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Book Release: The Techniques of Guitar Playing

Posted By Connie Sheu, Monday, August 25, 2014
This book, co-written by guitarist Seth F. Josel and composer Ming Tsao, provides a comprehensive survey of contemporary performance techniques on the classical guitar. It was inspired by a new generation of solo guitarists whose extraordinary technical and virtuosic skills have paved the way for a new understanding of instrumental performance practice. Detailed explanations are given for the instrument’s technical potential within the historical context of traditional guitar technique.

Composers will especially benefit from the research and elaborate analyses of contemporary guitar literature including many examples of the guitar in chamber and ensemble musical settings. Also shown are diverse ways in which contemporary music for the guitar has been notated.

The book contains four main chapters that explore the topics of various right and left hand techniques, harmonics, percussive techniques and the guitar’s relatives. Of particular interest will be extensive charts of multiphonics, bitones and percussive sounds. An accompanying CD will document a variety of the techniques illustrated in the book.

The book is published by Bärenreiter Press, and a more detailed overview can be found here:

Seth F. Josel (b. New York, NY) is among the leading figures in his generation in modern guitar performance and has taken part in the premiere of more than one hundred works as a soloist and ensemble member. A regular guest at Europe’s major contemporary music festivals, he has with such composers as Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, Tristan Murail and James Tenney, and he has played with such leading orchestras and ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Berlin. From 1991 till 2000 he was a permanent member of the Ensemble musikFabrik. In addition to a diverse array of solo CDs, he appears on numerous CD recordings with European ensembles and orchestras.

Ming Tsao (b. Berkeley, CA) is Professor of Composition at Göteborg University and holds a PhD in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, an MA in Mathematics from the San Francisco State University, an MA in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University and a BM in Music Composition from the Berklee College of Music. Further studies have included logic and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. His compositions have been performed by ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet, ensemble recherche and the Stuttgart Opera. Music by Ming Tsao can be found on upcoming CD releases by Kairos as well as Mode Records. Books by Ming Tsao include Abstract Musical Intervals: Group Theory for Composition and Analysis. His music is published by Edition Peters.

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