Pierre Boulez Guitar Techniques for improvisation and composition

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In this web page we will look at applying the style of the Great French composer Pierre Boulez to the guitar. We can exploit “Cross Picking” and “Alternate Picking” with the guitar plectrum.

The first example is a flat 5 or diminished 5th added to the perfect 5th. The use of intervals also employs augmentation [with the#5] and the semitone as a non- resolving tone.

Example 1

Boulez guitar improvisation and composition lesson

In the next example we employ wide intervals. This example exploits semitones and other intervals by creating wide intervallic shapes which create a fresh intervallic sound.

Boulez Guitar Music Concepts
Pierre Boulez Intervallic guitar composing

In the next example we employ “Cross Picking”. This is very similar to that taught by guitarist Robert Fripp in his guitar craft. This concept can also be found in some of the King Crimson recordings.

The concept is a very simple one that can be applied to execute some very odd/complex musical ideas on the guitar. The picking pattern with the guitar plectrum is:

“Down Down Up”

Example: D D U Repeated loop pattern.

Pierre Boulez Guitar Cross Picking Pattern

Basic D D U Cross Picking Pattern

Boulez Down Down Up Guitar Picking Pattern

The next two patterns employ Diminished and Augmented shapes in triplets with an open string.

Boulez guitarPicking pattern open string style

Another example with the open string concept

Boulez Open string cross picking guitar pattern

This last open string cross picking pattern is a mixture:

Boulez mixture guitar cross picking patterns

To Finish, we will employ a basic triplet pattern without any open strings.

Basic Boulez Guitar Pattern

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