© CHEN Chengwen

guitar tuning live

for electronic sounds and two musicians on one guitar (2018), 25 min.

The “tuning live” in the title has two meanings:

Firstly, in front of the eyes and ears of the audience, the guitar is gradually tuned down until the vibrations of the strings can no longer be heard. This irreversible process determines the structure and at the same time the content of the music. All decisions are unique.

Second: The guitar is brought to “life”. Here we are confronted with different creation myths: The Bible tells of the creation of the world – from light to man – within seven days. In the Zhuangzi (one of the two Daoism classics, ca. 476-221 BC) a different story is told: Origin has no face. One day his two neighbors wanted to do something good for Origin and decided that they would give him a human face to hear, see, eat and breathe. So they started drilling an opening for Origin every day. On the seventh day Origin was dead. In other words: a “man” was born, the state as origin was ended.

It is said that the guitar string that no longer vibrates audibly is tuned “dead”, because the frequency of the vibration is below the human hearing limit. But the power of the vibration remains and, transformed into another form, that could be seen (movement) and felt (heartbeat/rhythm) by people.


24.11. 2019 | Plantage 13 Bremen | Exercitium | HörenSehen 2019 | Tobias Klich, CHEN Chengwen, Vincent Michalke
05.08. 2018 | Vehring’s garden in the Hachetal (Syke) | Die Wiederaufnahme der Zeit | GartenKultur-Musikfestival | Tobias Klich, iSaAc Espinoza Hidrobo, CHEN Chengwen