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Robert Dahm

wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hĂźbschen gesicht for bass flute, accordion and violoncello (2014)

for trio amos


Instrumentation and setup




Bass flute




Cello wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht

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wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht

INSTRUMENTATION AND SETUP Instrumentation Bass flute Accordion Cello Stage setup The players should set up facing one another, and as close as possible to one another (while still allowing for the positioning of music stands and so forth). The end result should be a kind of compact triangle. Due to the vanishingly quiet, ‘microscopic’ nature of many of the sounds employed, it may be beneficial to arrange the performance situation in such a way that the audience is as close as possible to the performers (this may include ‘in the round’ performance setups, etc.). In some acoustics it may be beneficial to subtly amplify the piece. This should always sound as natural as possible, and is to be understood purely as a way of increasing the audience’s ability to connect with the (naturally-produced) sounds, rather than as an artistic element in its own right. The amplified sound should still be extremely quiet - the aim is rather to present the sounds in such a way that the majority of audience might hear them.



(in this case, another player), either in terms of a simple cue-point, or in terms of literally following another player for an extended period of time. Such synchronised temporal materials are notated in blue.

wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht employs a number of unconventional notational strategies, most obviously in its treatment of musical time, and extending to the symbols for varying attacks and modifications of the sound.

Periodicity defines the pulse-length in terms of a larger window, equally subdivided. That is, the quality of equivalence between one pulse and the next is its defining feature. Periodic events (in this specific sense) are notated in red.

The following description will commence with the manner in which such notations function at a level of principle, and then become more specific.

The precise ways in which these various temporal layers operate is described in more detail below.

Temporal notation

Beams and stems

It’s possible to (facetiously) claim that wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht contains no rhythm at all, and is rather composed purely from pulse.

The score does not employ bars or metre in any traditional sense. Rather, the score is constructed as a kind of overlapping, interlocking sequence of beams. Each beam has at least three pulses (stems). The length of each pulse remains constant for the duration of that beam.

The way in which these pulses are constructed and notated proceeds along three different, although mutually interlocking, logics, which replace the more standard logic of bars and beats unfolding at a specified tempo. These logics centre around different properties relating to the placement of ob- Each beam’s precise temporal qualities are defined in terms of both their jects in time – proportionality, synchronicity, and periodicity. colour and their context. When talking about the placement of objects in time, what we are essentially describing is the quality of the durations between any two consecutive pulses. This is described in the scientific literature, for instance, as the inter-onset-interval, or IOI. Given, however, that we are dealing more with the world of pulsation, rather than pure onset, I prefer the term “pulselength”.

Beams may be regarded to be roughly equivalent to a ‘bar’ in more traditionally-notated music. That is, they represent a structural unit within which given temporal qualities pertain. Accordingly, beams often reflect this structural function through the manner in which the material attached to them operates. A beam typically creates a window of temporal space within which a particular condition might be said to be true.

Proportionality, then, refers to the relationship between two successive pulse-lengths expressed in terms of each other. That is, as a ratio. In wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht, proportionality is notated in the black (primary) layer of information.

The term ‘stem’ is frequently used throughout these performance instructions to refer to a particular pulse within a given beam. In other words, any given beam will comprise a number of stems. In a sense, these two terms – “beams” and “stems” – take on similar significance to, for instance, “bars” and “beats” (despite the former pair’s notionally purely typographical significance).

Synchronicity defines pulse-length in terms of an external reference point 2

With the exception of blue beams (which can’t be said to have an actual duration independant of other aspects of their context), all beams are extended until the end of the graphical space occupied by their final stem, rather than the more conventional practice of drawing a beam from first stem to final stem. This is frequently useful to define the precise end-point of a sustained action that is attached to either the beam or to the final stem.

it’s probably fair to suggest that at tempi resulting in total piece duration of shorter than 6 minutes, it begins to become a ‘different piece’. Similarly, there will be increasing (and increasingly insurmountable) physical performance difficulties at tempi resulting in durations longer than about 12 minutes. I regard the ‘sweet spot’ to be a duration of between 8 and 10 minutes.


