9 October 2020
Playing with Resonance
Sympathetic resonance is a phenomenon wherein a resonator responds to the vibrations of an unconnected sound source, such as the sympathetic strings of a viola d’amore.
The phenomenon of sympathetic resonance has been used throughout the ages, from baroque instruments with sympathetic strings like viola d’amore, baryton or tromba marina to classical viola d’amore music where the change of resonance is explored by using the instrument in keys other than the tonality of the given piece. From Louis Spohr’s attempts to improve the sound of the violin by using the short part of the strings between bridge and tailpiece for added resonance to experiments with electronic resonance by composers like Gérard Grisey who experimented with electronically enhanced external resonators resonance, experimentation with sympathetic resonance has been shown to be a noteworthy aspect of musical history and development.
As tastes changed so did the utilisation of sympathetic resonance, which can be used both for evening out sonic differences or emphasizing them. I will show how this approach changed over time and how sympathetic resonance can be used in music created today.