International Guitar Research Centre Conference 2016- Day 5

Day 5 -Tuesday Mar 22, 2016

Another wonderfully full day at #IGRCSurrey 2016.

The morning began with a fascinating lecture from physicist and postdoctoral research associate, David Robert Grimes, who discussed the physics of string-bending and other electric guitar techniques. Following David was another of my University of Surrey PostGrad colleagues, James Armstrong. James’ paper, “In Search of Environmental Influence and the Significance of Space on Guitar Performance” presented some early results of his ongoing research into the overall impact of environment and space on guitar performance. Laura Lee, a University of Surrey MMus research-practitioner, closed the session with a presentation on her current research; an ongoing collaborative project that aims to re- invent the classic ‘jam’ environment. The project explores collaborative input between two guitarists (Dominik Struzenberger and Laura Lee) and ‘machine’, using Ableton Live as a compositional and performance tool.

In the second session of the morning, Jon Rattenbury presented a lecture titled “An overwhelming amount of information – exploring Milton Babbitt’s guitar music through repetition”, in which Jon gave a report on the progress of a performance-as-research project involving guitar music by Milton Babbit. Following Jon, Hannah Lindmaier discussed her continuing research on 19th Century female guitarists, with a focus on the life and career of German-English guitarist Catharina Josepha Pratten (née Pelzer). Trevor Babb then presented a lecture-recital titled “New Modes of Listening and an Embrace of Rock in Tristan Murail’s ‘Vampyr!’”, exploring Murail’s fascinating work for solo electric guitar.

After lunch, The Hibernian Guitar Duo (Morgan Buckley and Eoin Flood) presented a wonderful key-note lecture; “Communicating with the Orishas: exploring cross-culturation and the creative process in two commissions on Yorubian Bata drumming music”. The duo is currently working on an interdisciplinary artistic commissioning project, designed to explore and elucidate cross-culturation and the nature of creativity in the commissioning process. Using contemporary composers and historically informed sources, the project aims to experimentally reenact and observe the cross-culturation that took place in Central America. The program concluded with a premiere of “Talking Drums” by Steve Goss.

The afternoon session featured a group of diverse papers from Grahame Klippel, Amy Brandon and myself. Grahame presented on the classical guitar works of British composer Gareth Walters (1928 – 2012). Following Grahame, Amy Brandon presented a highly informative lecture on her research into the efficacy of available Jazz guitar methods. Amy presented some preliminary results of an experimental study evaluating the effectiveness of fourteen published methods of fretboard memorization. The goal of the study is to discover which method, if any, has an advantage in allowing the student to learn and memorize the notes on the fretboard the fastest and the most completely. To close the session, I presented a paper exploring the negotiations of gender within the field of electric lead guitar playing in popular music, touching on the career of players such as Rosetta Tharpe and Memphis Minnie, through to Carrie Brownstein and Annie Clark. This paper is an off-shoot of my current PhD research into the technical and musical analysis of pioneering female guitar players in American popular music.

To finish another full day, Christopher Page Professor of Medieval Music and Literature in the University of Cambridge, gave a fascinating key-note lecture on The Guitar in England from 1550 to 1650, presenting new findings from archival material.IMG_1406IMG_1410IMG_1415IMG_1417IMG_1419IMG_1424IMG_1428IMG_1430IMG_1432IMG_1435

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