Black notation – proportionality

wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht has no initial tempo marking. The starting tempo is freely selectable by the performers, although once chosen, every other duration in the piece will stand in a relatively concrete relationship to it (see below).

The black layer of notation (in conjunction with the inter-player cueing in the blue layer) forms the temporal skeleton of the piece. As stated above, it operates on fundamentally proportional relationships. This may be thought of as being similar to tuplets, but shifted up to a significantly higher structural level.

That said, the piece is intended to be performed extremely slowly. This will make the maximum sense of the manners in which sound is produced by Each beam within the black layer commences with a ratio. This ratio exvarious instruments, which often rely on an insufficiency of speed, pres- presses, essentially, the tuplet relationship with which it stands to another sure, intensity, etc in order to achieve the correct sound. beam (the beam from which it is cued). Where that ratio is blue, this proportional relationship is with another player (see below). This is not to rule faster performances of the piece ‘invalid’, but I think


In the example above, for instance, the first upward-pointing beam is to be performed in a proportion of 4:3 of the previous beam, from which it is cued. Subsequently, the 3:5 beam is calculated in relation to this second, 4:3 beam. Finally, the 13:7 beam is calculated in relation to the 3:5. This produces a sense of constantly modulating pulse density, as what might be regarded as the basic ‘pulse’ of any given part constantly shifts. These proprtional shifts always occur ‘on the beat’, and to this end there is always a single shared stem at the beginning of a new beam. Blue notation – synchronicity The blue layer of notation denotes aspects of synchronicity between the players. This synchronicity is to be understood in a purely temporal sense, and defines situations in which the placement of material in one player’s part is defined by activities in the part of another player. The most common way in which this takes place is through the cueing of the beginning of a beam (in the black layer) from another player. This is indicated through the proportional relationship being expressed in blue, rather than in black, and the two parts being connected through a dotted line in blue. In the example to the left, for instance, we see the accordion cueing the cello, which then cues the bass flute. The cello beam stands in a 6:11 relationship with the beam to which the cueing stem belongs. The bass flute beam stands in a 6:5 relationship to that cello beam. The porportional relationship is defined always in terms of the beam to which the cueing stem belongs. Note that, in this case, the element of synchronisation is restricted to the point of onset and the proportional speed of a new ‘black’ layer of information. There is no continuing synchronisation between the parts. 4

The other way in which synchronicity is employed is in the literal playing in unison with a beam from another player. This always occurs in isolation: that is, the synchronised material does not coincide with any ‘own’ material to be played simultaneously. The example to the right shows the bass flute (above) playing synchronously with the accordion (below). The flute should, in this case, follow the performed durations of the accordion as precisely as possible. This will, in many cases, be facilitated through the exaggeration of the otherwise normal performance choreography on the cueing player’s part. In general, the player that is ‘following’ should attempt to blend with the cueing player. The materials assigned to this line are often translations/ perversions of similar material across instrumental borders. Every attempt should be made to produce a kind of composite tone between the two instruments. Red notation - periodicity Red beams section off a particular area of chronometric space and divide it equally. Typically, this will take place across multiple beams within a single player’s part, thus defining a length of time that is difficult to precisely calculate, but which is controllable without reference to another player’s activities. The window that is so bracketed by the beam is then to be divided into a number of equal parts as determined by the number of stems on the beam. In the example below, for instance, the total time elapsed between the third stem of the 5:7 and the fourth stem of the 4:9 is to be divided into five precisely equal units. In general, this should be interpretatively regarded as sitting ‘outside’ the normal flow of events. That is, it is a kind of superimposition upon the other materials. The material attributed to this layer is (almost) uniformly highly 5

local in nature - consisting almost entirely of ornamentation. There should The score is constructed as a continuous geometrical space – theoretically, be a sense of awkwardness, of irreconcilability between these layers. it would be possible to cut the margins from each page and construct a long, scroll-like version of the piece as a single page. Spacing

