A global approach to guitar tuition
: developing an electric guitar meta-canon

  • Daniel Lee

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    The study investigated the development of a meta-canon for the electric guitar by analysing the status of various compositions within the implicit standard repertoire of electric guitar. An international curriculum for instrumental electric guitar tuition based on a meta-canon of ten songs was then proposed. The meta-canon was designed with a specific goal of preparing an electric guitarist for work in the modern global music marketplace. A canon is a list of songs that have developed significant status within the standard repertoire of a musical instrument. A meta-canon is a refined list with a pedagogical function. The majority of Western art instruments already have their own canons with dedicated pieces written expressly for a specific pedagogical purpose. However, no formalised repertoire for the electric guitar has been established that caters for twenty-first century global developments in music.

    Focussing on the electric guitar’s role in Western popular music, this study extracted from various syllabuses and other relevant international sources a list of significant compositions suitable for the formulation of a meta-canon. The electric guitar meta-canon developed in the study has been assembled through; the analysis of each song’s historical and current significance in the idiom, pertinence in a current repertoire and its pedagogical value within a global education paradigm. Pedagogical value was gauged using established guitar curricula as an historical gauge for educational content. The study contained both quantitative data analysis and qualitative processes and was conducted using critical analysis as the methodology. International data sources were selected to represent a broad global perspective on the content. Triangulation was used to ensure the results were not biased and the selection criteria were set to ensure pedagogical value.

    A major finding of the research was that culturally significant compositions within the genre of electric guitar music contained pedagogical elements already found within existing instructional books. The results found that all the songs in the meta-canon were composed by artists from either the United Kingdom or the United States of America. Implications of the position of Australian guitar culture within the global paradigm, are discussed from a pedagogical perspective.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSharon Lierse (Supervisor)

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