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Invention, Contribution & Adding To The Literature

December 16th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

A little less than a decade ago was a rather difficult time in my life. I went through a tremendously tumultuous relationship – it was hard on me on an emotional level.

I sank. I deflated. I submerged.

I lost breath.

I lost energy.

I lost motivation.

I lost direction.

I lost everything…

There was no emotional explosion, no lashing out; just a deep turn inward. I felt as if an abyss had opened up inside of me and I was the seer and beholder of it all.

One evening as I sat in a delirious and disillusioned state I felt my insides twist and burn with irregular and personal pain that was personally perceived as intolerable. I sat myself up in bed, edged my way to the front corner of it and focused the gaze of my eyes to the acoustic guitar sitting in the crook of where two walls meet. I did not want to get up. I did not want to move. But there that box of wood and strings was sitting – staring back at me; begging to be picked up.

I let out a geriatric groan and walked toward the guitar. I picked it up, sat back on my bed and rested my chin on top of the sound box. I stared at the strings half-heartedly, somewhat disdainfully. I strummed the strings in standard tuning and felt the sameness of the standard tuning sound silently enrage me. I just kept on strumming; lazily, thoughtfully – plucking every string from the top string all the way down to the bottom string. Feeling my spirit sink even lower, I glanced at the tuning knobs and wondered “What would happen if I fiddled around with all 6 of those things and tuned them in a way that would represent how I was feeling inside?”

For the next hour I just kept on strumming the strings openly (not depressing any fret on any string) while playing with the 6 silver knobs. As I continued to fiddle, I felt only one feeling…HOLLOW.

I turned each and every knob down until I felt I was doing the feeling of “Hollow” justice.

What resulted was this, a new guitar tuning;


Or C (6th string), F (5th string), C (4th string), C (3rd string), G (2nd string), A (1st string).

And I must say that there is a co-inventor of this new guitar tuning. His name is Josh Voss and he is an exceptionally talented musician and teacher that worked with me to tweak this new tuning into its perfect state of hollowness.

Co-invention is always more fun isn’t it?

Incidentally, and as an aside, I felt you, if only in a naturally induced hallucinogenic state that night, watching over me – making sure I was alright.

Is emotional swelling a driver of invention? You tell me.

Much as I may not like it, someone, something, or some mysterious force has influenced me to rehash this troubling memory and finish what I had started originally.

And I have. It is done. We have got it. Now we need extra minds to caress it, shape it, and accentuate it into something more than it already is. I hope you will help me (whoever ‘you’ is). ¬†

Matthew Polkinghorne

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