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Wednesday November 08th 2006, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Pindari

Wednesday November 08th

Alan Lamb at the wires


String on a wire

Jo and I have been taking shifts with Alan. Not because he’s too hard going or anything, just because our son Oscar wants to be involved in everything. I can’t blame him, it’s been fun for all of us.

Yesterday I listened to this strange sliding sound that Alan identified as a spider. Last night the wires were singing every time I got up from writing an essay. They started with a drone, built up to whine before the harmonics really began to sparkle.

Today Alan showed me how running a bow across a string attached to the wires provides a rich chordal effect. He’d attached the string to the side of the wires without the piezo crystals that are used to record the sound. I was surprised at how loud the bowing sounded through the polystyrene box across the bridge yet how subtle the response through the headphones. He explained the sound would be louder if the string was connected to the wire with the pick-up.

It’s quite a joy hanging out with Alan. He knows aeolian harps and is happy to share his knowledge. Every time I have an idea about something to experiment with he’s tried it already but, being the understated bloke he is, it never seems like he’s discouraging my enthusiasm.

I’m awed by how thorough Alan is in refining his techniques, he’s got a scientific approach. It is something I’ll have to try to practice.


PS – Here’s a plug for my first CD under the name of Bassling. Click for the album

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