Guitar Ensemble Music: ‘Django Djingle’

Despite the vast amount of high quality chamber music repertoire written for the guitar, many guitarists still have the tendency to focus mainly on solo repertoire.

From their very early stages of playing, musicians who play wind or strings instruments need pianists that accompany them and therefore chamber music becomes a big part of their development as a musician, focusing on communication, balance, compromise, action and reaction, etc… Great skills ANY musician can use.

In October 2018, I decided to start an ensemble at the college where I teach guitar.

I must admit: I have never been too keen on guitar ensemble repertoire: 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 to break these patterns, and make guitarists, and who knows, perhaps composers, thrilled again to play / write more guitar ensemble music.

Check underneath the video for a brief summary of the piece

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Music Score:

The idea is that when one listens multiple times to it, and focuses f.e. on one guitarist at a time, it creates a different perspective / feel to it, while each voice has something unique to contribute to the entire piece:
     – guitar 1 (upper right): main melody
     – guitar 2 (upper left): grace notes / slurs / counter-melody
     – guitar 3 (bottom left): rhythmical pattern
     – guitar 4 (bottom right): harmony / chords
     – bass (bottom middle): music pulse

FORM (time code)
     Intro (0:00) – introduces character / nine-chord
     A (0:33) – theme
     B (1:02) – counter theme (polyphony between guitar 1 and 2)
     A (1:21) – theme
     C (1:49) – triplets / higher register main melody
     A (2:08) – theme
     Coda (2:37) – closing section / imitation

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

for the attentive listener, this guitar ensemble music has some examples of: countermelodies, imitation, question / answer, harmonizations, etc…

– classical with gypsy jazz
– the cover is a painting by French artist David Montono who combines his painting skills with cartoon-like story telling. (