Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rod Poole- Voice of the Bowed Guitar

After Rod Poole's passing, I assembled a concert of shorten selections of some of Rods pieces from his works for three bowed guitars. I felt it was better to represent his variety on the subject and inspire maybe others to perform them as well as to allow people to hear how differently they were. Something the months in between his performances did not us able to do. In his notes we could find only 4 versions of which we realized three. It was quite enlightening what he had done.
Not only were none of the guitars tuned the same way in a single composition, instead much care was directed to the spacing of chords and doublings for resonance in what must have required much experimentation on his part. Rod did not tune to any reference pitch but worked with the sound and timbre of his guitar to start building a piece yet one version did require a capo around where the sharp 4 would be on an open string. While one might acknowledge that this began where he could get the intervals he wanted but also i imagine he also wanted to investigate that shorter string timbres as well as the difference the strings would react under the string tension.
Each of these versions represented a different way of approaching the limitation of a single chord. Each of the four versions he left couldn’t be more different in construction; the utilization of harmonics 13-14-17, an unusual Tetrachord, a 7-tone scale, or a 5-tone scale taken predominantly from the subharmonic series. On Sept 12 in Los Angeles SASSAS will be presenting a tribute to Rod taking these as it foundation. David Beardsley is also planning on presenting one in the future. I myself would like to bring this work to Australia but i also hope to write my own at some point in tribute to him and allowing the idea to continue to grow which is what Rod's approach was all about.

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