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Edwin Culver: a bridge a-way, exits within (for solo guitar)

Digital Sheet Music

By Edwin Culver

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Solo Guitar - Level 3 - Digital Download
Composed by Edwin Culver. 20th Century, Contemporary. Individual part. 4 pages. Edwin Culver #4347575. Published by Edwin Culver (A0.1032084).

Item Number: A0.1032084

Classical Guitar Solo - Intermediate
Composed by Edwin Culver (1992-) 4 Pages.  Duration 7'30"

Composer's note: 

Have you ever felt stuck? Trapped by something you can’t fully understand no matter how hard you try?  Perhaps it’s something from our past that we never invited...or something we’ve missed in our closest relationships, maybe it’s just the dread we’ve felt waking up early in the morning to repeat the daily grind.  We work hard to try and propel ourselves out of this nightmare, but we never seem to get totally free, in fact sometimes it feels like we’re just making ourselves feel worse by failing to overcome it yet again. This piece, "...a bridge a-way, exits within," represents that feedback loop, that "stuckness."    

The piece came to me when I felt stuck in life by several things - old scars, old habits, crippling emotions.  I had been wanting to write something in a minimalist style for the guitar for quite some time and the "repetition" found in so much minimalist music seemed like the obvious way for expressing this "stuckness."  There’s constant motion in the piece, just like when we try to take constant action in our lives to improve our circumstances. But all this motion never seems to get us anywhere new. We’re spinning our wheels…

But one of the interesting things about great minimalist music is that it’s not merely about repetition.  I don’t believe the greatest minimalists were concerned with having "less stuff" in their music for the sake of having less.  Instead, what I think they more often aimed for was producing the biggest emotional impact that they could through the tiniest of changes.  And if in your mind’s eye you zoom out from one of these minimalist masterworks and perceive it on a grand scale, you realize that despite all the seemingly redundant repetition in the moment the piece actually covers a huge distance because all those tiny changes add up.

Likewise, in "...a bridge a-way, exits within," it seems like the performer can’t free himself from the territory of the first position on the guitar for the longest time.  Even when he does venture higher up the instrument he’s always inextricably pulled back to the starting point. But small changes can have a profound impact.

It doesn’t feel like we’re making headway whenever we’re having to crawl out of our skin - until, suddenly, when it’s all over.  And you hear this towards the end of the piece, when there’s a sudden magnetic force that pulls the music from a low A to a high E-natural.  From A to E, "a bridge to exits eternal."
The bridge has been found within, in the One I’ve put my trust in, because I can’t reach my eternal destiny on my own.   

This is "...a bridge a-way, exits within."

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