Workshop with Steve
No 1 Diabolo
Monday, June 11, 2007
Diabolo (1st movement from 'The Gothic Suite' for solo guitar)
The Gothic Suite is an impressionistic, five-movement composition based upon an entirely imaginary tale written by myself, the inspiration of which came from the writings of one of my favourite writers, the American author and poet, Edgar Allen Poe. Each movement is a set of 'scenes' and each one is preceeded by a paragraph to be read aloud by the performer (or an assistant - preferably with a deep, resonant voice a la Vincent Price).
Marked 'Hurriedly' this movement sets the mood with an opening 4-bar phrase of two bars of 5/8, one of 4/8 and one of 6/8. Using these mixtures of time signatures can help the flow of the music. Great care must be taken to accentuate the first and fourth beats in the 5/8 bars, the first beat of the 4/8 ones and the first and fourth of the 6/8 bars (this applies all the way through the piece).
Keep a fortissimo all the way from bar one up to the first beat of the final line on page one, where a sudden decrescendo should be applied to the accompanying open 2nd string Bs. Begin to bring out the bass line very strongly towards the end of the next line (first line on page two).
In bar 43, sustain the F# into the open G, and similarly in the next bar, hold on to the A until the end of the bar.
Keep the strumming as even as possible, and watch out for the two down strokes in the middle of the 6/8 bars - keep to the strong accentuations building up to a very aggressive final chord. (In performance, after I've played the chord in 58, I ignore the tied sixth string and fill out these two end bars with 6 open Es played as quavers (8th notes), then play another sixth string E as a dotted crotchet (dotted quarter note), finally strumming upward - towards the sixth string - violently, whilst holding on to the final chord which is printed in the score).
The score for Diabolo can be purchased via the The Spanish Guitar Centre (Guitarnotes)
The Gothic Suite - 2nd movement - LAIR... online now: Click here
See below to print this article in Word and PDF formats and a short MP3