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Bow techniques for guitar playing

Arrangements of contemporary works for cello, violin and viola played on the classical guitar.

As PhD candidate in the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussels (KCB-VUB), my thesis will explore the possibilities of playing arrangements of contemporary pieces for cello, violin and viola on the guitar without losing the music’s intention or style. Translating scores originally composed for these orchestral instruments presents a challenge for any guitar arrangement, particularly when trying to find technical solutions for the use of the bow.

My initial research has focused on the cello sonata by Gyorgy Ligeti (arrangement published with Schott Music Edition). In my doctorate, I want to extend this study by working on other works which present a number of challenges to guitar arrangement, either because of length, or the long note phrasing that the guitar has difficulty imitating, or other sound effects that the composer achieves through the use of the bow.
The composers (and works) are: Iannis Xenakis (Kottos), George Crumb (cello Sonata), Paul Hindemith (viola Sonatas), Benjamin Britten (cello Suites), Zoltan Kodaly (cello Sonata) and Luigi Dallapiccola (Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio), Witold Lutoslawski (Sacher Variations).
Focusing on the musical language of these composers, I will explore their composition techniques, their rhythmic and harmonic language as well as other solo instrumental works and also ensemble music.
The repertory of the guitar is poor in comparison to other string instruments and, relatedly, enjoys few prominent composers who compose for it. This research will not only extend guitar repertory into new and exciting territories, but will also test the technical possibilities of the instrument.
As part of this thorough study on the guitar technique in relation with contemporary compositional techniques , I plan to include a detailed essay combined with a DVD with technical examples and practical exercises.
My doctorate research will conclude with commissioned works by composers such as Atanas Ourkouzounov, Marios Joannou Elias, Feliu Gassul, Giorgos Nousis, Marko Dottlinger and Giannis Papakrassas.
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