Guitar Ensemble Music: ‘Django Djingle’

From their very early stages of playing, musicians who play wind or strings instruments need pianists that accompany them. Many young musicians participate in an orchestra of all levels as well, which could potentially grow into career opportunities.

In both of these situations, the benefits towards the development of the musician are tremendous: learning to communicate, balance, compromise or reflect, refining the listening skills, dealing with responsibilities, etc… Great skills ANY musician can use.

As the guitar can handle both melodic and polyphonic music, we don’t share these long traditions and perhaps only start collaborating with accompanists until we reach a level where we can play guitar concertos and need to rely on piano reductions for practicing purposes.

Second, despite the vast amount of high quality chamber music repertoire written for the guitar in the last 100 years or so, most of us tend to focus mainly on solo repertoire (I believe for reasons I do not dare to include in this writing).

Third, although orchestras and brass bands can be found in many schools (from elementary schools to universities), programs that include a chamber music course are a rare breed (colleges, universities and conservatories included). 

In order to address these shortcomings that can benefit many, I decided to start a guitar ensemble at the college where I teach guitar… (next: expanding the chamber music program)

I must admit, I still struggle to find repertoire for this setting that keeps me interested: voices are often doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in combination with mono-rhythms which makes the music sound rather ‘thin’ and ‘weak’ (try having 4 guitarists plucking a string at the exact same time).

‘Django Djingle’ is my first attempt (as a composer this time) to break these patterns, and add the aforementioned values to any guitarist who’s willing to take a shot at it.

Check underneath the video for a brief summary of the piece

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TEXTURE: (layering the music)
Each voice/guitar has a unique aspect to contribute:

     – guitar 1 (upper right): main melody (soloist)
     – guitar 2 (upper left): grace notes / slurs / counter-melody
     – guitar 3 (bottom left): rhythmical pattern (articulation)
     – guitar 4 (bottom right): harmony / chords
     – bass (bottom middle): music pulse

FORM:
     Intro: ends with: 9-chord / desc. bass line (00:00)
     A: theme (00:33)
     B: polyphony between guitar 1 and 2 (01:02)
     A: theme (1:21)
     C: triplets / higher melody (1:49)
     A: theme (2:08)
     Coda: closing section / use of imitation

THEME / MOTIVE:
– in this case, the first few notes, although spread out, from Django’s “a minor swing”

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS:
– for the attentive listener, this guitar ensemble music has some examples of: countermelodies, imitation, question / answer, harmonizations, fusion between gypsy jazz and classical playing styles.

MUSIC SCORE COVER:
– by French artist David Montono who combines his painting skills with cartoon-like story-telling. (http://www.montorodavid.com)

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Music Score: