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    Adam Greene     composer


Purchase print score here
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Sample score pages

Ogygia 1 Ogygia 7 Ogygia 13 Ogygia 14

Ogygia (2023)

solo electric guitar
duration ca. 12’
SMMP No. 130

Colin McAllister, March 21, 2023, Chapman Recital Hall, UCCS

Technical requirements
• 6-string electric guitar (fixed bridge recommended), guitar slide
• 2 amplifiers, preferably tube amps that are voice matched and equipped with effects loops
• The following guitar pedal effects, either as individual units or as part of multi-effects systems: volume pedal, wah-wah, compressor, overdrive (medium gain, Klon type preferred), Big Muff-style fuzz pedal, ring modulator, phaser, harmonizer (2 octaves up), stereo delay, stereo reverb, and two looper pedals capable of storing .wav files. A utility pedal for splitting a mono signal into stereo (i.e., ABY) may be needed in some situations. Very long series may also benefit from a buffer pedal late in the chain.

For .wav files for loops contact

Program Note
His eyes were always tearful; he wept sweet life away, in longing to go back home…. By day he sat out on the rocky beach, in tears and grief, staring in heartbreak at the fruitless sea.

-The Odyssey (5.151-158)
(trans. Emily Wilson

While composing this piece I was drawn to the chapter in Homer’s Odyssey in which Odysseus is stranded on Calypso’s island for 7 years, left to contemplate his failed Nostos*, his lost crew, and the unknown fate of Penelope and the rest of his family on Ithaca. It is a situation that suggests an interior drama in which the protagonist is mired in thoughts of disaster and despair.

I approached the composition of Ogygia by saturating it in metaphor, particularly as I considered the use of the electric guitar and an assortment of effects devices. The use of dual delays suggests an echo chamber, as when one cannot escape the tortuous thoughts of self-doubt. Pre-recorded loops, appearing occasionally, resemble those recurrent, “negative” thoughts that plague the mind. The altered tuning of the guitar produces sounds that are beguiling yet foreign, with the frequent deployment of sustained, natural harmonics foregrounding this strange environment. The slide section that opens the piece indicates a mind adrift. As the piece progresses, distortion is added to the sound world, itself a metaphor for both agitation and fragmentation. As in The Odyssey, Ogygia does not present avenues for escape for the protagonist. Rather, the dramaturgy is one of intensification over time, often illustrated by obsessive, recursive behaviors.

Ogygia is the second piece in the Nostos series for electric guitar, each of which explores various ideas from The Odyssey. It is dedicated with great affection and thanks to the guitarist Colin McAllister.

(*Greek: The epic hero’s return)