© 2019, Eliza Brown

Distilled

7-string bass viol

 

2010

Awaiting premiere

Distilled is a detailed examination of the identity of the viola da gamba, both as a physical, acoustic object and as an instrument with a particular place in music history. Detuning the two lowest strings and specifying an unusual fretting and temperament alludes to the gamba’s historic flourishing in an era where these aspects of the instrument were fluid, and also aligns that history (perhaps anachronistically) with the modern impulse to evade convention. Individual aspects of the instrument’s acoustic properties and performance tradition – natural harmonics, microtonal and chordal possibilities, bow placement and pressure, etc. – are isolated and examined over the course of sparse, slowly developing musical phrases.