ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

2aMU7. ``Subharmonics:'' An extended technique for the violin.

Mari Kimura

Dept. of Music and Performing Arts Professions, School of Education, New York Univ., 35 West 4th Street, Suite 777, New York, NY 10012

It has been found that unusual ways of drawing the bow on the violin could produce pitches that are as low as one octave below the fundamentals. The technique was developed from a bowing exercise meant to improve sound production by scratching harder on the string. After much practicing, all the audible transient noises were eliminated including the fundamentals, so that only those lower notes could be heard. Then the sounds were polished into steady, clear, and loud ``subharmonic'' pitches, suitable for musical purposes. It was not until April 1994, that these ``subharmonics'' were publicly introduced as a musical element at Kimura's New York debut recital in the third movement of ALT for solo violin by Kimura, which will be performed during this presentation. In ALT, ``subharmonics'' were incorporated into the music, requiring precise control of the bow in order to freely switch between the new technique and the usual bowing. The musical effect was noted as a ``revolutionary bowing technique... astonishing effect'' [E. Rothstein, The New York Times (21 April 1994)]. It was also found that seconds and thirds below the fundamentals can be produced in a similar manner [R. Neuwirth, Strings, Sept./Oct. (No. 44, 1994)].