Musical saw and fixed sounds
Commissioned and premiered by Arnold Marinissen
The musical saw is usually thought of as an instrument of limited timbral and musical scope, but it deserves another look. Its unusual sound characteristics — part theremin, part coloratura — provide me with a strange and fruitful agglomeration of material to work with when creating the tape part. There are some remarkably accurate speech-like sounds that I used to make up the opening section of this piece; yet they were just the result of running rosined horsehair over contorted metal. The title refers to this wondrous sonic result: the metal being in a state of deformation (flexion), while inflecting these unmistakably human speech-tones (paralanguage).