LUNA NOVA HOME> Extended Techniques for Piano> Harmonics Ex. 2

George Crumb, Voice of the Whale, Archeozoic (Var.I)

Voice of the Whale, Archeozoic (Var I)
Page 8, middle of bottom line
Use of chisel for harmonics and glissando on a single string

The Archeozoic (Var I) movement from George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale requires the use of a chisel to produce harmonics at certain points on each string. A portamento between each note is achieved as the smooth edge of the chisel slides from one harmonic to the next. In this example, the pitches A, B, and D are produced in this manner on the D# string. As soon as each note is plucked, the chisel slides to the next note. The right hand plucks the D# string, and this note is marked “pizzicato” on the bottom line. The chisel is held in the left hand, and the harmonic points and their rhythmic values are notated in the top line.

One of the preparations the pianist needs to make prior to performance is to use the chisel to locate the exact points on the D# string where the pitches A, B, D, and G are produced. As with the previous example, I have found it best to use a white crayon because chalk would disappear from the string on each vibration. Masking tape would not be very practical because it is necessary to slide chisel over the harmonic points. A certain amount of pressure applied to the chisel is necessary for the clarity of the sound of each pitch. The last figure in this example calls for the right hand to repeat the D# on the keyboard while the chisel slides up a minor seventh from the A harmonic to the G harmonic.

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