for guitar and clarinet

Rubens Askenar

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for guitar and clarinet

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Composer Rubens Askenar
Year of Composition 2015
Duration 7'30"
Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-ra1g1


Garrotte is the first of a cycle of pieces for guitar and other instruments. The title of the work has, naturally, ambiguities. It operates at different semantic levels. 1. Thick and strong stick used as a support while walking. 2. Procedure for executing someone by compressing the throat. 3. An art of combat fought with sticks dating back to the Canarian aborigines. 4. Flamenco stile traditionally from the Asturian folklore.

My idea was to use it as a concept of pressure as the basic technique of the left hand is like a garrotte pressing or strangling the neck of the guitar.

The function of the duo is particular. The traditional roles of both instruments are reversed; the clarinet occupies an accompanying role and the guitar a soloist. In this work the dialectical principles of opposition of contraries begin to apply from the duo’s own functionality.

The materials obey to different isomorphic gestures that operate from a principle of similarity or proportionality. Unlike the unison, which deals only connecting pitch, this isomorphic techniques mixes all possible parameters: register, timbre, dynamics, attack and duration, in order to create a meta-instrument that removes any identification of the sound source that produces it. This is to seek within an instrument sound quality that belong -by system- to another type of instrument. In this case I have tried to make the guitar sound as similar as possible to the clarinet. In order to achieve this, I used friction with different types of superball mallet directly on the low strings, resulting in a continuous sound without attack, altering the natural ADSR of the guitar and bringing it closer to the clarinet ADSR.