Ground upon open strings


Ground upon open Strings is a Renaissance-influenced solo work for 7-stringed bass viol, based on a short 3-part canon with ostinato bass, (with the bass line using only the open strings of bass viol; listen Audio for the original canon). In the extended bass viol setting the general musical development takes a form of a Renaissance ground, where various kinds of diminutive melodic techniques are used for building up the intensity and tension, which eventually lead to a resolving cadenza and tranquil ending.

The musical approach of Ground upon open Strings could rightly be described as “a Renaissance pastiche” if it wasn’t for the chromatic cadenza with a tempo modulation sequence that bring echoes of contemporary times to the overall musical texture. The cadenza leads to the ending that introduces the original 3-part canon melody – without the polyphonic setting.

O.V.:I wrote Ground upon open Strings as a recreational musical activity, solely for my own amusement. An essential part of that ‘amusement’ was the idea of building up an independent piece of music that would be based on a canon melody that never gets realized in its original polyphonic setting. Compositionally, I found this idea appealing: to omit the essential, crucial part of the original content and build up something different instead, leaving the polyphonic arsenal “in the reserve”.”


for bass viol (7-stringed)



Ground upon open Strings


The original version of Ground upon open Strings (a 3-part canon with ostinato bass) performed by Jonte Knif on Knifonium
(23 December 2013, private recording)

Ground upon open Strings


Duration 8′

First performance

12 August 2014
Varpu Haavisto, bass viol
South Park goes Classic Festival, Tampere, Finland

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