Commitment to sound- technique as the foundation for sound

One of the hardest aspects of sound creation to come to terms with is that a great sound cannot be maintained without an awareness of how to create it physically. I am always tempted to believe that sound should be created naturally and without much thought, but the reality is that we must first search for it.

We all have occasional moments in practice where everything suddenly feels balanced and our sound is beautiful and free. It is these moments that I think should provoke our obsession with sound. We should always be aiming for that quality of sound and asking how the sound is created. For string instruments, often the distribution of the bow and the point of contact on the string can add wonderful colour and shape to our sound. Alongside this is freedom within the bowing arm, an awareness of how to create a sound that’s free, as sound that’s focused and a sound that’s forced.

Once the technique is in place to enhance the sounds created, it requires less thought and the music is able to speak. I am finding this is more and more difficult to implement. I want to find a technique that supports my music making, but at the moment many things still feel uncomfortable and it is taking time to sort. In practice, I am very focused on the freedom of my body and bow, but in a performance it becomes clear that the technique isn’t solid enough. I go back to old habits and the music doesn’t speak so well.

Without exploring a freedom of technique and matching techniques to sounds, our music becomes rather unfocused and shapeless in this way. I’m going to try and integrate the technique I am forming in practice into performances. I think a good way of starting this is finding lower pressure performance situations, such as recordings or playing to friends. This way I can allow myself to focus on comfort and freedom of sound without the pressure of the music or desire to perform well.

This sound journey needs me to look for all sorts of sounds, not just one that’s ‘nice’ or ‘pretty’. I want a full and complete sound that speaks the music I love and I am interested to look at my technique more closely in order to begin achieving this.