. Issues of interface design are presented and factors which may encourage or inhibit classical guitarists from engaging which digital instrument are discussed. Various affordances and constraints which have an impact on engagement are considered. The paper proposes that models which exploit the existing skillsets and performance practices of classical guitarists are most likely to be successful, whereas models which rely too heavily on external controllers and interfaces can discourage engagement and improvisation. Furthermore, digital instruments which process live inputs in real time and which frame the natural sound of the instrument with the electronics can engage both performers and audiences. The nature of improvisation and interactivity when using the classical guitar with electronics is considered. Systems which encourage guitarists to explore the full potential of the instrument by adopting a textural/timbral approach are recommended. Mapping existing playing techniques onto the digital environment is an effective way of manipulating and exploring causal and mimetic relationships. The guitarist interacts with the electronics to enhance, contrast or subvert the acoustic, which acts as a point of familiarity in an electroacoustic soundscape. The paper concludes with a demonstration of the software environment to show improvisation through real time control of the digital instrument using the natural sound of the guitar as both the source material for electronic processing and to control the electronics.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact
Uncontrolled Keywords: Composition, Electronics, Guitar, Improvisation
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Film, Media and Journalism
Event Title: International Guitar Research Conference
Event Location: Hong Kong, China
Event Dates: 14-20 July 2019
Depositing User: Marc ESTIBEIRO
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 09:50
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:57

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