A Gentle Touch
I am very happy to present to you all my guitar composition, A Gentle Touch, featuring strings and a guitar septet. This song has taken me over a year to record properly; to be able to pinpoint the exact interpretation of the melody and the most appropriate accompaniment to help the melody shine.
The long road
The main difficulty of arranging for the Spanish guitar, a nylon string guitar, is its lack of sustain in sound in comparison to a piano or a violin. The guitar speaks with short bursts of sound. Therefore, the context in which you place the guitar, has to allow a short sound with a strong attack to project with clarity. This objective requires great care and extreme control of all harmonic textures in the arrangement.
Harmony against harmony
Furthermore, the Spanish guitarists, in order to project, need to sound good on their own. I achieve such emphasizing extreme melodic expression and also supporting the melody with harmony. However, when this happens and harmony is also occurring in the background at the same time, the guitar will blend with it and you will not be able to hear it.
In order to avoid such, I carefully design the harmonic background to allow for the clarity and projection of the guitar by defining the accompaniment with slow moving melodic independence. You can read all about how I approach arranging in my book on arranging and orchestration.
I love the 3 different sections
I simply adore the power of the introduction of this composition, where I have written a 7 part soli, that is an arrangement where 7 guitars play the melody at the same time. The following video explains how I arranged this sound. For those who wish to develop their creative talent please visit my guitar lessons site and also my online guitar training and lessons site.
I also love how I arranged the first section of the song where the cellos outline the harmony with very few notes and quickly transition into a rhythmic repeating ostinato that allows the solo guitar to shine brilliantly.
The third section of the song falls into the category of a solid underlining groove and a screeching high register expression.
The song after this section moves into an intense passage but where I play the guitar with extreme sweetness. This fourth section took me the most to write since I had to allow a solo guitar with a very sweet sound, to project and be heard but at the same time with a full orchestral harmonisation. Check out how I achieved it.
I am very satisfied with the overall result and as quick highlight in the first day of publication I already have had an expression of interest to perform the score, from the Vancouver Guitar Ensemble and the Quarteto de Guitarras de Barcelona, Spain.
The birth of the composition
This song, a gentle touch, was born on a warm summer afternoon in Melbourne, Australia, and I finalised the composition while I was staying in the Tarra Bulga National park in Victoria.
Nature is for me the perfect escenario where my ideas just explode and come out in force. Maybe it is the freedom I feel to be surrounded by nature as I perceive it as very anarchic where trees, rivers, mountains all sprout in any direction and follow no logical pattern.
Maybe this freedom is what breaks up the constraints I have in general life and allows my inner child to come out and speak freely. In the city I always feel very restricted due to the rules we all have to abide by in order to achieve a relative social balance.
How many times did I record this song?
I believe I have made around 35 different takes of this song, a gentle touch, and they initially were all ok, but after a few listens they all became confusing and made me feel very frustrated. However, by simply listening to my inner voice, that was urging me to give it another go, to be simple, to follow my gut feelings, I was able to make this final sound which was a surprise and delight to my conscious mind.
Do we create or discover
I don’t create music, I simply just unswirl the covers of my consciousness, until I reach the core of the expression, which I believe is in essence, a very simple reflection of mother nature.
Music gets me very close to nature and at the same time the more I compose the scarier it gets, as I have no idea where I am heading and only know that I am close to my goal when I start to feel sleepy and tired. At this stage, I know I just have to push forward a bit more and open the final door to discover what was lying behind it all the time.
I just wish as I get older, I continue to have the courage to keep on opening doors.
I do hope you all, enjoy this song as it has closed another chapter in my life.