Altered states of performance: scordatura in the classical guitar repertoire

Corey James Flowers

Scordatura is commonplace in the guitar repertoire, though there are relatively few resources available that explain the approach to its use, either from a performer’s or a composer’s perspective. Through examination of specific selections in the classical guitar repertoire, this document offers an introduction to various alternate tunings for the guitar, beginning with tunings used to transcribe lute and vihuela music, and progressing to modern experimentations found in the literature. Each piece on the accompanying recording provides insight into the use of these alternate tunings by highlighting specific musical characteristics that are made possible, or are idiomatic, in each tuning, such as extended ranges, open string relationships, unique chord voicings, and the ease of introducing contrasting tonal centers across a program. The CD provides a basis for aural comparison of the tunings and is a resource for performers interested in this repertoire. It also provides examples for composers and arrangers wishing to approach writing for the guitar using non-standard tunings. As additional resources, a glossary of terminology is provided, concerning tunings found in the document, as well as tunings used outside of the classical repertoire that may be useful for experimentation. An index of scordatura repertoire is provided as well, offering a broad overview of additional repertoire for further study.

Altered states of performance: scordatura in the classical guitar repertoire

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