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ORCH 102: String Extended Techniques


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Instructor: @Monarcheon
Students Allowing: 7
Initial Writing Requirement: As many bars as it takes to fit at least 7/14 techniques. Solo cello. 
Initial Writing Requirement Deadline: May 23rd

Pretty simple class. Write a piece that incorporates at least 7 of these, but make sure that the cello still plays normal notes too, so that the extended techniques can be jarring and inventive. Also keep in mind that it will occasionally be difficult to switch between techniques very quickly, for example going from 3rd method to scordatura will be difficult to execute in a quick change. Keep this in mind when transitioning between sections. I will personally record all the submissions that best and most logically use the instrument's capabilities within the piece. 

Instrument Family Technique Name How It's Performed How to Notate
String 2nd Method Turn the instrument on the side (for higher strings), bow the side of the bridge (harder for cello, but can do).  Write by using an X notehead in the middle line of the staff. Label "2nd".
String 3rd Method Bow the string beyond the bridge. Write by using an X on the line where the open string would be. Label "3rd".
String Col legno Tap the bow's wood on the strings. Mark normal notes, and mark "col legno".
String Tap/Hit Tap on the instrument in a designated location. However you want, but be logical. Be sure to label to tap, and also where to tap/hit.
String Vibrato Markings Specfy the vibrato players use. I use (v+), (v-), and (v.) to mark with vib, without vib, and with slow vib, respectively.
String Scratch Tone Very harshly bow the string to where the pitch is indeterminate. Use a doubled bow marking (i.e. make a smaller down bow marking within a normal one, same with up.)
String Voice/Sing Speak, sing, or whisper instead of play the instrument. Use X noteheads to mark a contour of the line if speaking, normal notes, if sing. Mark lyrics below, and mark for them to sing/speak.
String "Death Tones" Play an indeterminately high pitch, sound better when gliss.'d to. Normally harmonic triangles are used. These sound better as tremelos.
String Ponticello Bow near the bridge. Pairs well with tremelo. Mark normal notes with "pont."
String Silent Fingerings String player plays the left hand without using the bow or pizz. Mark "+" and a line/bracket designating the area of where the technique is to be used.
String Scordatura String player will detune their instrument. Can be done within the work too. Use words to label detuning and retuning if in the middle of the piece. Dictate the open strings if at the beginning. MAKE SURE THE TUNING IS NOT FAR AWAY FROM THE NORMAL STRING.
String Artificial Harmonic Ground fundamental with lower finger, and harmonic up a fourth. 15ma Normal note to indicate the fundamental. Harmonic notation for the second note, a fourth above.
String Snap pizz. Harshly pizz. the note so the string rebounds off fingerboard. Mark a pizz. section with the cello thumb symbol (circle with line coming out of it).
String Buzzed pizz. Lightly touch string with fingernail when pizz.'ing. Mark a pizz. section with "buzz", commonly using a line or bracket, designating the section.
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15 hours ago, johnbucket said:

This is looking very promising. Do you reckon it'd be worth putting in some samples of what these techniques sound like or linking an online resource (website/Youtube channel) that has them?


If I have time, I might make a quick recording of them. Provided enough people enter this one.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/13/2017 at 2:15 AM, Maarten Bauer said:

Is this masterclass still open to join? I have namely not seen any links here to the pieces of John and Noah.


I had closed it due to a seeming lack of interest but I'm not sure how founded it was. Maybe I'll open it soon and readvertise it?

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