The Rose - Violin 1
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In other words, I wanted all that overtone resonance, buzz, string bending, and metal sound without always being constricted by a new age drone. Money was short, as in none, so I was pointed towards cheap junk instruments. Every low-grade instrument I made was an improvisation, although I usually had some drawings. Once it was even half ready, I would put strings on immediately, and each instrument became an improvisation.
The StringCello was an organic improvisation--the building and the playing wereinterchangeable and never stopped until I put if off the road in the early 90's. The String Cello exemplifies how Rose's level of experimentation caused him to approach tuning in a more sculptural way. His idea was that any string should be playable with a variety of techniques--plucked, bowed, and by various objects applied to excite it. On the cello, even the sympathetic string groups three departments of that were designed to be bowed. They were tuned in simple chords or microtonally. A Ligeti cluster was available on one instrument, and suddenly one didn't need a whole string section.
The widened fingerboard took five strings, four tuned in fifths the standard way and another which was interfered with, scordatura-style, from performance to performance. Rose's notebooks contain various examples of tuning strategies. HT String players in the western tradition have been tuning their instruments in fourths or fifths for a few hundred years, and very successful it has been.
What was your criteria for moving away from that? JR I found that the instrument itself 'chose' for certain pitch relationships, that the number of strings and amount of tension on the instrument gave rise to their own 'physics. Also important to the idea of tuning is that you don't just tune a string to a pitch--you tune a string to a function. If it is very slack, you can grab it from behind the bridge and pull it up to a fifth above the original pitch.
Tuning became more like intuitive orchestration. It struck me as absurd to suggest that a thick gut string wound really tight, say a middle C, had the same tuning as a slack thin metal wire ringing its fundamental at the same pitch; the sounds emanating from each string gave rise to completely different sound palettes. Then, add that to all the mysterious sympathetic resonances that suddenly appear out of nowhereyes, tuning took on another meaning. In Western music these concepts still don't exist. A pitch is a pitch is apitch.
Other traditions understand the totality of these relationships better than the Occidental one. The very first scales I learned to play on the sitar had you pulling the strings up to the next consecutive fretted pitch rather than jumping from note to note. HT What about the Australian landscape, the region's numerous, unexpected, ancient, ungovernable eccentricities.
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How have they made their impact on you? JR The classic white composer's view of the Australian landscape is a romantic one, that it's nice and big and spacey, and everything happens really slowly in some kind of new age dream time. When I first heard Aboriginal music, I was struck by the fact that it is anything but that. It's fast tempos, intense and vital rhythms, high energy singing--in other words, it's music to keep yourself going with, quite apart from the vehicle for transmission of oral culture. If you look in detail at the landscape, it's anything but easy listening.
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It's a turmoil. The landscape is expressed most by the stuff sticking out of it, like the trees, which seem to be having a nonstop bad hair day! JR I would never have done anything like the Relative Violins elsewhere--that notion comes through a kind of frontier approach to music that doesn't exist in Europe. They have the tradition of culture, they think they have culture, but if you start pulling down the Leaning Tower of St.
Peter's in Paris, that's the end of Europe. Violin iconography is in there with it. In Australia, try as hard as they do to make it in one big golf course, the place is so big and so hostile that it becomes interesting. It fights back, very strongly.
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The damage done here is colossal. It won't take it, the environment. White Australia rejects innovation, even from it's own ranks, even though self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, allowing perversities and deviations to take place because of the situation have been a strong characteristic of the culture, especially in the early years. That's denigrated here by the people who run culture. That's why I'm doing the Australia Ad Lib project, to see how much 'do-it-yourself' is still there.
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JR Living in Australia amongst really long telegraph wires and the two longest fences in the world the Dingo Fence and the no. I began to get serious with this in the early 80's. When a string becomes really long, not only is it the trigger of the sound, it also becomes the amplifier of the sound. In America, Ellen Fullman works with rosin on her fingers and strokes the string. In Australia, Alan Lamb lets the wind do the talking.
I use everything I can imagine, including bows, mallets, and violins, the wire itself as the bow, amplification, etc. I set no parameters as to how to excite the string s and uncover the sonic world that exists new with each installation. The lower the fundamental goes, the more of the harmonic series becomes audible or available. I designed long instruments modeled on fences so I could play waist-high strings with a bow while at the same time playing strings only an inch above the floor with my feet.
Jumps of over one meter to raise the fundamental pitch half a semitone were not uncommon. HT You talk about your experiments as if they were the obvious next step for a string player, but unlike you, the rest of us are still trying to wrestle down our technique on our one standardized instrument. We were there for their first performance in St. Tonight Tuesday, Aug.
Nearly 20 thrillers written, 35 million sold. When three really good jazz musicians who have known each other for ages get together, surprises are part of the package. A night of movie trivia with the staff of the Trylon-formerly-microcinema. Trivia starts at 7.
Mia recently acquired a tapestry by the important Norwegian artist Jan Groth.
Skaerved plays a Stradivari. Thursday at the Amsterdam : James S. The building of a new line awakens something living beneath the city and all heck breaks loose. And then you get to read the book, included with your ticket.
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Presented by Subtext Books. A book signing follows. You must be logged in to post a comment. Real, high-quality journalism costs money to produce. Will you donate now to ensure that MinnPost remains a free and accessible community resource? Photo by Shervin Lainez. Courtesy of Mia. British violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved will perform a selection of classical Baroque and Norwegian traditional music Thursday at Mia.