Sándor Szabó

Performing artist, Composer, Music researcher

The Art of the 16-string Guitar III

In 1981 in Debrecen, Hungary I saw Egberto Gismonti playing 10-string guitar, and I felt that concert was a sign showing me my new direction. The tonal possibilities of the multi-string guitars set my imagination on fire and I committed to playing guitars with more strings than the standard 6-string guitar. First I started with a 10-string classical, then later a 16-string guitar.
At that time I was not interested in making transcriptions of known pieces for 16-string guitar; instead, I wanted to compose, to create something new and special. I started to exclusively compose my music for 16-string guitar which brought me success and recognition in abroad .
I had a clear concept how to use the 16 string guitar: to extend the polyphony of the guitar and to discover the hidden possibilities. This is possible only if the guitar is shaped to the music which I imagined. My aim was to explore the unused potential of the 16-string guitar and express the deeper domains of the moods and emotions.

In 2004, the album called The Art of the 16-string Guitar I, then in 2006, The Art of the 16-string Guitar II was released. After these releases, I introduced the 16-string guitar music on several guitar and jazz festivals in countries like Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, and USA.

In 2015, the third album, The Art of the 16-string Guitar III was released. Compared with the first two CDs, this album is a step ahead in many aspects. I used nylon strings with a special string setup, some new intervallic tunings, and a refined picking technique.

My 16-string guitars were built by the very talented master luthier Tihamér Romanek. Using his experiences in lute building, he built some extended range 16-string guitar for me in a new way and as a result they sound unique. In these albums, I attempt to express my honor for his craftsmanship.

The pieces on this album were born in clear intuition. I let the music flow from its source and I did not let it be shaped by outer influences and trends. In the beginning of my career, I influenced by Oriental and European classical music, folk, and jazz music, so all these influences built up a filter in my musical being; working in the moment of inspiration to make my music so personal.

Vác, Hungary 10. December 2015 Sándor Szabó

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