Ornamentation and continuity

The score is pretty fastidiously time-spaced within each individual module (lengths were rounded to approximately the nearest 0.1mm at A2). But it’s The piece might be said to be constructed out of a constant fabric of conimportant to bear in mind that the spacing in this case is relative (due to the tinuous sound-production, upon which is superimposed a number of elvariability of tempo). ements of more local, momentary effect. These latter events are always notated as ornaments, through the use of the ‘mordent’ symbol, along with Sometimes, this will result in situations where what is, performatively another graphic element describing the sort of ornament (the various types speaking, an extremely long duration may be notated with something that of ornaments will be described under the instrument-specific notation secappears to be very short on paper. tions, below). These ornamental elements should be ‘played out’ in such a way that they manage to break through the otherwise continuous texture.

Page breaks

The page is always broken at an event, although this is very rarely an event The sustained elements should be maximised in terms of their continuity. common to all currently active players. The page break is marked by a ver- That is, all effort should be taken to ensure a sounding result that is as untical dashed line extending from top to bottom of the page. The event that broken as possible, even when the nature of the material is highly volatile. marks the break is in square brackets, and is repeated (without brackets) on the new page. 6

Dynamics, balance and sound production

If amplication is employed, this may be used to counterbalance some of the balance difficulties inherent to the ensemble.

wie verschlafenes haar auf einem hübschen gesicht has no marked dynamics. It is intended to be played ‘as quietly as possible’. There is, however, a Interpretively speaking, the relative prominence given to any given block of slightly complex interplay between dynamics and sound production that material (i.e., any given cluster of beams within an instrument) should be deserves specific attention. based on a combination of the nature of the material itself (e.g., more stricly continuous, ‘breath’ material would tend towards the background) and its In general, the instruments are treated in such a way that, through insuffi- relative speed (e.g., faster material would tend towards the foreground). ciency of some vital instrumental-choreographic element (e.g., bow speed, bellows pressure, etc), the means of standard tone production is highly In part, these tendencies are already implicit in the material, and they should compromised. It’s possible to say that the instrumental writing explores the not be overplayed to the point that balance is neglected in favour of a ‘meluniverse beneath (as opposed to outside) traditional instrumental tone. ody + accompaniment’-type interpretation. This results in a soft, whispering soundworld in which elements of the instrumental mechanism (the closing of a pad on the bass flute, the move- Instrument-specific notation ment of a finger on a cello string) typically regarded as modifying the resonating body of the instrument instead become sound-producing elements The musical material, and thus the notational principles underlying its comin their own right. munication in all three instruments might be described as ‘positional’. By this, I mean that it revolves around the adopting of a given ‘position’ (e.g., In general, except where specifically indicated by the notation, it is abso- fingers/bow/etc in a certain physical location), from which aspects of the lutely undesirable that the instruments produce stanard tone reliably for performer’s interaction with the instrument can be modified. The notation any length of time. If this occurs, then the dynamic (bow speed/pressure, does not specify, for instance, that a given pitch is to be played. Rather, it breath pressure, bellows speed) should be reduced. specifies that the finger(s) be placed at the locations usually employed to achieve that pitch, after which this will be used as the basis for any number As a rule, all sounds should be performed at the lowest possible volume. of physical transformations through pressure, location, speed, etc. adustments. This needs to be balanced, however, against the need for certain types of resulting sound – many of which are extremely quiet – to achieve musical significance (i.e., audibility) in a texture, balancing with two other instruments. In such cases, very quiet elements can be ‘brought up’ a little to balance, but only insofar as louder elements in the texture are already being played as softly as they can possibly be sounded. In general, the three instruments should remain as close as possible to balanced with one another. 7


A given breath should be sustained until a change in direction is indicated, or a breath sign given:

Many aspects of the treatment of the bass flute regard it as a variable resonant tube, rather than as a standard musical instrument. Throughout, the Breath mark bass flute continues to aspire to standard flute tone, but this is typically subverted through one or more problematising features. Breath pressure should, on the whole, be kept very low. It should be sufficient to produce a sound on both inhalation and exhalation. Occasionally, The basic layout of the bass flute part is as follows: the score specifies a gradual increase in breath pressure through the use of ‘hairpins’:

The compass of these hairpins should be understood to be dal niente to slightly higher than the playing dynamic would otherwise be. The normal low dynamic should be returned to at the end of the hairpin.

