for guitar duet

Rubens Askenar

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for guitar duet

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Composer Rubens Askenar
Year of Composition 2015
Duration ca.6'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-ra1z1


‘Zapateado’, for guitar duet, refers to the action of tap dancing. My main interest was to integrate this powerful and specific sound of tapping within the technical execution of the guitar, without needing to use the feet. The way of conceptualising this idea is naturally complex as it demands the mixture of two difficult techniques derived from the flamenco guitar: 1) golpe and 2) rasgueo quintuplet with four fingers (ch, a, m, i, i) In addition to this mixture, it requires a shift of 45 degrees of the arm and wrist in order to be able to execute the golpe-ragueo on the top left of the instrument soundboard (guitarist view).

The role of the duo is particular. Unlike “Garrotte”, it is not to exchange roles, but to fuse them into one. More than doubling the guitar, it extends the guitar’s volume and resonant capacity. To achieve such amplification of resonances, I have used an extreme scordatura: all strings tuned to E with a range of three octaves in total. That is: I string and II are tuned in E5, III and IV in E4 and V and VI in E3. This tuning enhances the sympathetic vibrations of both guitars and likewise it facilitates the positional displacement of the left hand, avoiding unnecessary extensions.

Similarly, the different tensions to which the strings are subjected generate a map of pressure that is completely oblivious to the tactile memory of the guitarist’s left hand, so gestures and materials are derived from this resistance between tactile nostalgia and ergonomic lobotomy.