The tenth card in the Tarot of Marseille is The Wheel of Fortune and this wonderfully evocative card is one of the more mysterious pieces in the Suite for Classical Guitar, Tarot Cards.
Tarot Cards is a suite for Classical Guitar composed by Brett Vachon and representing the Major Arcana of the Tarot de Marseille.
My idea of depicting the Wheel of Fortune with the guitar is as a Wheel that turns around and around in an endess fashion. The piece begins quitely with a repeated pattern of two notes which expands into a flowing wave from the bottom of the guitar to the top. Retrospectively, the introduction gives you hints at the themes that will be repeated again later on in the piece. I want you to imagine the wheel continuing to turn faster as the energy continues to flow into it.
The piece makes continual use of harmonics which give the guitar a flute-like and otherworldy sound. The technique, called ‘cascading harmonics’ will inspire you to think of a water wheel, where the water cascades down along the cogs and into the pool below.
After the inevitable climax the piece fades into a different theme, also played with guitar harmonics. The piece ends with the guitar harmonics fading away into the distance and the repeated patter heard again which reminds us of the beginning of the piece.
Listen to an extract of the Wheel of Fortune below.