Embouchure and breath information:


Finger information:

The embouchure is described in terms of two different parameters in the course of the piece. The first is the angle at which the tone-hole of the flute is held to the lips. The second is the quality of the resulting sound. The angle of the flute to the lips is described pictorially:

‘Base’ fingering:

Breath Tone-hole completely covered by mouth (all air travels through the instrument)

The breath is employed constantly throughout the piece. Excepting the short windows where the instrument is not playing at all, there are no rests within the part. The part employs both exhalation and inhalation: Exhale through the instrument

Inhale through the instrument


Normal playing position

Tone-hole pointed completely away from the lips (no air travels through the instrument)

The diffuseness of the embouchure is defined in terms of what the breath/ strument (where relevant). pitch content would be if playing in a normal position. It is important to note that this is not a literal description of what the sounding result should be, but rather a description of the physical properties of the embouchure Trills generally employed to achieve that sounding result. The trill involves the rapid alternation of the pad between open and closed positions. The speed of the trill is left to the player, but it is not necessary Focused, ‘normal’ tone – minimal breath content that it be overly fast, a relatively subdued and relaxed trill speed (e.g., down to approximately 200-240 bpm) is perfectly acceptable. Trills are notated in the following ways:

Unfocused, ‘breathy’ tone – some breath content, but with clear pitch content

‘Standard’ trill (in this case of the 2nd finger)

Highly diffuse, ‘breathy’ tone – high breath content, only the very smallest pitch content

‘Alternating’ trill – rapidly switch between the two indicated fingers so that only one of them is depressed at any given time.

Air sound – no (specific) pitch content whatsoever Transitions Fingers

Transitions involve the gradual opening or closing of a pad. This is quite challenging, given the often extreme lengths of time over which the transition is to be made. A Kingma system instrument will aid in facilitating this, but is not necessary. It may be easier to gain more control over the transition through placing the tip of the finger on the outside of the pad itself (rather than on the key that operates it). It is not necessary the transition be absolutely smooth. I would recommend taking the full compass of the pad’s movement and dividing into multiple ‘steps’ (fully closed, fully open, and perhaps two steps in between) and spread shifts between these set steps relatively evenly across the course of the transition.

A ‘base’ fingering is specified at the bottom of the part. This is the pitch that is to be fingered while all other material is superimposed on top of it. Above this base fingering will typically be arranged a series of trills or other fingering alterations. Affected fingers are referred to using their number (i.e., fingers 2, 3 and 4 on each hand), plus key name designations for C#, D#, etc. keys. The left hand is notated above the right hand, as in most standard fingering-chart systems. Where the intended hand is unclear, there is an additional (lh) or (rh) indication. These fingering alterations will typically alter the sounding pitch of the in9

Vibratos and shakes

Transitions are indicated with an arrow leading to/away from an empty circle, which represents the ‘open’ position:

The piece employs the following types of ‘vibrato’:

Transition of the 2nd finger from closed to open.

Diaphragm vibrato – pulsating alteration in air pressure (no resulting pitch change)

In the following example, for instance, the base fingering of C# is modified through the gradual alternation between closed and open of the fourth fingers of each hand.

Lip vibrato – pulsating alteration in embouchure (with resulting pitch change) Additionally, where the normal straight beam is replaced with a jagged, ‘trill’-like beam, the player is to physically shake the instrument, resulting in a pronounced alteration in the relationship between the embouchoure and the tone-hole. The shaking continues as long as the shaking beam is in force. The beam is assumed to ‘override’ any other simultaneous, non-shaking beams, as in the example below:

Key clicks Depress the key(s)s audibly (not necessarily with great force – merely in such a way that it is audible). Where the indicated key is a part of the indicated base fingering, the finger will need to be lifted immediately before the slap. Where the key is not part of the indicated base fingering, the key is nevertheless to be left depressed until specified otherwise.

