University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Improvising for solo jazz guitar : a whole-instrument approach to integrating single-line and polyphonic concepts

posted on 2023-05-27, 09:19 authored by Sherlock, JM
Historically within the jazz idiom, the guitar has predominantly functioned within ensembles of various sizes. A focus of this study is an investigation into the guitarist's potential to improvise completely unaccompanied, without the rhythmic security of drums or the harmonic and structural security of bass or piano. This requires not only a solid grounding in harmony, rhythm, and melody but also should incorporate integration of the melodic and accompaniment roles. This integration of roles is the key focus of this study. In jazz, the piano is the instrument most well-known for solo performance due to the obvious advantages of being able to play left and right hands independently. The guitar by comparison initially appears to have limited possibilities when played solo. This work seeks to find solutions for this problem as developed in my own practice through performance and reflective and investigative analysis; solutions that take advantage of the guitar's unique characteristics. The outcomes of this research will be documented in a folio of three recorded solo performance recitals and an accompanying exegesis outlining the key findings based on analysis of these performances. The findings will outline solutions to the problems associated with solo guitar performance and address the integration of chordal and melodic playing as well as vital rhythmic, melodic, harmonic and textural concepts.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 the author

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager