Child Bride

cello, electronics and MIDI

Premiered April 21, 1989 by California E.A.R. Unit, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Published by Chez Vees Music (formerly Leisure Planet Music)

Throughout Child Bride, the idea of multiple images, or double exposure, is encountered. For quite a while before writing this piece, I had been wanting to appropriate two specific ideas from electric guitar playing into a piece for cello. One involves a two-handed tapping technique on the fingerboard. It allows the guitarist to play two independent parts, much like a keyboard player. The other idea stems from a common arranging practice. Sometimes a chord (sonority, vertical simultaneity, etc….) which is orchestrated through the ensemble will be condensed on one instrument, usually guitar or keyboards. If only this chord could be piled onto a cello, thus having all these notes (pitch classes) resonating within one acoustic body. The big problem was, of course, logistics (how to do this). The solution and title became clear one day while looking at Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors… Even. This large glasswork has, over the years, accumulated many cracks. They start in the realm of the bachelors and converge in that of the bride and seem to suggest many bows entwined in the strings of the cello. However, when bowed in this way, the “real world” cello only gives one view of the multiple images, the gritty stuff of interference patterns and the like. Sort of akin to Set A of a Venn diagram. What is missing is the clean version of the notes that give more clues about structure, harmony and the like. This (Set B) is achieved by triggering (via MIDI’d cello or sequencer) a sampler loaded with picture perfect (bridal portrait?) cello sounds. So the piece exists at the overlap. One could say Child Bride is the Set C bits.