If ears were all that were needed…

Title: If ears were all that were needed…
Instrumentation: Guitar
Year: 2007
Duration: 2.5′
Premiere: Capricos Goyescas Festival 2008
Performer: Jürgen Rück

If ears were all that were needed 1

If ears were all that were needed… (Edition Peters, mm. 1–29)

If ears were all that were needed 2b

Bravissimo!: Los Caprichos #38 (Francisco Goya, 1797–98)


If ears were all that were needed… (excerpt)

“If ears were all that were needed to appreciate it, no one could listen more intelligently; but it is feared that he is applauding what is soundless.” (Francisco Goya, Los Caprichos, 1797–98)

My strongest association with the guitar is hearing detuned open strings on old guitars. The sounding of open strings on a guitar constitute, for myself, the ‘fingerprint’ of each guitar; that is, I can sense the make of a particular instrument (materials, size, gauge of strings) when its open strings are strummed. But slightly detuned strings make the instrument vibrate in unusual ways. One can sense the ‘fingerprint’ of the instrument differently through how the sound resonates unevenly throughout the body of the instrument. If ears were all that were needed… consists primarily of strumming the open strings and hearing strange fragments of folk melodies, which I associate with the tradition of the guitar, emerge from the resonances of the sound, often through the use of attackless harmonics. This is why I used the image of Los Caprichos #38 by Francisco Goya: applauding a virtual “song” implied by the brief tonal fragments heard only through a guitar’s sound disappearing.

Link: edition-peters.de/product/if-ears-were-all-that-were-needed-for-guitar-solo/ep12694