Destroy My Heartstrings

As a guitarist, I am interested in exploring ways of presenting sonically ideas surrounding gender and the electric guitar. Guitar and gender have been widely discussed in pop culture as well as academia, with both addressing similar questions of why there aren’t more female guitarists becoming as commercially successful as their male counterparts and how our relationship to the instrument differs in comparison to men.

For inspiration I decided to seek out music by female guitar players that didn’t conform to conventional ‘guitar music’ used in folk, blues, indie rock or metal. This included Susan Alcorn, an experimental lap steel guitarist who uses a lot of extended techniques such as balancing slate on the strings and creating drones as seen in this improvisation: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l187khHMzIs). I felt that this was an interesting approach because of the way it treated the instrument as as a tool for exploration. In addition to this, I was interested in No-Wave bands such as Bikini Kill and the ‘deskilled’ approaches to the guitar used in songs such as ‘Thurston Hearts the Who’ . Although I felt that Bikini Kill in some ways were conforming to the ‘bad girl’ punk which proves the rule of guitar representing masculine traits such as rebellion and aggression, I was interested using the instrument as more of a ‘noise maker’  through their approach to the instrument rather than focusing on generating musical material such as licks, chords or harmonic progressions commonly used in guitar-based music.

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