Lawson, Jeremiah - Guitar Sonata in D minor (slide guitar sonata no. 2), finale - Video

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Jeremiah Lawson
Posts: 1649
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:35 am
Location: Seattle

Lawson, Jeremiah - Guitar Sonata in D minor (slide guitar sonata no. 2), finale - Video

Post by Jeremiah Lawson » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:40 pm

I know there's a lot of explanatory set-up for this video of a piece I recently finished, but I believe that the extensive theoretical preliminary will help explain "how" I got to composing this work.

One of the things I began notice in the last ten years of studying sonata forms in the guitar literature is how readily many of the sonata themes in the early 19th century works by Sor, Molitor, Matiegka, Giuliani, Carulli, and Diabelli could be recomposed as ragtime strains. I wrote at some length about my study of their guitar sonatas with some passing remarks on the ragtime/19th century guitar sonata thematic overlap over here. ... 8&t=113505

I also wrote a post here at Delcamp about the benefits I found in reading Eleemnts of Sonata Theory by Hepokoski & Darcy here. ... 1&t=107954

I wrote a short analytical survey earlier this year about the potential to develop a synthesis of the vocabulary of ragtime and the syntactic processes of sonata forms over here.

On the possibilities of spatial-temporal correspondence between the syntactics of ragtime and sonata forms ... poral.html

I wasn't just writing about those ideas at a purely theoretical level, either. In the last year I've composed a guitar sonata in D minor and the finale of that sonata is posted in a video I recently put up. I've been working toward a fusion of ragtime with sonata forms for years. I premiered the finale for my Guitar Sonata in D minor at a composers' salon this summer.

The video I just put up presents a read along score to demonstrate what I'm about to describe. The structure of the finale (which can be broken into movements III and IV) can be described as follows:

Introduction 00:00 to 00:14
Theme 1 00:15 to 01:22 (with repeat)
transition 01:23 to 01:42
Theme 2 01:42 to 02:12
Theme 3/coda 02:13 to 02:40

DEVELOPMENT 02:41 to 03:21

Theme 1 03:22 to 03:53
transition 03:54 to 04:30
Theme 2 04:31 to 05:52 with four variations
Theme 3/coda 05:53 to 06:3-

What starts off as a minor key ragtime and proceeds in that style throughout the exposition and development gets changed in the recapitulation. Playing with Hepokoski & Darcy's concept of "rotation" I got the idea that it would be fun to have a sonata form in which the style of a theme is drastically reconceived in its recapitulation form in comparison to its exposition form. So what is presented in a ragtime style in the first half of this sonata becomes an aggressive slide-guitar Texas-blues inspired set of variations on Theme 2, which is finally revealed in the recapitulation to be a tune called Restoration that originally appeared in William Walker's Southern Harmony--the sonata as a whole but the finale in particular I composed as an homage to the great Texas slide guitarist Blind Willie Johnson. To that end the entire sonata is composed in open D tuning to facilitate bottleneck technique throughout the Theme 2 section of the recapitulation.

There are two more movements in this work but I don't have those performance-ready yet. The first movement is a large fugue (six minutes) and the second movement is a scherzo. I intended to play a more embellished cadenza the night I premiered this part of the guitar sonata but I was nervous and played it safe. Still, I feel like the work was close enough to what I want it to sound like that posting a video of the audio with a read along score was worth doing.

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