Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE

Sequitur VIII

for electric guitar and live-electronics

Dedicated to Seth Josel

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Karlheinz Essl · Sequitur VIII (2008)- for electric guitar and live-electronics

Sequitur VIII performed by Karlheinz Essl
Recorded at Studio kHz on 14 Jan 2009


Having played the electric guitar as a rock-obsessed teenager, I re-discovered it 25 years later. In the meantime, I have studied composition and musicology and became heavily involved with electronic and computer music. Working as a composer writing complex musical scores I felt more and more the desire to re-connect to those ecstatic times when I was performing on stage with my electric guitar. But first I developed my own idiosyncratic electronic instrument called m@ze°2 (1998 ff.) which I am still using for free improvisation and live performances.

In 2007, I was ready for another change when the handling with MIDI controllers, graphic tablets, keyboards, computer mouses and pedals became more and more insufficient. I was seeking for an instantaneous, tactile input device to be included into my live-electronic setup. First I was thinking of a custom-made wooden resonance box equipped with strings, contact microphones and pickups that could be plucked, bowed, beaten and scratched. As such a device had to be constructed first (and I am not really good at tinkering) I suddenly realized that a common electric guitar already fulfilled most of my requirements. So I bought myself a Steinberger electric guitar — the most compressed instrument of its kind — and started to study the almost forgotten playing techniques again.

Fortunately, as the body obviously has a strong memory, I got back very quickly to the status of playing that I had 25 years ago. However, meanwhile my musical mind has completely changed: Not being primarily interested in re-adapting those powerful rock clichés, I tried to develop a fresh view onto the electric guitar. First of all I decided not to use a plectrum at all and to develop a personal finger-picking technique which incorporates several elements that I used when playing the double bass. Then I discovered the possibilities of an E-Bow, which serves as a wonderful substitution for the standard bow. Later I became familiar with tapping technique and the use of a volume pedal in order to shape the envelope of the sound.

With these achievements, I wrote a piece for electric guitar and live-electronics in the beginning 2008 as part of my Sequitur project. This cycle advertently relates to the famous "Sequenze" of Luciano Berio as an attempt to write a series of pieces which take advantage of the idiosyncratic instrumental possibilities - and confront them with a realtime sound processing environment that has its own secret life.

In 2009, the instrumental part of this piece was transformed into a composition called Chemi(s)e for electric guitar and ensemble, written for Stefan Östersjö and Ensemble Reconsil.


The score of Sequitur VIII can be downloaded for free. Please note that the music is protected by copyright.


Alexey Potapov performing Sequitur VIII
Berlin, 14 Nov 2023

Carlo Siega performing Sequitur VIII
Venice, 26 Nov 2015

Tim Brady performing Sequitur VIII
Portrait Concert Karlheinz Essl
Montreal, 23 Sep 2011

Seth Josel performing Sequitur VIII
TRANSMISSIONS: New Music for Electric Guitar
Klosterneuburg, 19 May 2010

Karlheinz Essl performing Sequitur VIII himself
SOUND MARKS: Solo Performance Karlheinz Essl
Berlin, 23 Jun 2009

Karlheinz Essl performing Sequitur VIII himself
A-m@ze-ing: Portrait Karlheinz Essl
Klagenfurt, 15 Jan 2009

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Updated: 22 Nov 2023