AUDIO: Music For Prepared Guitar

I wrote Music For Prepared Guitar in 2008 as a response to all of the prepared piano music of Cage I was listening to at the time. I was in the second half of my freshman year as a composition student at SUNY Purchase, studying under Suzanne Farrin. At that point, I’d been playing guitar for six years, but I’d never once put anything on the strings of my guitar. I can remember the possibility of this development exciting me, so I wrote this short, quiet piece for my prepared guitar.

Inexplicably, I never wrote another piece for the instrument, prepared, again. The piece uses paper clips, which are prone to movement and falling off, thus magnifying the need to play quietly and delicately. Maneuvering on the strings between all the paperclips can be difficult too; any brush of the paper clip can send it flying of or into the guitar itself. The chart for the preparations looks silly too. It involves measuring the strings and calculating the paper clips exact placement, which will be infinitesimally different in length from the bridge on every guitar. (The need for such a conversation chart was itself a response to the lack of such a chart in Cage’s works, which can result is wildly different-sounding pianos, and my need for exactitude.)

I haven’t played the piece since 2008. So, when I found the score while cleaning my music cabinet, I thought it might be a good idea to make a recording, if only for posterity.

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