Key click of the 2nd finger.

Key click of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers together.


where multiphonics may emerge under certain conditions.


Towards the end of the piece, sung pitches are introduced. They are introduced on a kind of ‘spatial’ staff located at the top of the part with the Ornamentation breath and embouchure information. The bass flute part makes use of the following ornaments. These should all Specific pitches are not defined. Rather, the staff describes a compass of have a highly localised, relatively prominent sonic outcome, in accordance a perfect fifth, which should like comfortably within the performer’s vocal with the desription of the role of ornamentation in the piece, above. range. In other words, only two pitches are employed, and these lie a fifth A rapid sweep up and down the harmonic range, while reapart. maining consistent with the tonal quality of its surroundings. Sung notes are indicated by longer, rectangular noteheads. A horizontal A momentary reversal of air direction. If this occurs during an line extends from the notehead to indicate the length of the sung pitch exhalation, for instance, this would indicate a rapid inhalation (although in this case the pitches are all a single stem in length. followed by an immediate return to exhalation. A momentary increase in breath pressure. This should be quite significant, and have the effect of a heavy accent. Lip ‘burst’. Like a lip pizzicato, but with a larger expulsion of air.


Tone. This should be a short-ish, detached note (as normally implied by the articulation depicted), that clearly sounds. The breath may be stopped in between such articulations.

Fingerings that are (potentially) multiphonic are indicated with the following symbol:

‘Growl’. A short growl, deep in the throat. This should be quite gutteral, but not too exaggerated. Where this symbol appears, ideally the multiphonic will sound at least partially, if not necessarily constantly, fully or with any degree of stability. The sound should remain breathy and indistinct like its surroundings. Multiphonics are always given as full fingering diagrams, without a corresponding base fingering.

‘Sung ornament’. Sing a very short note. The ornament appears on the voice staff (see above), and the pitch sung should be in keeping with the ornament’s location on that staff. Key-click ornament. Forcefullly depress one or more keys, before returning them to their original position.

Additionally, due to the constant opening and closing of holes along the instrument’s length, there will be a number of places throughout the piece 11

ACCORDION The fingers

The majority of the accordion part revolves around the manipulation of the body of air inside the bellows, with its tenuous sounding through a small collection of (mostly very low) pitches in the right hand.

The behaviour of the fingers is defined in terms of their position on the instrument (i.e., the buttons that they are covering) and the quality of their contact with the buttons.

The part was written for a standard button accordion, and should function on either western- or eastern-european key layouts.

Finger position

The accordion part follows a similar positional logic to the bass flute and cello parts, and is layed out as follows:

Finger position describes the location of one or more fingers, and is indicated through small cut-away staves scattered throughout the piece. An indicated position applies until it is either replaced by new position, or cancelled by the removal of the finger(s) from the button(s). Often, only a single pitch is given as a position:

Right hand finger (pitch) position(s) Right hand finger actions Bellows actions Air button Left hand finger actions Left hand finger (pitch) position(s)

Where multiple pitches are given, a new position is given each time a new note is added, or one of the notes changes:


Each hand is treated completely separately from the other. For this reason, that it be overly fast, a relatively subdued and relaxed trill speed (e.g., down it is important that material written for the right hand not be performed to approximately 200-240 bpm) is perfectly acceptable. with the left, and vice versa. Finger actions

A trill between fully depressed and almost fully released. Depending on the pitch, this may result in a wide pitch vibrato.

The manner in which the buttons indicated under finger position are manipulated are governed by a number of possible actions. These are based upon there being multiple ‘steps’ within the depression of a single button.

On the other hand, where this occurs between the fully depressed and the ‘almost depressed’ steps, the effect will be more timbral in nature.

