Luther College student researches electric guitar usage in compositions

August 16, 2017

The electric guitar is rarely heard in chamber ensembles, but new-age composers are working to expand the instrument’s role within the Western classical tradition. This summer, Andrew Murray, Luther College senior of North Mankato, Minnesota, is researching different styles and unique arrangements in compositions for the electric guitar.

Murray, son of Tom and Ann Murray of North Mankato, is a 2014 Loyola High School graduate.

“The guitar is not commonly seen in this sort of context, electric guitar especially. It has never really been a ‘chamber instrument’ like an oboe or a viola is. It’s an instrument that can function as a lead and a harmony instrument and it can create an incredible number of sounds and textures. When pedals, electronics, and other accessories are added to the mix, the possibilities for sound become infinite,” Murray said.

He is working with Brooke Joyce, Luther associate professor of music and composer-in-residence, on this project.

Murray said his goal “is to create music that is different because of its instrumentation and demonstrate how the guitar can work with classical instruments. Guitar has a fairly limited presence in general at Luther and I’m hoping this project helps to increase the instrument’s visibility.”

The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther’s academic core.

The results of the project will be presented at Luther’s Student Research Symposium in 2018.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: