Shaken Not Stuttered is a free online resource demonstrating the extended techniques for strings. The site provides high definition videos with excellent sound quality to catalogue the extended techniques, primarily as a resource for performers, but also for the greater new music community and audience members to get a behind the scenes look at the sounds happening on stage.
In order to achieve these techniques, composers often works one on one with performers. However, they cannot always be available to work with every member of an ensemble, especially in an orchestral setting when rehearsal time is limited. As a way to address this problem, Andrew Norman and Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti decided to create this resource in order to allow performers to have a more organic way of learning the techniques (the site was originally built to focus on the techniques used in Norman’s string trio The Companion Guide to Rome).
The main videos are mini master classes in which the composer describes his inspirations behind the techniques, gives a short explanation of how to achieve the specific sound he wants, and demonstrates on the viola. Lanzilotti then performs the techniques filmed from different angles so that the viewer may observe both hands, different nuances, and details in executing the technique.
Many of the extended techniques involve choices on the part of the performer. This element of choice is vital to the interpretation of Norman's music, especially in a piece like Play. As techniques are added to the site, it becomes clear that this element of listening and being active in creating sound is crucial for many of these composers. In an interview for New Music Box Norman states:
...I really love seeing people make choices and taking risks on stage...to take a risk, to have a definite idea about the interpretation of a piece. ...To me, the heart and soul of written music is about creating something with enough depth and complexity, but also enough openness in it to allow for many different realizations. ...And that has also led me into really exploring this idea of human interaction in music. How can I open up that space on the written page for human beings to be human beings when they play music?
Visit www.shakennotstuttered.com for the complete set of videos, and to explore more sounds.
Other useful resources on Extended Techniques for Strings
Post on Harmonics, Waveforms, and the Overtone Series including string charts for natural harmonics.
Article about extended techniques as an expressive parameter in the context of Andrew Norman's Play.
Examples of Works that Include Extended Techniques
Stulz's Mirror Canon uses only extended bow techniques, and is read upside down and backwards by the second player. From Jack's notes on the piece:
Player 2 flips the music upside down and reads everything backwards and in a physical inversion. Thus the material player 1 plays at the beginning will be mirrored by player 2 at the end (and vice versa). This piece was composed a la George Perec using the knights tour from chess as solved by the 18th century hoax chess automaton "the Turk."