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Steganographica For Violoncello Solo Daniel Wilson


Performance Directions Concept The piece is concerned with the space between pitch and string sound whilst bowing behind the fingers, i.e. on the fingerboard between the fingers and the scroll/nut. Whilst performing each gesture, the performer should strive to maintain a bow pressure that creates an unstable sound between pitch and string/bow noise, just below the pressure required to create pitch.

Score Anatomy The score is split into several parametric sections:

30� IV

Time-space

ord.

Clef

Bowing

IV

String

3a Natural harmonic

i


Time-space The score is set out in time-space notation with timecode running across the top of the score.

Clef The clef is given in the form of the cello neck, and is split into four sections at approximately a quarter, half, and three quarters of the fingerboard length.

Right Hand All bowing in the piece is performed behind the fingers, which is to say, between the fingers and the nut on the fingerboard. The black line running from the ‘neck’ clef indicates the position of the bow on the fingerboard, for example, a downwards line indicates that the bow moves towards the fingers. Above the black line is a series of instructions indicating which string should be bowed. Ordinario here means that the bow should be drawn very slowly across strings four to one (and back again if necessary). This gesture should always start with a downbow, though if the performer runs out of bow, they may switch to an upbow, back to a downbow, etc. This transition should be as smooth as possible. Where the performer is required to bow a single string, this is specified with a Roman numeral (not to be confused with the numerals in the lower half of the score, which are instructions for the left hand).

Left Hand The material for the left hand is found on the lower half of the score. This comprises of a single line stave and a series of numbers in circles. The numbers represent nodes for natural harmonics (see page iii) with the string number written above as a numeral. The other fingers and thumb of the left hand should be used to depress the other strings not indicated on the score. The shape of the hand should be such that the performer is comfortable (sixths, for example) and able to maintain the natural harmonic specified in the score. The shape of the hand may change to accomodate for a lack of space when playing closer to the nut (position 6a, for instance). The pressure for all of the digits on the left hand should be harmonic pressure (as opposed to full depression of the string). The movement between harmonic nodes should be smooth glissandi whilst maintaining a hand shape that is comfortable (where possible). The shape of the hand may have to change in order to avoid the bow coming into contact with the left elbow. The piece uses the following scordatura:

? aa ♯a ♯a

ii


Open

6a

5a

4a

3a

2

Open

6a

5a

4a

3a

? aa

? aa

?♯ aa

?♯a

?♯aa

♯a ♯a

a a

♯a ♯a

a a a

a

♯ ♯a

2 a ♯ ?♯aa a

4b

3b

6b5b

4b

3b

6b

a & ♯a a a

a &♯aa ♯a ♯

a a a a

&

5b ♯a a

&♯aa ♯

This diagram lists all natural harmonics available at the nodes used in the score. Note that the pitches given here are the fingered and not the sounding pitches. The fingerboard diagram is split with coloured lines which correspond to the coloured staves below. The numbers refer to the partial (3 is the third partial, splitting the string into three equal sections, and giving a pitch one octave and a perfect fifth above the open string). The letter after the number refers to the position of the node on the fingerboard (3a is the node one third of the way up the string from the nut, 3b two thirds, etc.). Most partials have two positions listed which are utilised in the score.

iii


Steganographica 30” IV

ord.

1’ IV

1’30” ord.

I

2’ ord.

II

IV

IV

I

II

3a

5b

6b

3b

2’30”

3’

III

I

3’30” ord.

IV

ord.

4’ IV

III

III

I

IV

IV

4b

2

3b

5a

3a

1

ord.


4’30” II

5’ ord.

I

ord.

I

IV

3a

3a

4a

ord.

7’ IV

6’

IV

II

6’30” II

5’30” ord.

7’30” ord.

8’

IV

ord.

II

IV

IV

I

6a

5a

2

6b

2

I

Daniel Wilson: Steganographica  

MATA 2015: for your consideration

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