Book of Heads’ playlist

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The Book of Heads (1978), composed by John Zorn, is a set of 35 etudes for solo guitar. It was recorded and released in 1995, and featured Marc Ribot. The piece uses multiple extended techniques.

Condensed from roughly 80 other compositions, the work was originally composed for Eugene Chadbourne. Zorn learned the extended techniques from Chadbourne, and used them to create a piece that would push Chadbourne’s virtuosity to new levels. Zorn incorporated new techniques, such as rubbing balloons on the guitar strings until they pop, holding talking dolls up to the microphone, pulling the guitar strings out of the bridge notch, hitting the strings with pencils, and playing with rice. He also used classical guitar techniques, such as hitting the body of the guitar and multiple harmonics.

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