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Fretboard Transformations
Journal of Music Theory (2018)
  • Jonathan De Souza, Western University
This article develops a transformational approach to the fretboard, starting from the intersection of frets and strings. To overcome formal limitations of earlier models, it extends these two dimensions without limit, and then defines varied intervals and transformations in generalized fretboard space. Musical examples in the essay involve guitar, mandolin, banjo, and ukulele, with extended analyses of pieces by Eddie Van Halen and Mark O’Connor. This investigation, with its blend of formalization and performance analysis, is framed by reflections on space, instruments, and embodiment, which juxtapose Lewinian thinking with the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
  • transformational theory,
  • performance analysis,
  • musical instruments,
  • phenomenology,
  • popular music
Publication Date
Spring 2018
Citation Information
Jonathan De Souza. "Fretboard Transformations" Journal of Music Theory Vol. 62 Iss. 1 (2018)
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