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Re: Artificial string harmonics question

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: Artificial string harmonics question
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 15:18:04 -0800

On February 21, 2002 13:56, David Raleigh Arnold wrote:
> Again, an artificial harmonic is one made by stopping a note
> with the left hand and touching the string at the center
> of the vibrating portion when playing it.  Since the pitch obtained
> is raised one octave, 8va notation gives the correct pitch, and there
> is no reason to use a diamond shaped note.

Not true for violin, viola, and cello.  Most artificial harmonics (for 
those instruments) are created by stopping a note and then touching the 
string a fourth or a fifth above the stopped note.  For example, if the 
bottom finger holds down an e and the higher finger touches a fifth 
above it, you get an e''.  Using this method, you can get a harmonic 
sound on any arbitrary note; you can play scales, melodies, whatever.
Check out Shostakovich Piano Trio #1 (first movement); it begins with a 
long cello solo all in artifial harmonics.

> In music for guitar, a fret number is often given with the diamond
> shaped note.  With non=fretted stringed instruments, a small note on
> the same stem is supposed to give the true pitch.

It looks as though "artificial harmonics" means something different for 
guitars.  I don't know if the cello-artificial harmonics are possible 
to do on a guitar; if not, that would explain the difference.  :)

- Graham Percival, cello teacher.

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