No 64 Geomungo (2018)
For Three Geomungos (or similar combinations of hammered/struck strings)
First Performance: July 20 2018, International Gugak Workshop, Seoul, Korea
Instrumentation: Three Geomungos
In 2018 I had the good fortune of attending the International Gugak Workshop for traditional Korean instruments in Seoul. For the final presentation concert the group of composers were invited to write short pieces for setups of their liking. Having developed a fascination for one of the most curious and primal of zither instruments, the Geomungo (an instrument I spent painful days trying to master during the workshop), I decided to experiment a little with three of them, using some of the ideas I was working on at the time with the unison restrung guitar (as employed first in Environments). The piece is scored for the lowest three strings of the instruments (characteristically all in Bb), with each of the instruments alternately striking their strings along a perpetually evolving rhythm. In two processes of gradual detuning the two outer instruments then lower and raise their 4th strings by about 50 cents while gradually introducing the 5th and finally the (magnificent) 6th string into the ongoing rhythm.