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Term For This String Technique?


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Hello all,


I am putting the finishing touches on a work for solo cello which utilises several extended techniques and have been struggling to find a suitable Italian term for one. The passage in question requires that the bow be drawn over the strings with less than the usual pressure so that the sound is thin and glassy (mostly upper overtones are heard) rather than the normal full tone of the instrument. It is supposed to be in the usual part of the string and not close to the bridge so ponticello would not be the correct term. Flautando came to mind but I have always understood this to require playing over the fingerboard and producing a pure tone rather than the slightly scratchy effect I intend.  Can anyone suggest anything? My best attempt to coin a term is graffiato but would prefer to use something more widely understood to mean an specific technique.


Attached is a sample of what I am trying to describe.graffiato sample.wav

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I checked in the avant-grade scores I have (like Penderecki's Fluorscences) and I didn't find any term for that, maybe there's not a defined word for it yet, you may use "graffiato" but I wouldn't know what it means, you'll have to add some short explanation at beginning of the score.


There is a "Capriccio per Siegfried Palm" for solo cello by Penderecki where I seem to recall he uses that technique, but I've never seen the score.

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Il arco tratto con leggerezza sulla corda, affinché il tono è attenuato, if my Italian is reliable. Or you could just write it in english.


If you're using different kinds of pressure a lot you could do what I've seen in some a/g scores and attach a circled numeral to each note/passage, to indicate different "levels" of bow pressure (with arrows indicating a transition from one to the other).


If it's just a one-off effect write it out with specificity. Like those snap pizzicati in Mahler 6: he didn't need a special symbol or direction because that's the only place he used them.


If it's a cool effect you discovered while messing around and you wrote the piece around it, but it otherwise doesn't have anything to do with the idea of bow pressure itself, you can always write it out the first time followed by ("graffiato") and subsequently use your made-up term. Or you can rewrite your piece to be less reliant on "cool effects" but, whatever.

Edited by Shadowwolf3689
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