The printed music for “Ready or Not” is sold as an individual transcription. Michael Hedges wrote the guitar part for “Ready or Not” and titled this composition before he wrote the lyrics. In 1985 he explained to a class that the melody itself contained the idea for the title.
In 1986 he released a version with guitar and flute chorus as part of the soundtrack for the children’s video Santabear’s First Christmas (Children’s Video Library, 5390). An audio recording of this soundtrack entitled Kelly McGillis & Michael Hedges/Santabear’s First Christmas was also issued (Windham Hill Records, WD-0700). (The video and audio recordings of Santabear’s First Christmas are no longer available.)
Then in 1987 “Ready or Not” was finally released in a live version for voice and guitar on Michael Hedges/Live on the Double Planet (Windham Hill Records, WD-1066).
This song consists essentially of two different parts, a verse and a chorus, each of which is 16 measures long. The technique involved in playing the guitar accompaniment for the verse is reasonably conventional with the exception, of course, of the right-hand string-stopping. The technique involved in playing the chorus is a substantially new technique for guitar. It consists of a well-integrated system of fairly odd right-hand techniques. The effect is distinctive and captivating.
“Ready or Not” was originally one of the titles under consideration for the book Michael Hedges/Rhythm, Sonority, Silence (Stropes Editions, Ltd, 1995, ISBN 0-9608512-1-6). To begin the process of analysis and codification, Michael had recorded a videotape in which he presented the important technical features of this piece. Ultimately it was decided not to include this composition in the book but to release it later. While this transcription corresponds generally to the version on Michael Hedges/Live on the Double Planet , it attempts specifically to represent Michael’s thoughts from this documentary video.