Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bid on The Rugs

I invite you to bid on the rugs and throws on silent auction at  Proceeds from the auction, which will be finalized on June 9, will help defray expenses of my upcoming trip to Seoul, Korea to present practical implications of Tonal Refraction at the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. 

It would be a great way to show your support for my work and, at the same time, to come into possession of a unique (and practical!) piece of fiber art crafted entirely of recycled string passed down to me by a designer of knit patterns.

Miss Twiggy, wool and alpaca, 59" x 32" demonstrating by its irregular shape the extent to which it is truly a String Improvisation.
More pictures : Posts of May 7, 10, 13 and 15.

Melodic and Harmonic Hearing

After hearing countless string quartets and soloists play their instruments distressingly sharp I went to Europe in the early 1980s expressly to hear whether playing out of tune had become an internationally established practice.   I was delighted to find that, thanks largely to the early music movement, it had not.

There was one book that completely took my breath away and I find myself using its insights again and again to inform my ear --  by that I mean, to become aware with greater precision of what I actually hear.
Melodisches und harmonisches Hoeren auf Streichinstrumenten by Christian Heman.   I feel as if it let me in on a classified secret.  I know of no translation into English and I have never heard anyone speak of the book or its implications which are, roughly:

Tones that vibrate sympathetically with the pitches and overtones of the instrument's open strings will have a different quality than those that do not.  For example, A will always have a different tone quality than B-flat.  It is not a matter of intonation, but of resonance.

He gives examples of how different scales on the violin become enhanced, informed, intensified, when this is taken into account.

It seems so simple.  What gets in the way oft this being audible in most string playing?