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Percussion Study IV ('Exoskeleton") for viola alla chitarra

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Published on Jul 22, 2008

"Exoskeleton," for viola 'alla chitarra' is also my "Percussion Study IV." My series of "Percussion Studies" attempt to create a set of pieces for the acoustic guitar that have in common an unusual playing technique called the "Tapping Technique." This technique enables me to intersperse a set of unique percussive sounds and noises performed over the guitar's body and executed mostly with bare hands. For this purpose, it is necessary to ensure that percussive sounds and noises could be performed with the same flexibility as ordinary notes. In "Exoskeleton" (which means the outer shell of insects) my idea was to "export" the "Tapping Technique" to the viola's morphological context. The idea behind such exchange is to provoke a motoric break with the expected technique of the instrument, allowing for a new way to play and hear the instrument's sounds. It is not a substitution that weakens the technical potential of the instrument but a way to re potentialize its acoustic possibilities. You can hear pizzicato sounds played at speeds never heard before in traditional viola music. My intention when creating this piece was to deal with the mobility of musicianship, more than with the pre-determined, assigned role of the musician. Thus, this piece can only be played by a guitarist. The 'Percussion Studies Project' is something larger, in my view, than a series of studies. It is a complete insight into compositional procedures that uses the guitar (and the guitarist) as it's starting point. The intention here is to incorporate the very musician as a "compositional material." The pieces have been literally evolving to envelop the voice, the gestures, the body of the player, and other instruments (i.e. viola, cello, violin etc.), but avoiding, as much as possible, all gimmicks, or what is not relevant to the compositional discourse. It is a true platform of compositional thinking, a "twisted diary," a place of "privileged exposure," where I attempt to extend and amplify the idea of "study," being, and performance. © Arthur Kampela 2008. performed live (Premiere) @ the Greenwich House of Music New York City 2003 by the composer.

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