A single black chair in a studio, facing a microphone at chair height.
Sam comes in and sits with his guitar on his lap. He's a young man with fair hair parted on one side, and he's wearing a pale collared shirt, dark trousers and lace-up shoes with brightly patterned aqua socks. He's also wearing an earpiece in his right ear.
He sticks a small dome with a cable running from it to the back of his guitar, where another electronic device is already taped in place.
Crossing his right leg over his left, he settles the guitar into the crook of his lap and positions his hands on the strings and the fretboard. The A, G and E strings are missing from his instrument.
He begins to play, incorporating plucking the three strings, sliding his fingers along them to make them squeak, tapping the wood of the guitar, and strumming. Sampling the sounds as he makes them, he plays them on loop like a backing track which builds on itself as he adds more layers.
Halfway through the recital, Sam pauses the looping backing track and plays a meandering melody on the strings.
In the last third of the recital Sam resumes playing to the accompaniment of his percussive loops, but finishes the piece with unaccompanied plucking of the strings in a rippling, ponderous melody.
When he has finished playing, Sam lets the last high note linger on before lowering his hands from the strings, getting up and leaving the studio with his guitar.
It’s not fair having 13 strings
“Limitations are universal, but if harnessed, can lead to triumphs of the imagination.”
Samuel was initially inspired by individuals who have all used commonly perceived imperfections to their advantage: Paralympian Aimee Mullens, guitarist composer Django Reinhardt, and professional rock climber Tommy Caldwell. Limitations are universal, but if harnessed can lead to triumphs of the imagination. Using these stories of triumph over adversity as his starting point, Sam challenged himself to think beyond the traditional in order to reinvent the classic.
It’s not fair having 13 strings is performed on a classical guitar with the A, G and E strings removed. The piece is an exploration of the contrast of tone, colour and range between the remaining strings, leading to the introduction of unorthodox hand tapping, manipulation of the fret board and silent finger movements around the instrument developing a synergetic relationship to external sound. An original piece of instrumentation, this work sees the reimagining of a traditional instrument.
Bachelor of Music (Interactive Composition), 2018
Bachelor of Music (Honours), 2019