I’ve realized that my air guitar performance will be deeply indebted to people, whose music I have borrowed and who will never know that I performed air guitar to their compositions in a Hard Rock Cafe in Boston. Those people are as follows: an amateur Japanese guitarist named Suzuto (w/ piano accompaniment from his friend Yuki), a French guitarist named Tina S, a German composer named Ludwig van Beethoven, and a Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin.
I found videos of Suzuto performing Chopin (“Nocturne in C-sharp Minor (Guitar and Piano) – Chopin”) and Tina performing Beethoven (“Ludwig van Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement Tina S Cover”) on YouTube. These were among a handful of videos that piqued my interest, and I downloaded them as MP3s. I put them all in GarageBand and began experimenting with their component parts. How could I combine these various MP3s to form a cohesive 60-second composition and choreography? What would make for a good intro? What would make for a good climax? What would make for a good final chord?
Condensing these performances into 60 seconds proved to be its own challenge, since I had to do all kinds of little tweaks to the tracks: extend certain notes, cut out certain drum parts, tweak the keys to make them fit (a sprinkle of auto-tune here and there), and keep the whole thing moving in a logical way. In the back of my mind is a certain choreography.
I imagine that I will start out with my back turned towards the audience, and I will finger the piano. My track begins with a piano progression (the Chopin piece). The electric guitar enters at about 5 seconds into the song. I will begin playing the slow air guitar solo, with my back still towards the audience. About 10 seconds into the track (as the solo picks up intensity), I will turn to the audience, revealing my fake beard and facial expressions. At about 30 seconds into the song, the track stops and drum clicks begin. Afterwards, the 3rd Movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 kicks in. The energy picks up dramatically in my track, and the guitar playing begins using finger tapping. I will simulate finger tapping both with my left and right hands. During the pause between Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor and Beethoven, I might take my sports coat off, revealing that my dress shirt has the sleeves cut off of it. This visual move will heighten the intensity of the tempo shifts in the track. Plus, I have one arm that looks extremely buff, since it’s swollen with bulging veins due to my blood clot. Hopefully no one notices how skinny my other arm is by contrast! The piece ends with the first chord of Chopin (the same clip that began the whole thing). I’m hoping to turn back around at this point, pretend to gain composure and then play the final chord, again with my back turned towards the audience. The whole thing should play out like I’m playing the piano, daydreaming about electric guitar, and then returning to my day job at the piano.
I’m clearly borrowing styles from a lot of famous air guitarists as well. I think my costume will point to The Marquis, and the classical music will no doubt signal C-Diddy for many air guitarists. But I think I’ve selected an original enough progression to warrant decent scores.
Now I need to focus on the choreography. I think I’ve kept my edits simple enough to give a lot of flexibility to the choreography. I feel like I’ll have to figure out choreography and costuming in tandem, since some of my moves may be determined by how my clothes hide or accentuate parts of my body. Now I think I’ll close the blinds in my apartment and stand in front of the mirror to practice my moves…