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Have multiphonics ever been any use to main-stream composers?


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Author Topic: Have multiphonics ever been any use to main-stream composers?  (Read 230 times)
guest54
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« on: September 30, 2012, 12:15:13 pm »

Certainly not to Brahms, I can say.

Here is a definition or description:

"Multiphonics are sounds generated by a normally monophonic instrument in which two or more pitches can be heard simultaneously. The term is customarily used to describe chordal sounds played on a woodwind or brass instrument.

"Any sound created by a wind instrument consists of a simultaneous set of frequency components or partials. For a conventional monophonic tone, the partials are locked into a harmonic relationship by the interaction between the air column of the instrument and the sound generator (reed, air jet or lips). The resulting sound is perceived as a single, well-defined pitch. A multiphonic sound can be achieved on a woodwind instrument by choosing an unconventional fingering pattern for which the resonant modes of the air column are not harmonically related. The player may then be able to sustain simultaneously two inharmonically related tones, each based on one of the air column modes: the interaction with the sound generator mixes the two tones, giving additional sum and difference tones. The result is a rich complex of generally inharmonic partials. Such a sound may be perceived as a stable chord with several pitches, or as a tone cluster with periodically fluctuating loudness and timbre. Multiphonic fingerings for several woodwind instruments have been tabulated by Bartolozzi.

"Woodwind multiphonics are also possible using conventional fingerings, if the player uses an appropriately modified blowing technique. Similar multiphonics can be obtained on brass instruments by altering the combination of lip setting, tension and pressure known collectively as the embouchure. These multiphonics can consist of either inharmonic or harmonic partials; in the latter case, two or more of the upper partials are generated so powerfully that they stand out as individual pitches in the tone complex. A useful classification of multiphonics is provided by Castellengo.

"A further technique for generating multiphonics relies on the player singing one note while playing another on the instrument. Additional sum and difference tones are created by mixing of the two tones in the sound generator of the instrument. This is the basis of the technique of horn chord playing, which has been known and practised since the 18th century."

Have any respected twentieth-century composers used these techniques?
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David Carter
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 04:20:12 pm »


Certainly not to Brahms, I can say.

Have any respected twentieth-century composers used these techniques?


Loads. It depends what you mean by respected.
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JimL
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 05:08:13 pm »

One of the more famous 19th-Century examples is to be found in the Horn Concertino by Weber.
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autoharp
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 01:05:58 am »

And also, apparently, in the concerto for violin and horn by Ethel Smyth. Both this and the cadenza of the Weber concertino use "chords" for the horn - play one note, sing another, and on a good day other notes will appear.
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guest2
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 11:51:26 pm »

Would some one cite some more examples please? Preferably from the earlier part of the twentieth century. Strauss? Stravinsky? Schönberg?
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