Air Alight – Second rehearsal

Day 72/126

We had our second NWF rehearsal this morning, everyone was present except for Cecilia who is travelling.  I think I played about 10 notes in 2 hours!  We spent most of the rehearsal talking through the piece, making sure we were all reading the music correctly, and playing the techniques requested the same way.

There are two techniques in particular that we spent the most time on: singing and playing harmonics, and whisper tones (aka whistle tones).

There are several sections of the piece where Robert is asking for us to sing a sustained Singing notationpitch and the play an arced series of harmonics above it.  For students who haven’t seen this notation before: the open square next to the pitch indicates that it is to be sung.  From this picture you also get a sense of the timings that Robert is asking for.  This rest should be two seconds, and this entire harmonic series should be nine seconds long.  These series are all of different lengths and start on different pitches, it’s a really cool effect.

What is a whisper tone?  Here’s a good, brief explanation:

I have to confess that I’ve never played a whisper tone in my 30+ years of flute playing.  I asked my NWF mates for help, I am clueless as to how to make and sustain it, let alone do what Robert is asking for.  My NWF mates who have done it are very concerned that they can’t hit the notes that Robert is asking for, definitely worrisome.  I will post more as I start to experiment.

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