“Stick Slip” – Bowed Music. The Overtone Ensemble at West Space Gallery. November 23, 2012

Slip-Stick (or Stick-Slip) is the frictional phenomena caused by two objects sliding over and sticking to each other. A few sonic examples of this include squealing car brakes, stridulating grasshoppers and squeaking chalk on a blackboard. Perhaps the most common musical example is that of bowed instruments where the action of the bow drives the strings in a regular cycle of stick-slip-stick-slip.

“Slip-Stick” consisted of two performances.  Both of these works utilised acoustic phenomena arising from Just Intonation interval tuning such as phasing, combination tones and sympathetic vibrations to produce a deeply immersive sonic environment.

The Ensemble performed using four new instruments recently built by Tim Catlin. These Just Intonation tuned metal rod instruments are bowed or stroked by hand and produce an ethereal, haunting sound. The long sustaining nature of the rod’s sound and the close interval tunings of the instruments allow players a sonic palette of richly complex textures and harmonic complexity.

Other instruments used in these pieces included bowed acoustic guitars, cymbals and metal sculptures, chromatic handbells, wineglasses, singing bowls and glockenspiels.




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