Improvising Object Guitar (2024)

Hugo Ariëns

About this exposition

This thesis traces the transformation of a prepared electric guitar practice into a practice where improvisation is infused in all of its facets. Through this research, I have developed a personal approach to the prepared tabletop electric guitar that I call "Object Guitar". I leave the historical frame of the prepared guitar as a reflection of the prepared piano and take an interpretation of the 1912 "Guitar" sculpture by Pablo Picasso as a starting point. Through Picasso’s use of improvised techniques and heterogeneous materials, we can see the prepared electric guitar practice as possessing a similar process of "bricolage" and the agency and recalcitrance of the objects used to prepare the guitar. This makes the prepared tabletop electric guitar fundamentally impossible to master. Mastery gets substituted with the process of "assemblage"—the arranging of disparate found materials. With this approach, I developed a series of experimental instruments and devices. Experimental instruments explore novel possibilities in instrument design but also provide a platform for experimentation. These instruments magnify the improvisational characteristics of the existing electric guitar. The 18-string Object Guitar is a gradual development of the electric guitar into a dedicated tabletop instrument. A series of Deconstruction Guitars break down the electric guitar into fundamental elements to understand their function in the prepared guitar system. All the instruments and devices form an open-ended series of constructions; each playing situation has a different configuration of these instrument and device modules. Along with the instruments, I created a new practice method for the prepared tabletop electric guitar in improvised music. As mastery falls away as a criterion for the prepared guitar practice, the focus shifts to an exploration of the instrument. Practicing becomes a progression of questions and curiosity, with each question leading to new questions. The Object Guitar Archive gives structure and context to this method. The exploratory practice method spans the whole range of prepared guitar practice activities. Each step of the process is supported by the Object Guitar Archive.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsPrepared guitar, free improvisation, Electric Guitar
last modified16/01/2024
share statuspublic
affiliationRoyal Conservatoire of The Hague
copyrightHugo Ariëns
licenseCC BY-NC-ND
languageAmerican English
published inResearch Catalogue
external linkhttps://publish.obsidian.md/object-guitar-archive

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