Multiphonics

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by matt_BBb_bass, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    Hey

    Iv just come Back from the Wessex Band summer school where i got a piece of music for our bass tutor (Joe Cook princble bass of Black Dyke) called FUNGG! Bass players must no about it lol! Well it has multiphonics in it and i was wondering if anyone could tell me how to play multiphonics because i have tryed before but i can't do it because i dont think i am doing right!

    Could anyone help?

    Thanks
     
  2. 1st Position

    1st Position Member

    You play the note as normal, but at the same time sing from your throat. Or even scream! Once you can produce this second 'sound' then it is just a case of modifying it to get to the pitch that you need. It is possible to produce a full chord with some practice and experimentation. It is also fun to play a note and sine the octave above, then sing down the scale until you are trying to sing and play in unison - you will experience a 'beat' until both are exactly in tune.
     
  3. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Bass players definitely do KNOW about it.....

    I suppose if I was more talented, 30 years younger and could think of a use for it, I too would spend hundreds of hours on mastering it!

    Is it only me that thinks that, even in the hands of an expert it sounds like the pump on a washing machine emptying the water whilst spinning at 1600 rpm? Nice novelty, but as much use as a chocolate teapot. Maybe that's just envy! ;-)

    Øystein Baadsvik's site has some info:

    http://www.baadsvik.com/?catalogID=124&p=2&art=131
     
  4. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I've worked at it quite a bit on the trumpet after hearing recordings of Håkan Hardenberger doing it. Because of my vocal range I can only get them to sound when I play bottom F# up to bottom C.

    I find the best way to start is to play a note, say bottom G and sing the D (fifth) above it. When you're comfortable and in tune, there should be no beating but there isn't an obvious overtone. Change your voice to an E (the sixth) and if you get the balance between voice and played not right, you should hear a pedal C, so you in fact get a C major Chord.

    It works for me, I've spent quite a bit of time on it. I've got the music for a piece called 'Exposed Throat' by H.K. Gruber but can't get anywhere near it. He also wrote 'Aerial' for Hardenberger which has loads of harmonics in it too
     
  5. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

  6. Mokey

    Mokey New Member

    I can't do it either, just like I can't do circular breathing
     
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I've been having a go at multiphonics too, and once you;ve got your ear into it, they're not that hard. The big problem is, because your vocal chords slow the air down so much, you've gotta really yell down the instrument to get any sort of air to your lips!

    Have you tried the 'Human Beat-Box' bit in Fnugg yet? That's brilliant. I'm nowhere near the standard that Mr Baadsvik plays it (Then again, who is!!) but I think it's one of the most brilliant pieces I've ever had a crack at.

    I have to read the part down a fourth though, cos I have a bass-baritone voice so can't sing that high!!
     
  8. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    Blimey folks! you all seem to be way behind the times on this one. I know hundreds of brass players who have had this technique down cold for a long time. Over at Barnstonworth we use this technique all the time, but to be honest it just sounds like twenty five people playing out of tune.
     
  9. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    And contrary to what some might think, it isn't a new idea. Carl Maria von Weber was writing polyphonics in his horn concertino in E way back at the beginning of the 19th century.
     
  10. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Ha ha ha well said, load of nonsense, Weber may of invented it but its primarily used by modern music lovers, its pointless, its boring, its not particularly clever, and it makes me physically ill to hear players doing it,I don't quite know what people are trying to achieve/prove by doing it but as far as i am concerned it doesnt sound unlike my mums circa 1986 Magimix food blender!!!!!!!
     
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  12. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    He may have done, I suppose, but I only said he wrote for it - very effectively, in my opinion.

    As, ultimately, is all music - sung, blown, bowed or struck, I suppose.

    It doesn't bore me. Steven Mead, for example, uses the technique sparingly and to great effect. As did Weber and many others. In fact, Fnugg is a particularly fine example of how effective it can be.

    Yes it is. It's difficult to do well. That's why it is only effective in the hands of highly skilled players.


    You are a sensitive flower!

    Just trying to play what's written, presumably.
     
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    And that, children, is why brass bands struggle to move on. ;)

    Music adapts or dies, it's that simple.

    Not a massive amount of years ago, top d's and E's were virtually unheard of - especially written ones, rather than a soloist going up the third at the end of a piece. Now they're commonplace.

    Who;s to say we won;t have a multiphonic Eb Bass cadenza in a test-piece in future? I for one would welcome it.

    In fact, where's my manuscript paper....
     
