Dienstag, 1. März 2016

Etudes - First Answers

Hi everybody,

thank you for uploading your etudes.

Let me make a few general comments first and get specific further down in this article.

I am very happy about what comes my way here. You all explore the performative angle quite deeply and put the cello into almost absurd contexts - I like these approaches a lot.

One question arises in more than one of the pieces: are you thinking of the classical acoustic cello???

If so, we really need to find a solution, since I was planning to not travel with my acoustic cello.
[This is not entirely my choosing - customs regulations have changed because there is a serious issue with smuggle of historical instruments. Since a few years you need to bring a passport for your instrument if traveling form Europe to the US. This passport and the additional cost of shipping a valuable instrument like that { which is only possible on certain airlines}raise travelling costs to a level where they become prohibitive.]
If your pieces need the classical acoustic cello I suggest that we find a cellist who is willing to lend the instrument to me for the time I am visiting.

My pragmatic solution would be to not bring the BassCello (so far I have not found any instrument-specific details in the compositions) and rather bring my 6-string eCello. This instrument would permit me to play classical repertoire much better than the BassCello while using effects and playing techniques demonstrated in the video at the beginning of this project would still be possible (see below in the short video sequences).

One more general remark: if you need concrete examples or video attempts, please don't hesitate to ask! As the majority of your pieces involve several other performers or technology I am unsure which type of input from my end would benefit you most at this point.

And one last question: are there any set durations for the pieces from your end?

Jonathan &  Blake

Very cool - I can see this working.

I see one musical bottleneck if you're only using chords or definite notes: the piece could really become a bit bleak that way.
I suggest to have several groups in the chat simultaneously sending different parameters:
group #1 - as you suggested: pitches, chords, duration. Add dynamics?
group #2 - playing techniques: arco, pizzicato, col legno battuto, chopsticks, ebow
group #3 (optional) - direct influence on mixing parameters in the ToneLab (Chat-to-MIDI). this might be overdoing it, though.

I fear that the way you set up the rules the piece could be over in less than 5 seconds.
Maybe add in a time frame like "IF more than one member of the audience speaks inside of the first 10 seconds"...
The feedback loop is a nice touch - it generates the opposite fear in my: what if no-one speaks?
Yes, I see where you're going with this!

Ms. Howard
I like the ideas of the colours a lot!
What would I be wearing, since I seem to be the counterpart?
And especially for your piece the question: would you be ok with the 6string eCello instead of a real acoustic cello?
There are examples in the video above of who the 6-string works
As for the improvised parts of your composition: I would like to flesh this out in the group. How do you feel about that? Would you like concrete sound-ideas before hand?
Maybe we could actually also decide on which part of the Bach could be used in which part of your piece? The structure is very clear and could be shown that way...

I like the aspect of the choice between fighting and just giving up towards the end of the piece!
Spontaneously I would tend to take a very slow and calm movement from the Bach (Sarabande) and really try to concentrate on that.
I can be seated with the eCello, no problem.
Might really be a good idea for the performers to get the harness around me, plug the instrument in etc.
What do you need from me in terms of more examples?

see video

see video


  1. Hello again, something went wrong here on my end. For some reason the videos I made for you are not available. I hope I can get this fixed before class time...!