Here’s digital music of a different variety: the stunningly-modern music of Hungarian composer Bela Bartók, transcribed for four electric guitars. Where’s the computer? Glad you asked: think computer music software (Notion, which looks lovely here), and an iPad and Bluetooth page turner.

There’s no way you’re playing this string quartet and turning pages, unless you have three hands.

Guitarist Joe Gore – playing with guitarists Joe Gore, Joe Gore, and Joe Gore – tackles this epic score, and demonstrates just how great it sounds on electric guitar. It’s worth reading his whole story, which deservedly waxes poetic about the beauty of Bartók’s composition and extended techniques. (The playing technique, for instance, comes straight from the string quartet, even though it goes nicely on electric guitar.)

This also must be the first time Hello Kitty has been associated with this music.

Read: Meet the REAL Spiders from Mars! Bartók on Electric Guitar [tonefiend]

The tech ingredients, from our time rather than Bartók’s forward-looking 1928 composition:

Notion music notation software. That tool gains added significance with the uncertain future of Sibelius. Read Joe’s review, under the heading The Best Music Notation Software for Guitarists?

PageFlip Cicada Bluetooth-based page turned for iPad.

Notion has some nice features, particularly the iPad integration, though I’m disappointed the range of notation features isn’t wider. (Then again, that disappoints me with most software, which tends to the conservative – partly the fault of the complexities of modern notational demands.)

We hope to have more from Joe here on CDM soon.

Bartok, awesome, angular music, awesome, angular nose. Photo (CC-BY) cuttlefish.

Bartok, awesome, angular music, awesome, angular nose. Photo (CC-BY) cuttlefish.

And here’s the music:

  • OutlandSound

    Very cool. I’ve always wanted to do something similar with Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night at least the first 5 minutes but that’s a whole project in and of itself.

    • Joe Gore

      Talk about your “verklärte,” man! :)

  • MTM

    feeling that Hello Kitty look

  • Genjutsushi

    Lovely music, great on guitar… But is the hello kitty guitar actually plugged in?

    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, he confesses on that – it’s not plugged in as it isn’t being played:

      “The one fake-out: I actually played the first violin part with my Hamer 20th Anniversary, not the Hello Kitty Strat. But, well, you know.”

      I think that Hello Kitty, though, embodies some of the *spirit* of this project. You feel the Hello Kitty in the music. 😉

    • Genjutsushi

      i love the Kitty and Bad Bad Maru Squiers.. always wanted to rock one of those at some uber serious geek gig

    • Bear

      The Hello Kitty guitar was a running gag for Joe’s blog for a long while, getting photoshopped into all sorts of iconic pictures. Then he laid hands on one. Joe has actually used it as more than just a prop, at least around the blog.

    • Peter Kirn

      Oh, and that hat is all CGI. WETA did it.

  • vanceg

    How wonderful! My band in college did a rock band arrangement of the same piece – Two guitars, keyboards, bass, drums. I don’t have Joe’s chops (by a long shot) so perhaps that’s why our version didn’t sound quite as cool. I’ll blame it all on me…..

  • sicky

    super dope.

    hey what ipad stand is that on the glass table with hello kitty git?

    i always wanted metal legs…

    • Joe Gore

      Jim Dunlop, Sr., made it. I’m not sure whether he ever brought it to market, though.