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for violoncello (ca. 12 min)

dedicated to Jean-Guihen Queyras
Stefan Prins (2008)


1. for the entire duration of this piece, no vibrato is used

2. all accidentals apply to the one note they precede
3. the C-string of the cello is tuned down an octave (all notes played on this string will sound an octave lower than written!)
4. it could be helpful not to put much (or any?) rosin on the bow for the entire duration of this piece (so that, when asked for, the
sounds will be almost completely pitchless – for example when the notes have the twin-notehead)
5. Symbols:

All notes with this notehead are to be played col legno very close to the bridge (position –and exact pitch- is free, as long
as it is very close to the bridge), hitting the indicated string (I, II, III or IV) softly while the string is being dampened by the
left hand. Thus, the only pitch heard is the pitch produced by the contact between legno and string (and sounds almost
like a distant bird chirping)

Degrees of left-hand pressure:

All notes with this diamond-shaped notehead are to be played with a very light left hand pressure on the string, resulting
in the natural harmonics (when placed on a node) or in a rather airy sound (elsewhere)

“normal” notehead = “normal” left-hand pressure to produce a “normal” pitched tone

a cross-notehead = tap the string (to produce the indicated pitch) as hard as possible (so that the string contacting the
wood of the fingerboard is heard very clearly). If a line departs from this note, a glissando is made according to the line

All notes with this “twin-notehead” are to be played with both index- and ringfinger next to each other on the same
string (as one big finger), with very light left hand pressure. By placing the second finger next to the first, the string will
produce (natural) harmonics when being bowed. In stead, a “pitched noise” will be heard (when played shortly it sounds
almost like a sigh or a breath, when played longer it sounds like filtered white noise)

The left hand is placed (rather lightly) on all strings, so that all resonance is stopped

Degrees of bow pressure:

Very light bow pressure (flautando), resulting in a very thin, airy sound

“normal” bow pressure

heavy bow pressure, resulting in scratchlike, harsh noise

extreme bow pressure: make angular (almost spastic!) movements with bow (horizontally, vertically, diagonally, circularly,
...), pressing extremely hard against the string(s). In these passages, the bow does not leave the string between two
consecutant actions. This should result in a “choked” and extremely “ugly” (!) noisy sound.

Pont(P) At certain places in this piece, the movement of the bow across the strings is specified using a
supplementary staff, placed above the “normal” staves. The upper line of this staff, symbolizes the position
of the bridge (Pont/P), the lower staff the place where the fingerboard starts (Tasto/T) or where the fingers
are placed on the fingerboard (Dito/D). The movement of the lines in between these boundaries, symbolizes
the movement to be made with the bow (col legno / arco) between these boundaries. In most cases, this is
combined with the “choke-grip” of the left hand, prevailing the strings to resonate.

Strike the string with the bow (arco) so that the string clearly hits the wood

Strike the string col legno, so that the string clearly hits the wood

Strike the string col legno, and let the bow “rest” against the string (col legno, with the tip) as long as the horizontal line
indicates, so that the bow will vibrate against active strings, making a buzzing sound