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Bow-above-finger multiphonics

Bow-above-finger multiphonics generally more easy to play than class-two type multiphonics, but doesn’t offer as many variations in sonority. Since most of the multiphonics are produced with the finger is positioned close to the end of the fingerboard or beyond the fingerboard, between bow and bridge, they require some preparation time unless being used in phrases where the left-hand is already playing high up on the strings. It is possible to play relatively loud and violent with bow-above-finger multiphonics, but also extremely soft with a smooth, even sound.

Example 1: e/statico

Stefano Scodanibbio composed e/statico in 1980 as one of his first pieces for the double bass. The piece investigates isolated sonorities, in which various sound shapes, usually separated by pauses, seem to be juxtaposed without any meditation. In example 1, the finger is places somewhere beyond the end of the fingerboard on the D-string, between bow and bridge, and the multiphonic sound lives its own short life during the two bow strokes that are indicated.

Ex. 1. Stefano Scodanibbio: e/statico

Example 2: Joke

A loud, ‘noise’-like gesture surprise us in Scodanibbio’s Joke, the first movement from his Sei Studi (1981-83). The double bass really screams through this rather swift glissando of bow-above-finger multiphonics, performed on strings one and two.

Ex. 2. Stefano Scodanibbio: Joke, from Sei Studi

Examples 3-4: oibbinadocS

In oibbinadocS (2004) I use a technique where I combine bow-above-finger multiphonics with a natural harmonics. The sounds are played on each side of the bow: The harmonics is fingered with the thumb above the bow (closer to the nut), while the multiphonics is fingered below the bow (closer to the bridge). The position of the left-hand is being anticipated though double-stops of harmonics, and only a slight movement is needed to bring the bow into the new position between the fingers. Examples 3 and 4 are from the very beginning and end of the piece.

Ex. 3. Håkon Thelin: oibbinadocS

Ex. 4. Håkon Thelin: oibbinadocS