The following steps should be based on the sounding result, rather than an equidistant division of the total compass of the button’s relatively short movement. The nature of the instrument will render these necessarily in- ‘Bends’ involve the gradual transition from one of these steps to another. exact: In the example below, the button shifts from fully depressed to ‘almost open’ and back again. Given the pitch (i.e., the position) at this point, it Fully depressed in the normal fashion. should result in a fairly significant pitch bend downwards, before returning to its starting pitch. Other elements of performance technique (i.e., bellows Almost fully depressed. This step is located at the point which technique) may be adjusted to better allow the pitch bend to speak. In this a noticeable timbral change begins. sense, the notation inhabits a space somewehre in between a traditional ‘sounding’ notation and a simply tablature. Almost fully released. This step is located at the point just before the pitch ceases to sound. Depending on the pitch, this may result in a significant deviation from the notated pitch. Fully open in the normal fashion. Within this framework, a number of different finger behaviours become possible. The part makes frequent use of trills and bends. A trill is the rapid alternation between two different button steps. In all cases, both relevant steps are notated as conjoined noteheads, and then extended by a trill extension showing the length of time for which the trill is to be held. The speed of the trill is left to the player, but it is not necessary 13

Air button

Bellows pressure

The piece makes liberal use of the air button. Air button information is located between the layers of information for the bellows and the left hand. The air button is used in both on/off and trilled (between ‘on’ and ‘off’) contexts. Where the trill button is depressed, the length of time for which it is depressed is indicated through a bracket extending from the triangular air-button symbol.

In general, the bellows pressure should be kept to a minimum. Any pitched material should be absolutely, vanishingly quiet, flirting with inaudibility. Higher pitches on the instrument should run a significant risk of cutting in and out, or of not sounding at all. In some places, the bellows pressure is to be gradually modified, as indicated through the use of hairpins:

Depress air button for the duration indicated by the horizontal bracket. Such changes in pressure should be understood to be dal/al niente, to a maximum of a little higher than the average pressure for the piece. At the conclusion of such hairpin indications, the pressure should return to ‘normal’.

Trill air button between ‘on’ and ‘off’ for the duration of the trill extension.

The volume of the air sounds produced will need to be worked out as a These comments on bellows pressure should always be understood in conconstant compromise between their audibility and the requirement for min- text. At a point where there is only air noise, the pressure may be somwhat (even significantly) higher than in moments where there is pitch content, imal bellows pressure (see below). which would threaten to overpower the entire texture if the pressure were too high. The bellows The bellows are manipulated both in terms of opening and closing, as well Vibratos and tremolos as a number of various vibratos and tremolos. The piece employs a variety of different vibratos and tremolos:

Open the bellows.

Bellows vibrato, achieved through a rapid, regular pulsation in bellows speed.

Close the bellows.

Tremolo, or ‘bellows shake’. Achieved through rapidly changing bellows direction back and forth. This should not markedly increase bellows pressure in general.

Hold the bellows still (do not open or close).


Additionally, the normal horizontal beam is occasionally replaced with a jag- CELLO ged, trill-like beam. This indicates a leg vibrato, which will extend for as long as the beam remains jagged. This ‘shake’ beam is understood to override The cello part eschews the standard tones produced through the bowing any other simultaneous normal beams. of a vibrating string in favour of a tiny soundworld of tapping and scraping. The notation follows the same positional logic as the bass flute and accorIn the example below, the leg vibrato is in effect for the entire duration of dion parts, and is laid out as follows: the 4:9 beam, affecting all materials that lie under it.

Bowing information:

Right hand

- articulated strings - bow direction - bow pressure - bowing type (where applicable) - bow position (ast to msp)

Finger actions Left hand


Finger position Hand position

The accordion part makes use of the following ornaments. These should all have a highly localised, relatively prominent sonic outcome, in accordance with the desription of the role of ornamentation in the piece, above. A rapid, momentary change in bellows direction, followed by a return to the notated direction.

The right hand The operation of the right hand is described in terms of the string(s) with which the bow is contact, the direction in which the bow is moving, the pressure of the bow upon the string, and the vertical position on the string at which the bow makes contact. In the score, these are presented roughly in this order, from top to bottom. In some instances, the bowing is also described in terms of special bowing techniques (e.g., col legno).

