Music for Classical guitar By South African Composers. A historical survey, notes on selected works and a general catalogue



This is the first comprehensive investigation of music for, or including, the classical guitar by South African composers. The focus of this research has been, firstly, to uncover as much of the repertoire as possible, and, secondly, to collate, study, catalogue and report on the information. A brief historical survey of the guitar in South Africa provides the context within which this study was conducted. The primary sources of quantitative data collection were through the archival catalogues of the South African Music Rights Organisation and through personal contact with guitarists, composers and guitar teachers. Other sources consulted were publishers, broadcasting corporations, recording companies, libraries and the internet.

The body of the dissertation comprises biographical sketches, background notes, analyses and technical notes on 17 selected solo and chamber works dating from 1947 to 2007 by some of South Africa’s most prominent composers and guitaristcomposers. The repertoire ranges in style from the traditional and ethnically inspired to the experimental and abstract. As this is an empirical survey, each selected entry includes details on instrumentation, duration, level of difficulty, number of pages, scordatura, commissions or requests, sources or publishers, premières and recordings. A biography of each composer is provided as well as background notes which offer an overview of the selected work. The notes discuss historical, cultural, musical and extra-musical influences, and frequently include references to interview material. The commentaries on the selected works, with musical examples, include an analytical component describing structure, form, stylistic and compositional elements, while the technical observations include performance suggestions and a grading for each work.

The general catalogue in Addendum A lists over 320 works including solos, duos, works for voice and guitar, trios, quartets, ensembles and concertos of some 70 composers. These entries include details on instrumentation, subtitles or movements, source(s), dedications, commissions, premières, composer’s notes and recordings. Quantitative patterns and trends, along with the aesthetic and practical value of this literature, are briefly assessed in the conclusion.

Avril Kinsey



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