  14. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I think both points are valid. It was commonplace a few years back for certain 'brotherly' euphonium players to include multiphonics in their cadenzas, and yes, it got very boring and predictable. I personally think there is nothing worse than 'Endearing Young Charms' played with a multiphonic cadenza - I have also been guilty of it myself, but I was young and innocent!

    I think that, if the effect is to be used, it has to be in the context of the piece and within the wishes of the composer. Take, for example, the trombone solo 'Basta' by Folke Rabe. The composer uses multiphonics to produce a series of cadences within the tonality of the piece and I think that it is one of the best examples I've heard.

    But as a party trick on 'Grandfather's Clock'? Give me a break! You know who you are, Mr Mead!
     
  15. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    I would love too know where this urban myth came from that for bands to "move on", they have to do stuff and play stuff that's sounds stupid, whoops and such are stupid, there party tricks designed to impress joe public who doesnt know better, as for multi foneyics well, why sing down a instrument that's designed to be buzzed down, Its like Opera being performed in contemporary settings, its token, if players have become so proficient on there instrument of choice that they have to start whooping and sounding like a T.B victims last breath the standard of playing around today must be SO much better than it has ever been, cos the greats of the past spent there time concentrating on sound, reading and ensemble playing.

    If bands/players want to "move on", maybe they should run before they can walk. They should play interesting new works that sound good,not shocking, good and the players should first try to become better than players that have precursed them at the basics of playing, at this present moment I could name one, possibly two players that are commonly regarded as the best that there instrument has seen. All this squeaking, whooping and singing by players who couldnt lace the boots of names from the past wont change that, it would be nice if it was that easy!!!!!
     
  16. lauren

    lauren Member

    To hear how awsome multiphonics sound, log onto radio 3 and listen to the evening concert from Saturdays Brass Prom with Hakan Hardenberger playing Aerial. The beginning is just amazing!!
     
  17. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    No Ta, my drains need un-blocked!!!!!!!!!!
     
  18. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    Well, absolutely. By coincidence, I was just reading a contemporaneous report from about 200 years ago about someone called Mr Paganini. Apparently, playing tunes on a four string violin was't enough for him. He deliberatley broke three of the strings and played the entire piece on the one remaining string. What a prat! What a pseud! The audience loved it of course - but what do they know? Philistines, the lot of them.

    Fortunately, we have never heard of Mr Paganini since.
     
  19. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Now there is a good example of novelties in music - and how they pass into the mainstream, or rather how they DON'T:

    Of course he is well known.... mainly from what a long list of other people have done to ONE of his themes! As for his technical abilities, most people walking the streets now wouldn't know if he played an Alphorn , a Zither or anything else in-between!

    The impact of his playing violin on one string is notable today too, but only by it's absence on the Concert stage!

    [Besides, some people think some of his playing abilities were partly due to a physical deformity, Marfan's syndrome so he had extra long fingers.]

    As someone mentioned, "multiphonics" has been around before, and no doubt it was the "in thing" then too, but it is a fad, a novelty, & very clever it may be, but after a 2 hour concert of this simulated flatulence, even the greatest of fans is going to want something a bit more lyrical to listen to!

    As I say, I wish I could do it, but I wish I could do a lot of things, and this one is so far down that list, it isn't something I am going to fret about.

    Fads have been around in Brass bands over the years too -
    I have often wondered how old-timers manage to play with SO much Vibrato - in it's day, that was a style of playing that was apparently envied, now it sounds vaguely comical, and I don't see anyone now spending hours wagging their chin to produce the perfect over-affected Vib!
    Other fads - look at the Post-horn - in the 60's a solo was THE thing; or earlier than that: the Echo cornet - now the only place you can get one is India where they knock out copies of old Besson models costing only a few quid!
     
  20. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Yes...slightly different kettle of Fish, try asking the general public at large who the greatest trumpet player ever is and they would probably say Roy Castle!! Clarinet......Acker Bilk!!! Trombone.....the butter man from the Lurpak advert!!!!! Make the same audience listen to Philip McCann playing Rusalka's and Bert Average playing flight of the bumble bee, the result will be sad but predictable. There is far too much "Dumbing down" around at the moment, from journalism through to the arts. at least with Damion Hurst and Tracy Emin, the nonsense that they produce is 10% pretentiousness and 90% publicity seeking, There is no living to be made out of bands so why not just play properly and to a high standard, we may even set a precedent for for the arts in general because if things carry on the way they are, we may go to the Open one day and listen to 21 bands performing "free impro" while standing on one leg dressed in lederhosen!!!!!
     
  21. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Bring it on! (except the shorts)
     
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