A momentary, significant increase in bellows pressure. This should present as a heavy accent. Finger ornament. The indicated pitch is depressed momentarily (the note should be short, but not staccato). 15

Articulated strings

Such changes in speed should be understood to be dal/al niente, to a maximum of a little higher than the average speed for the piece. At the conclusion of such hairpin indications, the speed should return to ‘normal’. These hairpin indications should be understood to only refer to bow speed, and do not represent a standard crescendo (which also affects bow pressure) as in the hairpin’s standard usage.

At the very top, the strings with which the bow is in contact will be given by their Roman numeral numbers. The bow is to remain in contact with the specified strings until either the specification changes, or the instruction to removed the bow from the string(s) is encountered.

In some cases, the bow will not be in contact with all of the strings upon Except where specificall directed otherwise, the bow is to remain in conwhich left-hand finger manipulations are taking place. stant contact with the string(s). To this end, there are a further two symbols governing the nature of that contact: Bow direction and speed

The bow remains in contact with the string, but without moving across it at all. The bow is, for all intents and purposes, horizontally motionless on the string. This may be combined, however, with movements along the string.

Bow direction is given in terms of the standard up- and downbow notations.


Remove the bow briefly from the string. This allows a retake, and is always placed immediately before a new stem with an up- or downbow.


A given bow direction must be maintained until the next bowing indication. Occasionally, a horizontal bracket is added to the indication, to clarify its duration where this lasts many pulses. In some cases, and depending on Alterations in bow speed are also used to effect a form of vibrato. The rapthe chosen performance tempo, this may result in a bow speed so slow that id, regular pulsation of bow speed results in a volume vibrato: sound will only be unreliably and intermittently produced. In general, the bow speed should be extremely slow, constantly flirting with the boundary between producing sound and not. It should be a very rare event indeed that the string is actually set into vibration in a normal manner. Rather, the resulting sounds should be the various husky and breathy scraping and scratching noises that result from insufficient speed. In some places, the bow speed is to be gradually modified, as indicated through the use of hairpins: 16

Bow pressure

col legno trill. The bow should be played on its side, and the wood added and removed from the stroke rapidly and regularly.

Bow pressure is notated through the use of a five-step scale of pressures, ranging from lightest possible pressure to heaviest possible pressure: Bow position Lightest possible pressure

‘Normal’ pressure

The vertical location of the bow on the string(s) is described in the standard terms of sul ponticello and sul tasto. The full range of possible locations in order from bridge to fingers is as follows:

Heaviest possible pressure

Smooth transition from light bow pressure to heavy bow pressure. molto sul ponticello (msp)

Alterations in bow pressure are also used to effect a form of vibrato. In this case, a ‘general’ bow pressure is indicated, which is then modified through the rapid and regular oscillation of bow pressure. The overall effect should always stay broadly within the realm of the indicated default:

‘on’ the bridge

sul ponticello (sp) ordinario (ord.) sul tasto (st) molto sul tasto (mst)

Bowing type

alto sul tasto (ast)

The only alternate bowing type employed in the piece is col legno, which exists in both a standard col legno tratto and a ‘trill’ form: col legno tratto. A small amount of hair may be added to the bow stroke, but it should be predominantly wood. This bowing persists for the duration of the horizontal bracket extending from the ‘cl.’ indication.

far up the fingerboard, as close as possible to the fingers

Generally, these locations, and the gradual transitions between them, are conveyed through their abbreviations in combination with arrows of continuity:


In one relatively extended section on the first page, however, this vertical motion is described visually, as a separate mini-staff:

gressing from the A string on the left through to the C string on the right. Similarly, the first finger is shown towards the bottom, with the second and third fingers represented by the dots progressively further removed from the bottom (the fourth finger is not used at all in the piece).

In this case, and in many other cases, the vertical motion of the bow along the string is the primary means of sound production.

Occasionally, as in the middle of the three examples above, thumb position is called for. The thumb is required to barre two strings (not just I + II are called for). The barre is shown in the diagram, along with a ‘T’ to clarify the change in position.

The right hand

Throughout, the fingers fo the hand should maintain a comfortable, relaxed and natural spacing.

