Année de composition
10 minutes

For a long time, I wanted to write a piece using the techniques of the flamenco guitar. It was the meeting with the guitarist Rafael Andia that allowed me to carry out this project.

Tellur is a kind of bet: how to produce, with an instrument with short and pinched sounds such as the guitar, the sound continuums necessary for my compositional work, which at the time was essentially focused on processes, transitions, evolutions? The answer was to use the rasgueado technique, and even, in a more general way, the style of playing, the types of sound of flamenco.

The treatment of the attacks on the string, for example, is particularly fine and meticulous: we manage to produce two textures evolving in different directions on the same string, at the same time (by dissociating the sound made by the percussion of the nails on the strings – a sound with a precise and controllable frequency – and the sound coming from the resonance of the strings).

I also use progressive passages from sound to noise (gradual muffling of the strings), the gradual appearance of harmonic sounds, harmonic resonances of plated chords, fingering of new harmonics, multiple trills combining left and right hands, etc.

Tellur is a typical example of a score whose content is essentially derived from the sound material provided by the instrument – an instrument, however, that is heard and used in a way that makes it bend to stylistic imperatives – seeking as much interaction as possible between basic material and musical writing. The instrument is tuned in a special way, which allows the use of chords or rasgueado formulas on the six strings without falling back on the inevitable mi-la-re-g-si-mi of the guitar.


Tristan Murail

Création mondiale
April 26th, 1977 | Salle Cortot, Paris
Éditions Musicales Transatlantiques

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