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The Poetics of a Multiphonic Landscape

Project leader:
Torben Snekkestad

Project period:
2012 – 2016

Research centre:
NordART

Approach:
Artistic research

Topic:
Improvisation, Instrument innovation, Performance practice

Fellowship project
Artistic Research Fellowship Programme

In The Poetics of a Multiphonic Landscape artistic research fellow Torben Snekkestad is focusing on the saxophone’s ability to produce multiphonics (multiple sounds on an instrument considered monophonic).

The project has become a personal artistic exploration into the process of unfolding the poetics of these complex sonics and a reflection over the process, methods and the creation of an album trilogy, consisting of acoustic solo music recorded during the research period.

Snekkestad’s main question

The main question Snekkestad has been asking himself during this three-year research project has been:

What happens if the raw musical material, in the creation of a set of solo saxophone works, is based on the multiphonics only and what this material in itself suggest - possibly independent of any stylistic affiliation?

Objectives and enamored relationship

Snekkestad writes on his project that his main objective «was to examine why the saxophone’s multiphonics has such a captivating effect on me. How could I possibly explore their intrinsic qualities and unfold the poetic potential in them? By the same token, my ambition was to find a suitable artistic context for this enamored relationship that so heavily has stirred the waves of my imagination.»

Underwater soundscapes, reed trumpet and archive box

Snekkestad continues: - In the reflection text on the project, I disclose how some unexpected paths during this pursuit revealed themselves. From sprouting interest toward underwater soundscapes, to the making of a hybrid instrument called reed trumpet; and how my personal catalogue of multiple sounds found its place, not in a public pdf document or book release, but in a German wooden archive box.

Snekkestad’s dogma

- I relay in what way I began to take on the intrinsic qualities of the multiphonics and the reason why an oscillation between artistic intention and action is so pivotal for an improviser. To make sure that the project had this focus at all time, I sat up a dogma that contains a list of eight fundamental criteria that manifest the intentions and structure as well as sharpen the working methods.

Artistic Result

The Artistic Result is documented through an acoustic solo album trilogy, performed and composed by Torben Snekkestad. It consists of the albums Winds of Mouth, Plateau and The Reed Trumpet. Listen to the music on Soundcloud.

The Reflection Text

Read Torben Snekkestad's reflection text (9 MB pdf).

About Snekkestad 

Visit Snekkestad's home page.

Project leader

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Torben Snekkestad

Former employee (Ph.D. candidate 2012–2016)

Jazz Saxophone



Last updated: 3. May 2016