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Anders Askenfelt, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden: Violin bows and bowing - action and gestures

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What
  • Distinguished Lecture
When Mar 21, 2013
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Tanna Schulich Hall, New Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal
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**PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ROOM HAS CHANGED AND THIS LECTURE WILL NOW TAKE PLACE IN TANNA SCHULICH HALL.

The wine and cheese reception will take place in room A832 & A833 (8th floor of the New Music Building).


ABSTRACT: 

Bowed strings are generally considered to have a wide range of expression in performance. Further, violin performance appears to be easily accessible for analysis. After all, the motion of the bow can be clearly seen with the naked eye. Taken together, the two facts suggest a tempting possibility for studying musical performance in general by observing violinists’ bowing. The complete picture is, however, not as clear-cut. 

All violinists have a common focus on producing a proper string tone at all times. This performance aspect has top priority, and requires a continuous coordination of several bowing parameters (instrument control).  This demand puts serious constraints on the bowing – far from everything is possible. Next, the bow itself is not a passive tool, but introduces major features as well as constraints on the performance through its dynamic action.

Analyses of music performances through observations of violinists’ bowing are consequently not as straightforward as it may appear at first glance. The expected direct access to the deeper layers of music performance is unfortunately cluttered with layers of physics which control the setting in which the player acts. This talk will review fundamentals of bow-string interaction, as well as the essentials of bow dynamics, and relate them to bowed string performance. 


ABOUT ANDERS ASKENFELT:

Anders Askenfelt is Professor in Music Acoustics in the Sound and Music Computing Group at the Dept. of Speech, Music and Hearing, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden. He received an M.S. in electrical engineering and his PhD in Music Acoustics from KTH. His research interests include acoustical analysis of the voice and the physics of the stringed instruments. He has studied the sound generation in the piano from various aspects - from hammer-string interaction to radiated sound, including the influence of the pianist’s touch. His main interest is in the bowed strings, dealing with bow-string interaction, physical properties of violin bows, and violinists’ bowing in performance. 

Askenfelt has been Associate Editor for the international acoustical journal Acta Acustica for a decade. Since 2003 he is Director of the Research Center for Opera and Technology at KTH. In recognition of his contributions to music acoustics he received the Ingemar Bengtsson Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and an amateur double bass player.  

More information about the Department of Speech, Music and Hearing can be found here: http://www.speech.kth.se/info/ 

 

VIDEO ARCHIVE - ANDERS ASKENFELT

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