“Stick Slip” – Bowed Music. West Space Gallery. 23/11/2012

Stick Slip

Slip-Stick (or Stick-Slip) is the frictional phenomena caused by two objects sliding over and sticking to each other. A few sonic examples of this include squealing car brakes, stridulating grasshoppers and squeaking chalk on a blackboard. Perhaps the most common musical example is that of bowed instruments where the action of the bow drives the strings in a regular cycle of stick-slip-stick-slip.

“Slip-Stick” consisted of two performances.  Both of these works utilised acoustic phenomena arising from Just Intonation interval tuning such as phasing, combination tones and sympathetic vibrations to produce a deeply immersive sonic environment.

The Ensemble performed using four new instruments recently built by Tim Catlin. These rosined metal rod instruments are stroked by hand, employing the stick slip phenomena to produce ethereal haunting sounds. The long sustaining nature of the rod’s sound and the close interval tunings of the instruments allow players a sonic palette of rich textures and harmonic complexity.

Other instruments used in these pieces included bowed acoustic guitars, cymbals and metal sculptures, chromatic handbells, wineglasses, singing bowls and glockenspiels.

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