Bjørn Fongaard

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Born March 2, 1919(1919-03-02)
Oslo, Norway
Died October 26, 1980(1980-10-26) (aged 61)
Oslo, Norway

Bjørn Einar Fongaard (1919–1980) was a guitarist and composer.

He studied at the Oslo Conservatory of Music where his teachers included Per Steenberg, Sigurd Islandsmoen, Bjarne Brustad and Karl Andersen.

Fongaard remains famous for his specially designed 'micro-intervallic' guitar. Fitted with twice the normal number of frets, it enabled him to subdivide every note in the normal scale again, accessing all the harmonic colours of the quarter tone. But Fongaard was also a devotee of extended technique, using bows, felt and straws to prepare the strings, attaching tuning forks to the neck to ring in sympathy with certain notes, and playing it on a tabletop. (from The Wire review)

His Sinfonia Microtonalis represented Norway at the 1970 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. He also attempted to transfer his microtonal principles to works for orchestra including Orchestra Antiphonalis, Symphony of Space, Universum and Mare Tranquilitatis.

He made a number of composition series: 23 Concertos for Piano and Orchestra 0p. 118, 12 Concertos for Solo Instrument and Orchestra op. 120, 21 String Quartets op. 123, 57 Sonatas for One Instrument op. 125, 41 Concertos for Solo Instrument and Tape op. 131. Due to the partly experimental notation, these works have not become widely known.


  • Bjørn Fongaard, Elektrofoni: Works For Micro Intervallic Guitar 1965-1978, Prisma Records (PRISMA CD711), 3-CD & 5-DVD, 2010. [1], [2].

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