CURHA’s evening curation was completed by a exploration of multi-phonic compositional strategies by the Joe Fiedler Trio with Sean Conley on upright bass and Satoshi Takaishi on dums. Joe and the band’s playing was not only artfully entertaining, but educational as well when he described between song some of the multi-phonic techniques he has been making a part of his compositions as of late. While you are checking out the recording of the show, read more after the break for some information from Joe about his work with multi-phonics.

Joe Fiedler at the NY Slideworkers’ Union, Jan 17th 2010 by NYSWU

When I first began exploring the world of multiphonics for the trombone (the technique of playing one note while singing another note simultaneously) I was totally consumed with the technique of it. What were the different intervallic possibilities? How could I strengthen my voice to achieve more balance with the “played” note? How could I better achieve a resulting overtone, thereby creating a true triad? These were all techniques that had already been mastered by the great German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. After many years of studying Mangelsdorff’s work, dealing with these different technical hurdles and assimilating these techniques into my compositions and improvisations, I feel that I have developed my own take on the fundamentals of this genre. As a result, currently I have been looking to expand the role of multiphonics within composition. Up to this point, the majority of compositions incorporating multiphonics have focused on using the “played” note at the root of the chord. Even when there is a departure from this, the intervals tend to be static 5ths or 10ths. Therefore I have taken on a more pianistic approach to multiphonics, using contrary motion, chromaticism and chordal planing. I have also incorporated more typically used intervals (5ths and 10ths) but with both the played note and sung note as chord tones/extensions–instead of one being the tonic. For example in the beginning of the song #11 the first three chords are Eb, G minor, and C7, with the bass playing the root on all three. Over the Eb I am playing G (3rd) and singing D above (7th), and interval of a 5th, over the Gm I am playing F (min 7th), singing C (11th)-also an interval of a 5th, and over the C7 I am playing E (3rd), singing Bb (dom 7th)-an interval of a tritone. After employing multiphonics in my playing for more than 20 years now, I feel that I am beginning to be able use them as a fully functional musical and chordal voice–moving fully away from the idea of multiphonics as a gimmick or parlor trick.

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