composition mark for strings

• Nov 29, 2018 - 08:06

Hi, I want to mark a score to direct a violin player to play harshly, with a growl. Is there a marking for that? I can't seem to achieve the effect I want. And, by the way, is there an actual name for making that sound?


In reply to by st.palamas

Yeah, that is why I asked if there were a term for it. I have heard a violin played like that and I can only say it sort of growled, scraped, was harsh, etc. I wondered how a composer told a violinist that that section of the piece was to be played like that--- just insert a note to that effect, then?

The italian term ringhiare literally means "to growl". I've seen this term once, but for trombones. I don't know what a violinist would make of it. In a score you'd have to be specific, or simply ask the violinist.

There are many ways to have a "scrape" sound with violin which entails multiple stops
(2-4 notes played at once) with dissonant intervals. Or perhaps a saccade (not sure of spelling) where the bow is pressed hard and effects adjacent string.

There is a "grande detache" which is a bowing technique which entails rapid back and forth movement of the bow on the string (that is, it never leaves the strings as in staccato) which gives a rubbing quality.

sul ponticello means bow near or at the bridge, but this is more of an eerie, nasal type quality.

This is a tough question to answer. Maybe if you gave an example from the literature of the sound you wanted.

In reply to by penne vodka

I recognize the sound being described. I have only heard it in modern era music, like after 1930 or so, and never from an extremely famous composer. It's similar to a scratching sound, but it's not the same. Perhaps the OP can find a sound sample of what she want's.

In reply to by penne vodka

OK, I will take these in the order mentioned. First, there won't be a specific violinist I can ask, as it is just a score. I just want to know how to notate it so that any player can know, or look up, what I mean. Second, it is a sort of "scrape" I am after, a rough sound, but not with multiple stops, just one pronounced ... growl... on a note, or a passage played in growls. Third, I don't know if what I heard was affecting adjacent strings, it could have been, it being so easy to do a 2 note chord. It didn't sound dissonant, just powerful. (Sadly, I don't remember what I heard it in-- maybe Gypsy music?) What's next, oh, definitely not rapid back and forth movement of the bow, the sound was a one-directional bowing when it was on one note, like they sort of swooped into it. Thanks for the wealth of possibilities, though!

In reply to by Beths

You're welcome

"Piqued" your interest? It turns out "pique" is also a type of bowing, but not what you seek.

The saccade' is a French word which means (according to google translate) "jerky". Perhaps same root as word for eye condition?

I'm at a loss. It may turn up in memory at a later date. It is frustrating because contemporary music was a major study. You may have to rely on a violinist to show up here. (I received specific violin help from one). Or simply write "scrape (or growl) with bow".

You may look up the work of George Crumb.

Or check out Dennis Blair for the sound,though not notation. (I suspect he often played football without a helmit.)

Here too: sound, not notation.

These may link you somewhere. If I do recall, I'll give you a holler.

In reply to by penne vodka

Hey, thanks for the links. Maybe the players will do the sound I want and, hopefully, tell the viewer the name of the technique. Didn't know "pique" was a technique. I will check that one, too. As to
saccade", yes, the eye movement and the horse training both involve jerky movements (the eye moving from word to word while reading and jerk that is applied to horses during training for something).

In reply to by Jm6stringer

There definitely was a "scratch" element to the sound I want, but there also was a pitch to it. Not what I would call "white noise" as some sources describe it, like when trying to define "overpressure/overpresseur", but a throaty, scratchy, growly note. Seems some of the problem might be in trying to describe a sound with only words. Penne Vodka sent links to some people making various sounds, so I am going to check those out when I can get to a high speed coffee shop/library. It is problematic trying to find a notation to a sound when I cannot hear what sound the person is describing. I guess that as "A picture is worth a thousand words", a sound is, too.

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