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Bryan Johanson  : One Note at a Time (from The Illustrated Guitar) : DOz

Bryan Johanson

Les Productions D’Oz: 7 pages


As the title suggests, this is the final piece from a 13 piece set, called The Illustrated Guitar, intended to be played as a complete cycle, lasting approximately 45 minutes in total. However at the suggestion of the composer, each of the pieces is published separately so that they can be played individually or grouped into smaller suites if so desired.

As the title suggests this piece, that is 151 bars long, is made up entirely of single notes from start to finish. However, if you think that this makes for an easy play, think again! Having got quite of number of this clever composer’s works, I can tell you that this is quite a feat of composition that requires a really good player to do it full justice.

It is marked Allegrissimo at a crotchet beat of 112 – 116, which doesn’t sound too fast until you realise that the music is a mixture of semi – quavers and quavers in multiple rhythmic combinations and constantly changing too, so that even when a recognized theme reappears it is always different, either rhythmically or with the odd different note, so that you can’t rely at all on playing something that you have played before. Moreover there are a multitude of different time signatures just to add a little bit more difficulty.

It begins on the two low E’s on a cross – rhythm, followed by a hammer – on, which is the start of a 4 note semi – quaver run that again is always changing its detail. Throughout its length, the notes used move up and down the fingerboard reaching eventually top E, at fret 12 and using almost every note along its path as it proceeds.

It never lets up, and is consistently on the move and always requiring your absolute attention , as the hammer – ons and pull- offs, the rhythmic changes, and the time signature changes just all add together to make up an extremely demanding, but very interesting and c lever piece that many players will enjoy.


Chris Dumigan

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