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Watch Brin Addison Perform Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata' on 1940s Harp Guitar

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jul 14, 2015 08:54 PM EDT

If you've never seen a contraguitar — more specifically, a 1940s Hubert Heerbeck harp guitar — then prepare to be bewildered. In a video posted to YouTube in June, guitarist Brin Addison performs Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata on the epic instrument.

Perhaps "Stairway to Heaven" would be more appropriate, but the instrument comes as a relic of an extraordinary musical past. The instrument was developed in Vienna in the 19th century and features six strings in standard tuning and nine sub-bass string tuned chromatically, low to high, from G to D#.

Addison is guitar player from Brussels and is part of the rock trio Guilt Monkey and says the piece and instrument are both very challenging to master:

"I feel the sub-bass strings bring it closer to the piano's voice. Classical guitar has very little sustain, something which is needed in this sonata, however the bass notes sustain quite well which adds to the effect of playing piano without dampers."

In his performance of Beethoven's icocnic Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor Quasi una fantasia Op. 27, No. 2 — Addison was required to tune the bass strings to E F F# G G# A D C D.

He describes to tuning to be more "useful" during his performance and allows him to perform an octave below the low E on the regular guitar.

As previously stated, maybe the next rendition the public would want to see if "Stairway to Heaven." That is, if it's not too much of a cliché to ask.

But, for now, be sure to keep up with Addison via his other YouTube videos as well as his band Guilt Monkey.

In the meantime, we present you with Mr. Addison interpreting Beethoven below.

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TagsBrin Addison, Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor Quasi una fantasia Op. 27, No. 2, Moonlight Sonata, Harp Guitar, Contraguitar, Hubert Heerbeck

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