With its unconventional tuning, notation, and performance requirements, Easley Blackwoodʼs Suite for Guitar in 15- Note Equal Tuning serves as a reappraisal of both tonality (through its application of a microtonal equal temperament) and guitar performance practice (with a modified fretboard and note layout). Using concepts from the fields of transformational theory and gestural music theory, this study considers modulatory and sequential passages in two movements from Blackwoodʼs Suite. This paper demonstrates how the fifteen-tone tuning and fretboard provide a unique opportunity to recontextualize the diatonic scale and its generative interval cycles in a consistent transformational space that allows the performer to conceptualize the novel guitar fretboard in three overlapping gestural zones. By considering the perspective of the performer, this paper illustrates Blackwoodʼs multilayered compositional approach for the fifteen-tone guitar and his attention to the gestural potential of this new instrument.



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