Haze of the Sun

September 6, 2019

Haze of the Sun is my third work for looping pedal and solo guitar. It is easiest if the guitar has an internal pickup. The lineout from the pickup goes to the looping pedal, and then from the looper to an amplifier.

My approach is to set up a two or four measure loop and subsequently let the loop record indefinitely as more parts are added. As sections change, the continuous loop is erased with a new ones starting. Haze of the Sun has three sections and the first part combines some simple melodic lines and a couple of rhythmic figures.

The second section opens with a technique I learned from Leo Brouwer that he employed in l’Espiral Eterna. It asks the player to use the nail from a left hand finger to press a treble string down in the upper register where there are no frets. This produces a percussive click, which has a bit of pitch in the sound. At the beginning of the second section, I ask the player to press the string down over the sound hole hard enough that the edge of the wood functions like a fret. The first two 16ths have a sounding pitch that is a little higher than the theoretical 24th fret. I have written those pitches as high E with and 8va over them. This is only an approximate pitch – it will vary with each guitar. For the second two 16ths, the player should release the downward pressure so that the nail on the string produces a click with much less pitch in the sound. These notes are indicated with x shaped noteheads. In the third section I use this sound with a Brazilian clave rhythm. It sits around a high B and I suggest playing this on the second string, over the soundhole, using the wood edge as a fret.

The other technique used in these sections is sometimes called the snare drum effect. This requires one to cross a lower string over the next highest string in the area between frets seven and twelve. This is the middle third of the string length and the tension to hold the strings in place while playing is manageable. This percussive twang has a buzz, which is a bit like the snares rattling on a drum, but is also pitched like a Balaphon. I have notated these parts with square noteheads and approximate pitches. These indications give the pitch where the upper of the two strings would normally sound when fretted. Layers of rhythm build through each of these parts to the final descending chromatic line, which concludes with a single sound after the looping is stopped and erased.


William Beauvais
February 28, 2019
Toronto, Ontario