Flute Multi-Phonics

I’ve recently been geeking out over a book (really it’s the appendix of a book) that has all practical flute multi-phonics written out.  Yes, that’s correct 1826 different multi-phonics.  The interesting thing about this appendix is that it is hyper specific to the actual frequencies of each pitch, dividing the scale used (from a fundamental pitch, say C, to an octave above) into 31 different tones.  It also gives a conversion table to users who want to use the pitches in our typical 12 tone division.

Why am I geeking out over this book? Well my next composition is a piece for Flute and (lightly) Prepared Piano.  In a sense, this work is a study in how to apply extended techniques, which I have used from very sparingly to not at all.  The piano’s preparation is sparse in that I apply a few mutes to the piano strings to shift the pitch outlaid on the piano up two octaves and a major third.  Essentially, the goal is to get the dampened, glass color change that harmonics give.  The other preparation is throwing some keys (the kind used to unlock doors) onto the lowest note on the piano, A1, so that when it’s played, we get a jarring, metallic buzz.

The work is shaping up to be frenetic and crazed, which is exactly what I’m going for.   My current struggle involves figuring out what multi-phonics will have ample tone production to be usable if the piano is simultaneously revving along like clockwork.  Check out the first use of multi-phonics in flutes ever in Berio’s Sequenza and then listen to some even wilder music with Robert Dick playing:

Comments are closed.