The Chapman Stick ®
Created by Emmett Chapman, a Californian musician and luthier, in 1969 and marketed in 1974, the Chapman Stick® is a stringed instrument of a totally revolutionary new conception. With 10 or 12 strings depending on the model, divided into two groups, the bass string group (5 or 6 strings) and the melodic string group (5 or 6 strings) it allows the development of a new polyphonic two-handed string tapping method know as “Free Hands” as per Emmet’s lesson books starting in 1974. Tapping because the strings are tapped with the fingers, like the hammers of a piano, and not scraped. And polyphonic because both hands play independently, the left hand taking care of the bass group and the right hand of the melodic group. The left hand developing on the bass lines, the basic chords, the right hand on the melody, the chords and their extensions.
All this makes the Stick player lean more on the side of a keyboard playing (on a neck with strings) than on the side of a traditional guitar, but with all the expressive nuances you can have on a string : vibrato, glissendo, slide, bender. A kind of guitar/bass/piano with an incomparable sound.
Emmett Chapman website : stick.com
New instrument, new language. It is by noting the absence of literature for this instrument that came to us the idea to develop a new musical notation system dedicated to the Stick® : stickmusicscores.
The scores are composed of three systems. A first double system of solfeggio type: bass clef (for the bass) and treble clef (for the melodic block). A second double system of tablature type. But specially created tablatures for the Stick®. One representing the 6 bass strings and the second the 6 melodic strings. The whole working like classical tablatures: rhythmic notation and number corresponding to the frets.
And finally a G key line for the melody and the lyrics if it’s a song. To allow to rhythmically position the Stick part in relation to the melody in the arrangement.
The whole being declined in 2 versions. One for the standard tuning and a second one for the Matched Reciprocal tuning (one whole tone down on melodic group). These scores are written at the beginning for the 12 strings Stick®, for the 10 strings a small work of adaptation of fingering will be necessary. But the versions differ little, that’s why we didn’t think it was necessary to make a specific version for the 10 strings.
The songs are presented in their tonality to allow you to play back the original recordings. If some songs seem too high pitched to you (pop singers often sing very high pitched !) and therefore very high up the neck, especially for the Matched Reciprocal versions, you will be able to transpose it a few tones lower once you know the title well. The Stick® easily allows this. Same if you want to sing the song and the melody is too high for you. But be reassured that the case occurs rather little on the whole of the proposed pieces.
Also present in the folder to download a text file to talk about the piece, its history, its conception, the way to work it etc … and an audio file extracted from the score software.
We have chosen a very varied repertoire encompassing a wide variety of styles: classical, pop (Beatles, Bowie, Sting …) jazz standards and pop 60’s / 70’s.
We have also thought about a classification of difficulties : easy / intermediate / advanced. All this is obviously just given as an indication.
And finally pedagogical pdf files, in free access, dedicated at first mainly to the harmony with the Stick.
At the same time, lessons (by Skype or Zoom) will be proposed. Do not hesitate to contact us.
The English version of the site was created by us with the help of the online translator DeepL. English speaking friends if you have suggestions for wording leave us your comments on the blog page.
The Chapman Stick® is an exclusive trademark of Stick Entreprises.