Change of Direction
Performed on long stringed instruments by Ellen Fullman, Elise Gould and Nigel Jacobs.
Works for the Long String Instrument
An incredible quietude flows out of this music.... Listening, one becomes conscious of the inner workings of being ...
--Juan Christopye Ammann, Kunsthalle-Basel
Created by composer Ellen Fullman, the Long String Instrument has about 100 strings, suspended at waist height for 90 feet and attached to a soundboard, much in the same way a harp is constructed. It is played by three people who bow the strings with rosin-coated fingertips, while walking. A C-clamp on each wire is used for tuning, changing the string length much like a capo on a guitar. The instrument is tuned in just intonation, a natural tuning system. The Long String Instrument's range is centered on the octave of middle C and extends above and below this by an octave. The strings of the bass octave extend the instrument's full 90 feet. The middle and high octaves are suspended from double-sided resonators, splitting this distance into sixty and thirty feet, respectively. When a string is rubbed along the length, it vibrates in the longitudinal mode, and requires lengths of these extremes to bring the pitch down to a musical range.
Paradoxically, her music is both intense and serene. The attractively eerie, acoustically unstable droning suggests urgency, while the slow formal development of the piece invites an intuitive suspended-intellect sort of hearing.
--Los Angeles Times
"Change of Direction" grew out of a collaboration between Ellen Fullman and Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening Band (including Stuart Dempster). Fullman began working with the Long String Instrument in 1981, and it has evolved in the past two decades into an astounding expression of artistic individuality. This is an example of new music in the tradition of Cowell, Cage, Harrison and Partch et al at its most singular and honest perspective.
In less time than it takes to blink an eye, the sound would move from a monotone car horn to the fullness of a gothic church organ. The next minute the sound of a shorted-out electric wire evolved into a Middle Eastern raga.
Available here: iTunes
New Albion Records, Inc.