Finger Breath – Material and control through intimate sounds

Palle Dahlstedt

Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Article Number: 1394
  • PDF link

Abstract:

Finger Breath, for performer, live electronics, and zither, was originally commissioned by the the Frontside International Chamber Music Festival, funded by a grant from the Swedish Arts Council, and premiered in January 2023 as a headphone performance in the belly of a small passenger ferry. The main concepts behind the work are three: First, the intimate sounds from the musicians breathing, and from his fingers on the strings of an ancient zither. Second, the idea that the live breathing and the musician’s sounds played by finger movements are the only sources of gestural control and expression in the piece. Breathing and finger movements form the basis of many musical expressions throughout the world, as they are our most intimate physiological and gestural bodily mechanisms. Third, the combination of the first two into a situation of “entangled musicianship”, where each action has triple consequences: as a sound source to be heard live, as a sound source being fed to various buffers for later manipulation and playback, but also as a source of gestural control, affecting a variety of playback mechanisms for the buffered sounds. It is thus impossible to play something without also altering the conditions for future playing. Hence the entanglement.

Citation:

Palle Dahlstedt. 2023. Finger Breath – Material and control through intimate sounds. Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime23-music-1394,
 abstract = {Finger Breath, for performer, live electronics, and zither, was originally commissioned by the the Frontside International Chamber Music Festival, funded by a grant from the Swedish Arts Council, and premiered in January 2023 as a headphone performance in the belly of a small passenger ferry. The main concepts behind the work are three: First, the intimate sounds from the musicians breathing, and from his fingers on the strings of an ancient zither. Second, the idea that the live breathing and the musician’s sounds played by finger movements are the only sources of gestural control and expression in the piece. Breathing and finger movements form the basis of many musical expressions throughout the world, as they are our most intimate physiological and gestural bodily mechanisms. Third, the combination of the first two into a situation of  “entangled musicianship”, where each action has triple consequences: as a sound source to be heard live, as a sound source being fed to various buffers for later manipulation and playback, but also as a source of gestural control, affecting a variety of playback mechanisms for the buffered sounds. It is thus impossible to play something without also altering the conditions for future playing. Hence the entanglement.},
 articleno = {1394},
 author = {Palle Dahlstedt},
 booktitle = {Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Rob Hamilton},
 month = {May},
 note = {Live Concert 2, Wednesday May 31, Biblioteca Vasconcelos},
 title = {Finger Breath – Material and control through intimate sounds},
 url = {https://www.nime.org/proceedings/2023/nime23_concert_2.pdf},
 year = {2023}
}