for solo amplified cello

Mary Bellamy

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for solo amplified cello

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Composer Mary Bellamy
Year of Composition 2011
Duration ca.19'

Categories (all composers) , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-mb3a1


Abrasion was written for and premiered by Séverine Ballon at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 2011. Séverine gave the second performance of the piece at the Huddersfield University Concert Series in 2013.

This work is the second solo cello piece I wrote in collaboration with cellist Séverine Ballon. The first, Transference (2010), dealt extensively with subtle ways of varying sound quality through very slight variations in finger and bow pressure. In Abrasion I have continued to explore this facility for varying sound quality on the cello, but here the forms of attack and pressure are much more varied and extreme. The majority of the actions executed by the performer on the instrument produce sounds focused on noise rather than pitch. These include sounds produced both with and without the bow, such as scraping the bow across all four dampened strings, or diagonally up and down dampened strings, running the fingernail up and down a single string, tapping single strings or hitting all four muted strings with the hand. I chose this range of sounds initially for their percussive qualities but as I worked on the piece I became increasingly interested in their potential to draw attention to the instrument performer relationship; to create unity between the physical movement of the performer and the resulting sound. During the work these sounds are contrasted with more sustained textures, which explore the harmonic spectrum produced by detuning two of the strings to microtonal intervals.