Like Water for Guitar Trio Op. 69

…empty your mind—be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash—be water my friend.”

-Bruce Lee

Like Water for Guitar Trio, Op. 69
Duration: c. 10′

Writing for multiple instruments of the same timbre, same range, and same historical functionality, is a challenge. And an odd number of them! A single guitar can simultaneously play melody and accompaniment. It can even play a four-voice fugue in a pinch. Figuring out the utility of tripling this already versatile instrument was the first hurdle. A few strategies emerged: overlapping minimalistic polymetric waves in the outer movements, a burbling tremolando chorale in the middle movement, registrally spread tutti rasgueado, octave doubling aplenty. All of the resultant flowing and crashing made me think of the above Bruce Lee quote. I find the peace quite beautiful—expressive in a capricious way that nevertheless settles into a micro-level kinesis that is nonetheless ultimately static at the macro-level, like viewing glinting sunlight against a lake’s surface.

-Zane Merritt

9-18-2023

*the following contains a score in 11×17 landscape formatting–if you want separate parts for each guitar and/or a score in portrait for easier tablet usage, just contact me and I will provide free of charge.

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