Breaking the Matrix: Transcribing Bartók and Ligeti for the Guitar Using a New Capo System
transcription, classical guitar, Bartók, Ligeti, capo, capotasto, affordance, scordatura, technology
This paper demonstrates new transcriptions for the guitar of four piano pieces from the twentieth century: “The Night’s Music” from Bartók’s suite Out of Doors and Ligeti’s Musica ricercata, nos. 1, 2, and 7. The transcriptions deploy various newly invented single- and double-string magnet capos: I describe their design and, drawing on the work of De Souza, explain how their use transforms the affordances of the fretboard. In combination with scordaturas, the capos can be used to generate a series of radically altered open-string sets. Turning to the transcriptions of Bartók and Ligeti: by observing the pitch centers within their non-tonal structures, an open- string set can be generated that makes transcription possible. Excerpts from the transcriptions show how idiomatic features of the piano originals, such as contrast in register, can be mapped onto other idiomatic features of the guitar, such as contrast in timbre. The conclusion of the paper discusses how musical intention can connect with technological innovation, opening the way to an adaptable guitaristic interface with fresh potential for transcription and composition.
Koltai, Katalin. 2020. "Breaking the Matrix: Transcribing Bartók and Ligeti for the Guitar Using a New Capo System." Soundboard Scholar 6, (1). https://digitalcommons.du.edu/sbs/vol6/iss1/6