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