A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.

Satan’s Violin Lesson

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, found sound objects, sound design

Noise Jockey: Taking the "E" out of "e-bow."

Almost exactly one year ago, I played a steel cable on a gate with an eBow, recorded with contact microphones. I decided to give it a go with a regular bow when I realized that this gate was basically a one-stringed guitar.

Think about it: Wound metal string under tension, wooden resonator. That’s all a guitar really is. What a wooden gate lacks is thickness, like a guitar, but at more than a meter in width and height, that’s a broad-enough surface to send air molecules running for cover.

I had to rosin the hell out of the bow to make it tacky enough to grip this oversized “string.” I found that also spreading rosin on the wrapped steel cable was helpful. I tuned the cable, as much as one can, by adjusting a turnbuckle.

I recorded in mid-side stereo. Today’s sample features is comprised of one mono track totally dry, one mono track run through Michael Norris’ Spectral Blurring effect, one mono track pitch-shifted down by 1.5 octaves, and the one stereo track pitch-shifted down by three octaves. Recording at 192Hz helps for such tomfoolery.

I apologize to my neighbhors for the unholy racket that I’m sure they thought was a demonic violin 101 class.

[Sennheiser MKH 50 and MKH 30 recorded as mid-side stereo into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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5 Comments on “Satan’s Violin Lesson”

  1. 1 Steelydom said at 8:23 am on July 15th, 2010:

    Nice, always interesting stuff here Nathan. Is that one of the extended Rycote baby ball gags by any chance? Looking into that or the s-system without jumping up to the full kits.
    Keep up the good work

  2. 2 Nathan said at 10:39 am on July 15th, 2010:

    That is a size AE Rycote stereo suspension, with a Rycote stereo InVision shock mount inside (with the MKH-series clips, of course). I have a Baby Ball Gag for my Oktavas, but this is a full-size windshield. Since it’s for two mics, the diameter is much larger.

  3. 3 Miguel said at 10:57 am on July 15th, 2010:

    Very cool, mr Nathan! The resonating structure and those MS tweaks/processes make a really great and richness texture. Love it!

  4. 4 Steelydom said at 6:01 am on July 16th, 2010:

    Ah gotcha, the wider width kinda threw me but wasn’t sure if it was the camera focus either!

  5. 5 Colin Hart said at 5:06 pm on July 24th, 2010:

    Very cool. Very inspiring!

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