The Canopy of Silence
for solo guitar
(Sample Score Page)
The Canopy of Silence was written for Pablo Gòmez. The piece was directly inspired in many fundamental ways by his stories about his life and family, by his musical history and musical interests, and by his personality.
I began the compositional process of this piece by sitting in a room with Pablo for over an hour and asking him questions about all aspects of his life. I asked him to tell me, among other things, about his childhood, his travels, his musical and performance preferences, his funniest jokes, his regrets, what he does at night, his plans for the future.
After sifting and resifting through the information, I came up with a list of essential characteristics that could be musically provocative as well as organized in a manner which has a linear chronological trajectory. However, I thought it would be more lifelike and fascinating if the clarity of the linear trajectory is challenged by subtrajectories with conflicting paths. When these paths cross, the result is often
a sudden rupture in the form, possibly sparking a rethinking of the direction in which the piece was headed.
The Canopy of Silence is not a Flamenco composition, yet it is deeply influenced by the virtuosity and energy of Flamenco performers, as well as the traditional Flamenco guitar playing techniques. The most prominent technique that I borrowed from the Flamenco style is what is called “rasgueado”. A rasgueado is a continuous series of rapid finger strokes of the right hand which blend together to produce a variety of rhythmic strumming effects on the guitar. A specialty of Pablo’s, this method of playing is powerful and vigorous.