By Liam Monheim, VI Form
Open C Tuning Improvisation with the Guitar (Video)
During the winter season, I was granted an ACE (Athletic Commitment Exemption, or a season without afternoon sports) in order for me to focus on practicing the guitar. I used this time not only to improve my improvisation skills, but to teach myself a completely new way of approaching the instrument. I learned how to play in an alternative tuning called open C tuning. Standard guitar tuning from lowest string to highest uses pitches EADGBE. In order to make a chord, you must finger the strings with your left hand. However, when you strum the strings in open C tuning without doing any fingering with the left hand, it creates a C Major chord. This means learning new chord fingerings, but it also opens up a sonic richness in the instrument. (Click on picture to play video)
My solo performance (Click here for video) is a structured improvisation using open C tuning. By structured improvisation I mean that I follow a similar structure each time I play it but I decide in the moment what, how, and why I play a certain part.