The operation of the left hand is described in terms of the distribution of the four fingers across the strings (hand position), the location (i.e., pitch) Finger position of the first finger (finger position), and the actions of the fingers in contact with the strings. These points of definition are placed in the score in order The score defines the position of the fingers on the strings by giving the pitch to be fingered by the lowest finger (either the first finger, or the thumb from bottom to top. when in thumb position) on a standard five-line staff. Any given position is retained until this is altered by a new position. Hand position Where the position glissandos from one pitch to another, this should be as The manner in which the fingers are distributed across the strings is given even as humanly possible across the full duration of the glissando. ‘Even’, in this context, could mean either the rate at which the resulting pitch asthrough periodic graphic representations of the following type: cends or descends (resulting in a logarithmic physical gesture), or the rate at which the physical gesture is undertaken (resulting in a logarithmic pitch movement), at the player’s discretion.

This shows all active fingers, and the string with which they are in contact.

The specific placement of each additional finger is determined by the natural curvature of the hand. In other words, the specific pitches to be fingered are not defined, but these will inhabit a fairly limited range of spatial and intervallic possibilities based on the variable-yet-similar shape of the human hand.

The diagrams are drawn as if from the vantage point of the cellist, meaning that the nut would be at the bottom of the diagram, with the strings pro-

In the example below, for instance, the first finger begins on an Eb on the C string, while the second and third fingers take up comfortable positions on 18

Finger actions

the G string (probably somewhere in the vicinity of B and C or C#, respectively). As the first finger glissandos up the C string, however, the intervallic spacing between the fingers will gradually increase.

Finger pressure is prescribed through the use of circular- and diamond-shaped noteheads, as follows: Fully depressed (normal fingering) Half depressed (somewhere between full and harmonic pressure) Very light pressure (harmonic pressure or lighter) Fully open

Additionally, finger positions that are based on multiphonic nodes are indicated with the following symbol:

A variety of behaviours are built from these, including trills between different finger pressures, and gradual transitions from one to another. Where a trill between one pressure and another is required, the score will give both noteheads joined together, followed by a trill extension:

Where this symbol appears, ideally the multiphonic will sound at least partially, if not necessarily constantly, fully or with any degree of stability. Some concessions in terms of bow speed/pressure, or precise left-hand position may be required in order to have it sound at all. The sound should remain, however, breathy and indistinct like its surroundings – where they sound at all, they should seem to be a spectral identity arising out of the rasping noise of their context, rather than a discrete object in their own right.

Trill between full and very light finger pressure. Gradual transition from full to very light finger pressure. The fingers that perform each notated action are presented in the same order in which they appear on the hand position diagram at the bottom of the staff. In the following example, for instance, the first finger (on the C string) remains at very light pressure, while the second finger (on the G string) trills between very light and ‘off’ (resulting in a light tapping sound). 19


The third finger remains fully depressed on the G string above the trilling second finger.

The cello part makes use of the following ornaments. These should all have a highly localised, relatively prominent sonic outcome, in accordance with the desription of the role of ornamentation in the piece, above. Bow pressure ornament. A momentary, significant increase in bow pressure before returning to the notated pressure. ‘Sweep’ ornament. Swipe the bow vertically along the string(s), before returning it to its notated position. ‘Gettato’ ornament. A single gettato bowing. This should have more of a quality of a bow bounce, with gradually decreasing pulse speed, rather than the fast and tightly controlled traditional gettato.

The left hand is also employed in an unorthodox vibrato. Where the normal straight beam is replaced by a jagged, ‘trill’-like beam (as in the following example), the left hand should be shaken back and forth away from the fingerboard, using the thumb as a pivot. The vibrations from the hand movement should move through the thumb and result in a subtle movement of the instrument’s body, producing a sort of ‘vibrato’:

Detaché sound. Play a short-ish, detached sound. Similar to what is traditionally intended by this articulation. ‘Hammer-on’ ornament. Forcefully depress one or more fingers so that they make a sharp and audible contact with the fingerboard, before returning them to their notated pressure(s).







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