The microtonal guitar: Türkiye’s Segovia moment

Creative Commons License

Ünlenen E.

Rast Muzikoloji Dergisi, vol.11, no.4, pp.589-602, 2023 (Scopus)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.12975/rastmd.20231146
  • Journal Name: Rast Muzikoloji Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.589-602
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


The use of microtones in guitar music is not an innovative phenomenon as it is thought. It has been used

for different tuning systems and by composers working on non-12edo music throughout history. Although

this concept is not as widespread as conventional guitar music, many experimental studies have been

conducted to tune microtones more accurately. This article aims to present practical tools for the reader

on methods to produce microtones on the guitar, especially Tolgahan Çoğulu’s adjustable microtonal

guitar project, and the developments in microtonal guitar music in Türkiye since the project began in

2008 to 2021. The findings on this topic are shared from a guitar music specialist’s perspective. It aims to

be helpful, especially for guitarists who are unfamiliar with microtonal music approaches in guitar music.

The study consists of two parts. In the first part, the microtonal strategies in guitar music were compiled.

Practical ways to achieve microtones on conventional guitars, non-12edo fixed fret layouts, fretlets

concept, and movable fret guitars are examined individually, and their advantages and disadvantages

are listed in terms of their usability. In the second part, the attainments of the Adjustable Microtonal

Guitar Project were examined. By using the principles determined by Andres Segovia in the formation

of modern guitar music in the 1920s as a model, the composers who composed for this instrument, the

performers who used the instrument, the success in the presentation of the project in social media, the

awards it won in international competitions, microtonal guitar competitions and festivals, academic

and pedagogical studies were researched. The findings show that the adjustable microtonal guitar gives

precise results in tuning compared to the other strategies mentioned. Even though it causes difficulties

in changing the frets between different pieces in terms of time, it is the most suitable result for using

microtones on the guitar, as it makes it possible to perform all kinds of work. In the project’s short

history, the Adjustable Microtonal Guitar project crossed national borders and created its ecosystem with

the innovative efforts of the inventor.