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Constriction Tones

for viola with rubber band

Year:  2018   ·  Duration:  20m

Year:  2018
Duration:  20m

Elliot Vaughan

Composer:   Elliot Vaughan

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 7, 11 and 14 of score

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In Constriction Tones a rubber band is stretched around the viola, across the strings. With this preparation, the normal motion of the string is constricted and some characteristics of sound production and control are obstructed: a smooth bowed tone is not possible, the timbre is unruly, intonation is affected. Other characteristics are introduced.

In the first movement, the rubber band introduces a chaotic interference ("buzz tone" and "grind tone") and clear harmonics ("whistle tone"), treated as the two extremes of a continuum. The second movement explores the plucked string, where the rubber band effectively adds weight to a portion of the string, creating bell-like inharmonic overtones. The rubber band also couples the four strings, transferring vibration from one to another, further enhancing the inharmonic timbre. In the final movement the instrument is bowed on the far side of the rubber band were the interference is even and controllable, giving the tone a husky, veiled texture, and the silhouette of melody is discernible.

Contents note

Three movements:

1 | bridge side
2 | pizzicato
3 | fingerboard side

Performance history

16 May 2021: REWORKINGS