Schafer’s The Crown of Ariadne – question about Night Insects!

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    eleanor-turner on #148591

    Hi everyone,
    I have a question for anyone who has played ‘The Crown of Ariadne’ by Raymond Murray Schafer. I’m struggling with the passage at the end of Dance of the Night Insects, after the singing through the tube bit.
    Does anyone know what he means by the instruction next to the octave B at the end of the penultimate line, “Touch top string with tuning key to lower 1/4 tone”
    Of course, it would be easy to RAISE the string a quarter tone by touching or pressing it, but how to LOWER it?! I’m really stuck! I would think it was a misprint if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s also a downward arrow and he uses the effect twice more.
    Please help if you know the answer!
    Thank you,


    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #148592

    I sent this question to Judy Loman, and she asked me to reply:
    They are to find the quarter tone on the top B of the octave by playing the note and hitting it with the metal tuning key until they find the quarter tone down.

    eleanor-turner on #148593

    Wow!!! A reply from Elizabeth AND Judy herself! I am totally honoured!. Thank you so much. Yes, I have been doing it like that…hitting the string with the key at the point that makes it 1/4 tone lower, but it is actually 7 and 3/4 tones higher than the written B, because it’s a little like making a harmonic, just a slightly flat one… It only occured to me after I wrote the post about it, that I should just listen to Judy’s recording and copy it, which I did, and now it sounds the same as hers – it’s still almost an octave higher rather than just a quarter tone lower, but this is obviously what the composer meant so I am now content. Thank you so much for clearing that up for me!

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #148594

    Personally, I hate the piece, and hope I never have to sit through another performance of it.

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