Eric Hofbauer Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Educator

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Prof Hof’s Thirty Nearly Impossible Études for Guitar Duo – For Sale! and Downbeat Review.


My new Étude book is available at Amazon.com and was recently reviewed in Downbeat Magazine. What follows is a bit of the introduction which may pique your curiosity to the challenges awaiting advancing guitarists in these pages. More content (video performances etc. ) coming summer 2017. Enjoy!

From the Introduction to Prof Hof’s Thirty Nearly Impossible Études for Guitar Duo

The traditional goal of an étude is to help a musician develop mastery through the exploration and execution of a particular set of challenging technical, harmonic, or rhythmic concepts. This collection of thirty guitar duets, at its heart, keeps with that tradition. In every duet there are several challenging concepts working in concert to push the players toward mastery. Each étude has a harmonic, rhythmic/temporal, articulation/timbral, and technical challenge to work on. Twenty-four études focus on key centers (one for each major and minor key), while the last six deal with modern harmonic topics of polytonality and twelve-tone melody. The rhythmic/temporal concepts range from the expected (syncopation extremes, various tuplets, and odd meters) to the unorthodox (mixed meters, polyrhythms, and polypulse).

Often overlooked by guitarists is the vast and diverse ways of playing pitch on the instrument. These collected études cover a full range of articulation and timbral choices available on the instrument, including hammer-on and pull-off combinations, scoops, slides, harmonics, muted pitch, vibrato, and other percussive effects. Technical concerns are predominantly the focal point of any étude collection and this one keeps to that maxim. The demands are very guitar specific. In addition to speed and accuracy, there are études that involve extreme range, unfamiliar chord voicings, block chord melodies, double stops, independent counterpoint melody for one guitar, nonadjacent string melodic leaps, and extended techniques.

What my colleagues are saying.

“ It is exciting to see a folio of new music written by a masterful player and for my favorite format: the guitar duo. My heart soared when I saw that it utilized all the various devices that are part and parcel of today’s modern improvising guitarists. We will make great use of these wonderful pieces. Bravo, Eric!” – Dave Tronzo

 “Challenging, beautiful, contemporary pieces of music for the guitar, that will expand the skills of anyone who plays them.”Joe Morris

 “Boston has a grand tradition of musical pedagogical wizardry: Professor Hofbauer’s étude book is an important addition to that longstanding practice. These études will force you out of your guitar somnambulism and eject you into the beautiful and mysterious topography of the guitar.”  – Brandon Seabrook

“These challenging and enjoyable studies should help the motivated guitarist expand his or her technical abilities. They are also great sight reading exercises.” – Ben Monder

“Eric Hofbauer has written a sensitive and in-depth body of etudes that helps students grasp basic guitar playing concepts in a musical context. The musical context is important given that I’ve seen many thorough melodic and rhythm studies for the guitar that help guitarists gain a better understanding of the fretboard, but are written in a very dry and unmusical manner.

I particularly like the fact that Prof. Hof’s etudes can be played in any style and in the 21st century this is vital! Having been part of so many hybrid bands that play in different styles I think a method that approaches this issue is important for the budding player and helps them on their way to finding their own sound in our ever shrinking global village.” – Dave Fiuczynski

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