A Vegetable-Progress-Report

It is time to organise the many compositional sketches from the past two years and deliver a vegetable-progress-report. ——-

As a highly intuitive musician, I thrive in an experimental (and distinctly non-routine) practice environment. And whilst it is rather easy to succumb to the feeling of ‘information overload’ (especially when delving deeper into the world of extended techniques), I seem to have established a successful format in which to compose and create music in a challenging, but artistic way. – – – – > In the past, I would often record ideas on my phone, only forgetting to ever return to them or to develop them any further. However, the use of a blog has allowed me to hold myself accountable to these ideas and to develop upon my them past the initial point of discovery. The documentation and reflection that currently accompanies my compositional process has become an invaluable tool in self-growth.

The table below includes all of my solo pieces, composed between August 2018 to the current day. *Note: Whilst there have been numerous other experiments and sketches along the way, the pieces that are documented are those that I currently aim to include on the album. – – – – > The middle column lists the particular techniques of each piece on which I have focused and the right-hand column lists a number of pieces and musicians that have inspired the process. It should be mentioned also that the right hand column lists only the explicit influences for each piece thus far; it would be impossible to list each and every piece of music and person who has inspired the creative process for each vegetable-piece. After all – influence can arise from anywhere at any given time, even unknowingly.


Year 1 (already recorded)

Techniques used

Inspired by

Cauli-flower Part I Frog Strike (where an up-bow strikes all the way to the frog of the bow, creating an intense, percussive effect upon delivery).

Artificial Harmonics with glissandi

Robert Landfermann (technique he uses often, and which I first discovered during a masterclass with Pablo Held Trio).

Dave Holland’s ‘Combination’ (from the album Emerald Tears)

Cauli-flower Part II Combination of harmonics and vocals, utilising a broad range of the fretboard First moments of experimentation between both unison and harmony of partials and voice.

Double-stopped harmonics in Duo una certa nebbia (Stefano Scodannibio and Hakon Thelin).

Bean Pitch-specific tapping and sliding with both hands Barre Phillips – ‘Riverbend’ (Call me when you get there)

Stefano Scodannibio and Hakon Thelin – ‘Geografia Amorosa’ (The middle section of this piece features prominent tapping, played percussively by the left hand).

Beetroot (in blossom) Artificial Harmonics past thumb position combined with vocals

Percussive bouncing of bow combined with consistent left-hand plucking

Elisabeth Coudeaux – ‘Found Not’ (Some Poems: Cello Solo)

Dave Holland’s ‘Flurries’ (Emerald Tears)

Barre Phillips – ‘Quest No. 4’ (End to End)

Stefanno Scodannibio ‘Granada’ (Incontri and Reuniones) – features a recurring bouncing rhythm on the G string

Jerusalem Artichoke Focused on continuous bowing, forward momentum & experimentation with sul pont. vs sul tasto. Slowfox – ‘Thought’ (Gentle Giants) -Gramms is heard to play a continuous harmonic movement in the beginning
Year 2 (in progress)

Techniques used

Inspired by

Snow Peas (served two ways) Quarter tonal double stops Elisabeth Coudeaux Solo Concert + ‘Knut’ from her album – involves detuning or slight variation over double stops (particularly major thirds).
Black Radish Combination of left-hand tapping and bowed partials

Combination of consistent  left hand pizzicato pulse with bowed melody.

Elisabeth Coudeax – ‘A Faint Voice’ – the ascending melodic lines and motivic patterns in cyclic formation. Also ’Found Not’ – combination of left hand tapping and right hand bowing

Dave Holland – ‘Flurries’ (from Emerald Tears)

Combined stopped notes with partials – particularly inspired by ‘Inner Door – Pt. 2’ (Barre Phillips – End to End).

Mark Dresser – ‘For Scodanibbio’ (Unveil) – combination of a constant pulse with bowed melodies and textures

Vegetable Delivery Alternate Tuning (G string tuned down to an F#). Nina Harries – ‘Lose Yourself’ (self-titled albums) & ‘Clown Song’ (Youtube) – spoken word over double bass groove.
Raw Ginger Root

(previously titled Aubergine Flowers)

Alternate Tuning (D string tuned down to a C#),

Focusing on double stops and control over simultaneous stopped notes in combination with partials.

Larry Grenadier’s ‘Vineland’ (The Gleaners), which also focus on double stops in an alternate tuning.

Barre Phillips ‘Grants Pass’ (Call me when you get there) – i.e. the forward momentum and chordal movement.

Dieter Manderscheid ‘Subito Sera’ (Thinking Of)

Double-stopped harmonics in Duo una certa nebbia (Stefano Scodannibio and Hakon Thelin).

Holy Basil Artificial Harmonics amongst the lower positions on the neck – i.e. stopped C, stopped F#, partials no. _____ (to be graphed). 

Combination of voice and dissonant/clashing harmony on the bass.

Robert Landfermann (Live concert of Pablo Held Trio in which he utilised the lower part of the neck to execute artificial harmonics).

Barre Phillips – ‘Amos Crowns Barn’ (Call me when you get there) – inspired by the major tonality of C major particularly.

Hakon Thelin – ‘H Moll/D Dur’ (Thinking Of) – particularly inspired by the timbre of the higher partials

Fava Bean Folk Melody Higher harmonics ____ (numbered partials yet to be determined and graphed) H Moll/D Dur’ – Hakon Thelin (Thinking Of)
Growing (out of nothing) No particular extended techniques, other than the independence of voice and bass feat. a specific vocal melody and lyrics Nina Harries – ‘Icarus’ and ‘Heavy Doubt’ (from self-titled album) – her folky vocals in combination with simple but beautiful bass grooves
Techniques (yet to try and implement)

Techniques used

Inspired by
Preparations/Non pitched ideas Non pitch sounds and grooves, with use of preparations i.e. rods, mallets Elisabeth Coudeaux – ‘Me.’ (Some Poems: Cello Solo)

Dave Holland – ‘Flurries’ (Emerald Tears)

Mark Dresser – ’Clavuus’ (Unveil)

Independence of two different time meters Use of left and right hand to create two opposing parts in experimentation with different time signatures and subdivisions i.e. 3 over 4 Matthias Nowak’s Time Grid
Flautando Partials The singing nature of high partials in direct imitation of a flute  Mark Dresser – ‘Entwined’ (Unveil)

// Upon reflection of the above pieces, it is clear that I have started to categorise my pieces into a prepared list in order to organise my practice schedule in preparation for the album recording in February. Whilst it is currently very much ‘in progress’, it is useful to determine distinct influences in order to continue the momentum of each specific focus, also serving as a reminder in regards to certain techniques that I am interested by, but that I am yet to implement. – – – > One thing is certain, however, and that is that I am gearing up for an intense couple of months prior to the debut vegetable recordings! Ready…. set…. go! (said the carrot). 

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