Almain: suspending Byrne playing Ferrabosco

Martin Parker (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition

Abstract / Description of output

This piece lasts 4'39 and was constructed from short sounds taken from a recording of Viola da Gamba player Liam Byrne performing an Almain by Ferrabosco on Viola da Gamba. It was commissioned for the BBC's Late Junction programme in March 2013.

What strikes the ear about about a well-tuned viola-da-gamba is the purity of the tone. It has an exceptionally sweet resonance, rich in overtones ripe for the picking of any computer music system. The space in between these purely aligned resonances is not however filled with silence but the dirt and grit of a bow that grimily slips and sticks across the strings. As they move across the instrument, the player's fingers cause extraneous hisses and clicks in the transitions between notes. These intimate sounds are as descriptive of the instrument as its other, more obvious pitches. This first piece in a series of three responses to recordings of baroque Viola da Gamba music exploits both in close, occasionally microscopic detail.

Using a graphics tablet, I am able to explore the recorded sound very closely, by drawing the pen of the tablet across I'm also effectively glancing over the the surface of Liam's sound, but at whatever speed I like. The original structures are still present but they are no longer in the foreground and rather support other revelations about the timbre, colour and depth of the instrument's sonority.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBBC Radio 3
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Baroque Spring
  • Remix
  • Live electronics


Dive into the research topics of 'Almain: suspending Byrne playing Ferrabosco'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this