Guitar Ensemble Music: ‘Django Djingle’

From a very early stage of playing, musicians who play wind or strings instruments need pianists that accompany them. Many young musicians of all levels participate in an orchestra 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 guitarists, we don’t share these long traditions and usually start collaborating with accompanists when 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).

I must admit, I still struggle to find guitar ensemble repertoire 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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     Intro: ends with:  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

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

– 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, fusion between gypsy jazz and classical playing styles.

– by French artist David Montono who combines his painting skills with cartoon-like story-telling. (