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Flashcards in AOS 6 Petals Deck (16)
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Describe the playing techniques used in 'Petals'

'Normal' bowed playing
Pizzicato and left-hand pizzicato
Placement of the bow sul ponticello or sul tasto
Use of tremolando and flauntando bowing
Use of heavy bow pressure to produce a scratching sound, replacing an audible pitch with noice
Smooth transitions
Glissandi between notes
Playing with varying amounts of vibrato
Use of natural and artificial harmonics
Gradual change of left-hand pressure to move from normal to harmonic (and vice versa)
Trills and ornaments
Double stops
Use of micro-intervals (in this case quarter tones)
Use of col legno


Describe the use of electronics in 'Petals'

Not actually mandatory
Amplification brings our some of the timbral detail in the quieter sounds.
Reverberation can give an effect not unlike that of a sustaining pedal on a piano
A harmoniser effect is used at times, 'detuning' the input pitch by adding pitches a quarter tone above and (although not as important) below simultaneously.
The amount to use of each is shown by traditional 'hairpins' and expressed as a percentage of the maximum.


Describe the structure of 'Petals'

Consists of two types of materials used:
'Type A' - Fragile colouristic passages
'Type B' - More energetic events with clear rhythmic and melodic character.


Describe section '1' of 'Petals'

In lento/free time
Type A - Single notes, glissandi, trills, tremolandi and bow noise.


Describe section '2' of 'Petals'

Type B - Rapid demisemiquaver figures/quarter tone 'chromatic' figures


Describe section '3' of 'Petals'

In lento/free time
Type A - Slow two-part texture over a D-pedal


Describe section '4' of 'Petals'

Type B - More conventional melodic ideas with a rhythmic focus


Describe section '5' of 'Petals'

In lento/free time
Type A - Slow two-part texture with high artificial harmonics


Describe section '6' of 'Petals'

Type B - Many 'variations' on an idea heard in the first stave of this section


Describe section '7' of 'Petals'

In lento/free time
Type A - Concluding section with similarities to section '3'. Bow noise quite prominent here. The last stave should take at least 55 seconds to complete


Describe the texture of 'Petals'

Monophonic textures - Section '1' - moves from F to G, but has lots of use of playing techniques to give the feel of a thicker texture. Section '2' has a more straightforward treatment of a single-line texture.
Two-part textures - Sections '3', '5', and '7'.
Pedal/Drone textures - Sections '3' and '5' have long passages where a held note is heard against notes in the other part. In section '3', the drone note is a D (on open string) while in section '5', it settles on a G#, played as an artificial harmonic. Section '6' is also based around a pedal/drone note, articulated by pizzicato at the start of phrases and as a sustained bass note.


Describe the 'tonality' of 'Petals'

Whilst there is not a traditional sense of pitch organisation, the idea of 'tonic' can be said to encompass a frequently sounded note:
The repeated low C in section '6' becomes very familiar to the ear, but so does the F# that concludes nearly every phrase in this section, removing this sense of a 'tonic'
Certain dyads are heard (end of Section '3, '5' and '7'), almost as points of resolution, perhaps because of their position at the end of sections, and this is what Saariaho has used instead of cadences.
In essence, this is atonal music.


Describe the 'harmony' of 'Petals'

Is embedded between within the rich timbral mixes - for example, even the very first note of the piece has a rich series of overtones above the notated 'F', as the harmonic is not only played, but also a trill is being performed. Exact sounds generated in gestures like this will vary, so cannot be notated.


Describe the melody of 'Petals'

Micro-inverals (in which she uses quarter tones) mean she can divide the octave in 24 equal steps instead of 12
Section '2' has a melodic idea taken from 'Nympheas', and the melodic ideas are very densely packed into chromatic scale-like phrases, often overlapping the beats.
The start of section '4' has an upwards idea (almost an exact retrograde, in pitch and rhythm, or a passage in violin 2 from 'nympheas') developed sequentially, featuring augmented fourth leaps, trills and mordents, and a general agitated character.
Section six has three 'variations' heard:
Five gradually lengthening versions of the same basic shape beginning on a pizzicato low C.
Then the same idea three staves later, but this time with a held low C, and a glissando leap to the highest note. This idea is reversed in direction to return to a concluding low C.
In the last five staves of this section, a return to pizzicato notes at the low end of the phrase, with severn very similar phrases heard. The sixth phrase rises here slides from the high F# the complete compass of the phrase back down to the low C, while the seventh extends the range of the idea to the extreme, by sliding to the highest note.


Describe the rhythm, metre and tempo of 'Petals'

The sections with notated tempo are all slow.
These tempi are varied during the course of phrases by accelerandi and by ritenuti.
The lento sections are effectively pulseless, with the instruction that each stave should last 'at least 20 seconds'.
In the electronic version, the reverberation adds to the sense of 'free timelessness' by blurring and overlapping the beginning of notes.
There is therefore tension in the work between the sections where pulse is evident, and those in which it is not.
Rapid dectuplets used in section '2'
Agitated rhythms used in section '4', often involving syncopations within septuplets/quintuplets, with the steady flow often interrupted by rits or pauses.
Passages where notes are as fast as possible.


Describe Saariaho's influences of spectralism in 'Petals'

Spectral analysis of cello sounds was used in the creation of pitch material of this piece, meaning that the harmonics of a sound, normally experienced simultaneously as a timbre, are heard successively as melodic entities.