Echoes of a Lost Music

Music half remembered, half forgotten. Songs absorbed through the womb. The waking remnants of a melody composed in dreaming. The air still moving infinitesimally to every sound that ever was. The echoes; the chord of resonance; the music of the spheres.

Guitarist Matthew Marshall, who commissioned the work and gave its première in 2009. Photo courtesy Matthew Marshall

In 2009 I was commissioned by guitarist Matthew Marshall to write something for a tour he was planning of New Zealand. Matthew already had an impressive contemporary repertoire for the classical guitar but had recently embraced the electric as well. Having acquired a Boss DD-20 digital delay pedal, he wanted something that would explore this very different sound world to best effect.

Being rather critical of many so-called 'looping' pieces - the way the loops restrict both form and development and often encourage a lazy kind of layering of sound, I resolved to rise to this challenge by researching deeply into the untapped potential of this device. After many months of trial and error, pushing the loop pedal to its extremes, adding EBow (a hand-held electromagnetic device for sustaining notes) and re-tuning the guitar microtonally, I found a music that I'd long felt in my bones but never before quite been able to express; an ambient music, one that dared only to hint at ideas; music that could perhaps go on forever.

The work was premiered in Tauranga, New Zealand, on 5th August 2009 and was subsequently toured around both North and South Island. After I began performing the music myself in June 2011, a succession of revisions and improvements gradually evolved, the piece finally settling on its definitive form by the autumn of 2013.

'In The Flesh', Emma Jane Louvelle's choreography of Echoes of a Lost Music, with music performed live on stage. Top: In rehearsal. Bottom: in performance. Photos courtesy Nadine Bauer

As well as concert performances, the music was choreographed by Louvelle Dance, both dance and music being given live on stage.

Christopher Best Echoes of a Lost Music Sample page
How to purchase 

Full score with player's instructions available for FREE download. Anyone wishing to perform this work should please inform me via the CONTACT page.

Original version 
30 mins
Electric Guitar, EBow, Boss DD-20 Giga-delay pedal

Christopher Best Echoes of a Lost Music Tuning file.mp3

STRING TUNING AID. To download right click on the player and select 'Save Audio As'
First performance 
Tauranga, New Zealand, 5th August 2009
Commissioned by