Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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Detuning Guitar

Detuning Guitar (2015, approx. 30')

A composition by Robert van Heumen for acoustic guitar and live sampling
Developed by Robert van Heumen and Jasper Stadhouders / Performed using the Shackle System / Composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL
Download score and instructions

The composition encompasses 14 parts which are descriptions of musical sections that limit the players in concept or material. Within these limitations the players can freely improvise the way they see fit. The parts are presented by the Shackle System as visual cues in a random order and last for a random time between the preset boundaries. When the System announces a new part, there is a 15 second countdown in which the players can prepare for the new part or cancel it using a foot-switch. At any time, each player can request a new part from the System with the same foot-switch. After 25 minutes, the System announces the end.

Some parts prescribe a detuning of one of the guitar strings, and one part prescribes a retuning to the initial tuning. Detuning and retuning should be somewhat audible and detuning should be within a semitone. The guitar player has a joker: playing flageolettes for 10-20 sec, to make the detuning more audible. This joker can be played at any time.

The list of parts is accompanied by a score for parts 2, 3, 6 and 14. The names of the parts are: PATTERN, STUMBLE, SLOGRO, FASGRO, RIPP, RATTLE, SCRATCH, SLIDE, VIBRA, BOLT, JML, FLAG, FUNERAL, STONE. RIPP contains a riff from King’s X.

May 8, 2015 (premiere) with Jasper Stadhouders (acoustic guitar), Zaal 100, Amsterdam
June 7, 2016 with Nicola Hein (electric guitar), Zaal 100, Amsterdam

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