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Bryan Johanson : Ghost Guitar : DOz



Bryan Johanson

Les Productions D’Oz: 8 pages


This latest piece by American guitarist/composer Johanson is concerned with the veil of death in past composers and is a meditation on the nature of it. To cover such heavy and thought – provoking ground he creates a very unusual sound- world , quite different from a lot of his other works (many of which I have seen before)

Therefore the piece begins with a Zero time signature and, as one might therefore expect, a blank key signature, as the music is not key driven very much at all. It begins with 5 very loud three – note chords, and a lower stave showing the player what overtones are produced and for them not to be dampened in any way. Then a very creepy theme emerges followed by three pairs of harmonics all consisting of an interval of a second. After a return of the previous theme, now varied considerably, a six – bar pizzicato leads back to a reiteration of the opening sforzando chords, then in turn becoming the pizzicato idea again. After several speed changes where harmonics recur intermingled with ordinary notes, a Piu Mosso made up largely of two unusually harmonised chords, largely of intervals of a fifth takes over and becomes the main body of the piece, although let it be said that the unusual harmonies inherent from the start, never go away, but remain, in a very unnerving way. Eventually the pizzicato, the harmonics and the other very creepy reminders from before, all return, only to die away in a set of harmonics at the very close.

This is a very strange piece from start to finish, that won’t suit everyone’s musical tastes, but let it be said that this composer knows exactly what he is doing, and therefore nothing is randomly put down, but everything has a musical purpose. Its style though won’t suit a certain number of people, but if you have very good technique and are willing to try something considerably unusual in its musical style, then this might suit you well.


Chris Dumigan


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