(untitled) Part III
for The Long String Instrument, slide guitar, tuned percussion, box bows, shovelers and shovelettes
Ellen Fullman has been developing the Long String Instrument, an installation of dozens of wires fifty feet or more in length since the early 1980s. This project encompasses the study of Just Intonation tuning theory, a compositional practice centered on string harmonics, the development of a tablature graphic notation system, and musical instrument design and fabrication. The enveloping nature of the rich acoustic tones produced by The Long String Instrument evokes a sensation of being inside of a musical instrument
This recording is a multitrack, all parts are played by myself. I compose by recording, mixing and editing bits of audio from my live performance. I sometimes retune these digitally and add parts played on midi instruments (including my own Long String Instrument). When this audio collage is complete, I notate it graphically for live performance of the work. I work in just intonation, or natural tuning, seeking resonances in pure intervals as well as surprising invention in harmonic progressions and melody. This piece employs a recent innovation for my instrument, the shoveler and shovelettes. I designed these handheld box forms for bowing my instrument in a percussive and rhythmic style, think: fiddling chops or hand drumming. The shoveler plays nine strings at once and the smaller shovelette, six. I have discovered performance techniques with these that resemble accordion or strummed guitar. I feel with this work that I am transmitting an atmosphere that might have been experienced by my ancestors around the turn of the century in rural Mississippi. The sonic elements conjure homemade music or sounds from a radio, obscured by weather, wind or rain.
music: Ellen Fullman
editing: Sara Morais
original music from the credits: Raw Forest
coproduction: Teatro do Bairro Alto, The Living Earth Show (Travis Andrews e Andy Meyerson) e a Gerbode Foundation Special Awards in the Arts