Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Chirping A

At today's Cellocracy rehearsal, we spent a lot of time working through a few new pieces - a version of Simple Gifts arranged for cello trio and kindly provided to us by Cello Sound, and Memory from the musical "Cats". The first piece includes several forays into the upper reaches - with a few shifts into second position and at one point up to extended third position and even to fifth position. I'd been working on these fingerings over the last week, but I wasn't able to accomplish them today - until after several attempts. We agreed that this will eventually be a nice piece for our repertoire, but that a lot of work is needed.

Even as we work our way through these new pieces measure-by-measure we are able to hear each others' parts right away, making it easier to guide ourselves through the tricky parts. Memory should be ready sooner - maybe for our summer noontime concert.

In the middle of one of these pieces, all of a sudden Cello1's A-string started buzzing in a strange way - whenever she bowed an open A there was a chirping sound (a few octaves higher - but still an A). We isolated it to the area around the fine-tuner. I suspect the string itself - it's quite old and some of the wrapping around the string at the ball-end was loose. A new string would probably solve it, along with some attention to the fine-tuner when it's changed out. It was odd, though, about that chirping being a harmonic of A...

Next week we'll meet again with our coach.

In reflecting on my brief examination of Cello1's A-string at the fine tuner, I now realize that the winding part of the wire was broken at the point after it was wrapped around the ball - but before it is twisted back on itself. This was semi-hidden by the nylon wrapping.

I'm guessing that chirping sound was made by this little nub of wire. Still, it's interesting that it only vibrated on the open A. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't degrade - even fall apart fairly quickly.

Looks like Cello1 needs a new A string.
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