Discoveries in “The Happy Couple”
When I first engaged with John’s transcriptions of Michael Hedges’ music, I was overwhelmed by information. No, overwhelmed isn’t the right word – it was something more like being overfull; my cup was full past the brim of what I could process. In an article published in Fingerstyle Guitar called “Little Gremlins,” John and Michael play out one way to breakdown the opening measures of “Ragamuffin,” presenting ideas for practice. I did something even more reductive with “The Happy Couple” when I first encountered it, and I feel it was the gateway to learning right-hand string-stopping. This continues to be my approach to absorbing the rich transcriptions available through stropes.com. I wanted to reduce a passage down to very discrete steps, so that I could look at each step individually and troubleshoot it. Printed music can be so dense with information that it can be easy to miss nuances. If…
In 1985 I began working with Michael Hedges to notate his music, and in 1990 I offered the first class to an eager group of students at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. These students were, in fact, a focus group, testing the notation to see if it was up to the task.
announcing the notation project
Music notation for finger-style guitar is a curious enterprise. It draws on a long history of trying to figure out a way to describe music on paper — to transmit information that will allow others to recreate that music.