The Miraculous Multiplication of Strings

2017, 5th/2nd order Ambisonics, Séverine Ballon, cello

Program Notes

'And the crowd gathered, and sat down, and waited, and there was one string, and the string sang. And one string was good. But then the string multiplied and was four, and a beautiful body appeared and resonated with them. And four strings and a body were good. But in the world of vibrations and sound there were also dead strings, eighty eight of them, no longer animated by the touch of creatures. And they were brought back to life, and resonated with the four and the body, and they were not just ninety two, but a multiplicity far greater. A miracle of sound.'

The four strings and resonant body are Séverine Ballon's cello, the eighty eight strings are the earthly remains of a vertical piano that spent last Winter outdoors, being tuned by rain and sunshine, home to lizards and assorted critters. Many different cello sounds with extended techniques were played by Séverine through the soundboard and freely resonanting strings of the piano, and recorded using first and second order DIY Ambisonics microphones from the SpHEAR project. All sounds in the electronic part are derived from those recordings, with hardly any electronic processing done to them. Raw cello beauty. The lush reverb that accompanies most of the sounds and defines the ever changing space in which they live is just the natural resonance of the soundboard and piano strings. Live cello playing merges with the multiplicity of cellos in the electronic part, is sometimes piped through a virtual soundboard and strings derived from the impulse response of the piano, and the whole is diffused in full 3D surround sound (5th and 2nd order Ambisonics) by our permanent installation of the GRAIL in the Stage.



Stage concert, November 28 2017

Score object (laser engraved on acrylic, lit by LEDs on the side, PDF)