Ellen Fallowfield and I outed the latest version of my hyperboles project last weekend at the Crosscurrents Festival in Birmingham. After two days of intense rehearsals and development it was a real pleasure to play in the Dome of the Bramall Music Building. Scott Wilson and Annie Mahtani’s team are continuing and developing the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre tradition using a thirty-odd Genelec speaker system in three elevation levels. You can get an idea of this in the picture above, though I should own that I got this from BEAST’s website rather than from our performance (forgot to take piccies again!).

This, the fifth version of hyperboles, was written for Ellen Fallowfield. In particular it concentrates on her work developing and notating cello multiphonics. This is fully documented online at www.cellomap.com. Most of the notes in the score are multiphonics—there’s really only the odd low C and high B-flat that’s not a multiphonic.  Ellen’s overview of how these are created is given below:

Multiphonics seem to occur when harmonics with nodal points closely situated on a string are encouraged to sound together by making some compromises with left-hand position, bow speed/pressure and point of contact. In other words, the player finds a left-hand position, bow speed/pressure and point of contact that is ‘acceptable’ enough to several harmonics to enable them to sound simultaneously.

Each version/performance of hyperboles involves taking a journey. I use the elevation data of a Google Maps journey to control various aspects of the piece, for instance activity levels. The process is detailed in an earlier post. I like to use a journey that has some particular significance for the performer, so for Mieko Kanno’s violin version we used a hike inJapan from Nagano to Yamanashi. Ellen has a particularly strong association with the train journey she often took from Basel (Switzerland) to Graz (Austria) when she was studying in both places simultaneously a few years ago.




Many thanks to Tsun Winston Yeung for the last-minute Zoom H5 recording linked above. I’m very much looking forward to getting into the studio and recording this project properly some time soon.

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