one guitar titles

02020-12-26 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

At first I wanted to keep the music pure and devoid of words. I devised a code, based on the time and date of the recording. Here is what I wrote about the code in early 2005:

All song titles will contain the date stamp of the original recording file, which I will turn into one continuous number. I will use military/european 24 hr time and a day/month/year configuration. If the original recording was made at 3:47PM on May 13th of 2005 the title of the track would be simply: 1547130505


Since there won’t be any sign-posts in the form of words in the title, the emotional content will need to be discovered by the listener on his/her own without any suggestions from me. It might be interesting to publish my thoughts on each track online a few weeks/months after release of the album.

This was based on my realization that music, especially instrumental music, is a co-creation that involves the performer AND the listener. Later I re-thought that concept and decided that a title is only a small signpost that can guide the listener to the section of the map that a piece of music might live on. Easily enough ignored in any case.

I figured out some of the titles myself and also asked a number of people, including several readers of this blog, to title a piece of their chooseing. The initials of those people follow the titles. The first title, Not One, Not Two, was given by JHR, Joan Halifax Roshi. The beautifully poetic title Nachtreisende Regentropfen (Night Traveling Raindrops) was given by BB – Boris Bartels.

In this spirit of co-creating I asked if a reader of my blog had taken a photo of me during my 2006 solo guitar guitar tour that I could use for the album cover. Ritch Fuhrer kindly sent me the photo on the album cover. For the inside photo I lit a lot of candles in my studio and took some long exposures with the camera on a tripod.
One Guitar


  1. y

    good post & good lesson. – “Since there won’t be any sign-posts in the form of words in the title, the emotional content will need to be discovered by the listener on his/her own without any suggestions from me”.

    (“insight/wisdom” is overrated – imo)

    Some excellent pieces of music !

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    ONE GUITAR is the work of a genius composer and guitar maestro.

    My favorite, right now, is LOOKING WEST UNTIL THE TRAIN DISAPPEARS. The flamenco flavor is intoxicating, and your treatment of it here is fascinating.

    I have to admit, these titles are beautiful, and I like the suggestions of them. While I am used to emerging way deep into pure music, it feels supportive to have an anchoring thought in words. As in LOOKING WEST UNTIL THE TRAIN DISAPPEARS, I sense the sound of the train at one Point. Would I have done it without the title? Maybe.

  3. Liz in Ohio

    “One Guitar” is one of my favorite albums. It’s great to listen to any time. The music is all at once calming and beautiful but also at times mysterious. It’s something that can be on in the background or it can be center stage to hear all the interesting nuances that happen in the music. I listen to it frequently. I remember you posting about the song titles being a timestamp. As a programmer, that is a logical way to name a file. But these are more than files. They are art and they deserve titles to make it easier to discuss them as art. It would feel odd (to me) to talk about what we like best about song “1547130505”. But I can easily say that I hear butterflies in “This Spring Release 10,000 Butterflies”. And I can see them in my mind too. To me, they are much more beautiful than numbers. (Although I know some people REALLY love numbers and that’s ok too. Maybe they would see numbers flying around like butterflies? That would be cool, actually!)

  4. Boris

    Ottmar, you just managed to make 2020 end on a high for me, by reading this entry. :-) One Guitar is such a wonderful album with so many beautiful pieces. And it was great to witness and be a little involved in the process. I remember how I tried to name all the songs just for myself before you published the final version, and then see what you and others have come up with. And at some point I thought what about no album title and no track listing at all?! But that is also a not so often mentioned side aspect of your creative work, that you always manage to find interesting, appealing, exciting, mysterious titles for the pieces! And yet, the main thing will probably always be to just let the music get into you, do something to you, create images in your mind. So thanks again, and since I have some time right now, I am off to listening into 1G, maybe start with Kono Michi or Red Desert Sky …

    • JaneParhamKatz

      Boris, I very much enjoyed your comments.


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