Design for performability: a proposal for democratic redesign of the classical guitar

Korkmaz, Alkin
Pedgley, Owaın Francıs
Mastery of a musical instrument, including an ability to reach virtuosity in expression and performance, is commonly achieved through a lifelong commitment to practise. The specific instrument played has a crucial role in this journey. This paper reports on design research that aimed to determine the potential for redesigning the classical guitar, whether iteratively or radically, from the perspective of key stakeholder groups: luthiers, composers, and performers. A total of 25 interviews were conducted and analysed to identify shared and unique concerns amongst the stakeholder groups. The findings are used to conceive and develop a new design-related musical term ‘performability’, which builds upon the established term ‘playability’ but has much stronger interactional and experiential dimensions. Furthermore, the paper provides insights into ways in which an industrial designer can contribute to classical guitar design as a fourth stakeholder. Industrial design expertise is proposed to provide a mediating and catalysing role for democratic (i.e. multi-stakeholder, multi-perspective) instrument design or redesign. The paper concludes with a proposal for a ‘design for performability’ framework suited to co-design sessions aiming to achieve a highly performable classical guitar.
Journal of New Music Research
Citation Formats
A. Korkmaz and O. F. Pedgley, “Design for performability: a proposal for democratic redesign of the classical guitar,” Journal of New Music Research, pp. 0–0, 2024, Accessed: 00, 2024. [Online]. Available: