Maja S. K. Ratkje’s To F

26 September 2015 Trondheim Chamber Music festival concert at Gråmølna

Analysis of To F:

The work starts from nothing, a C with an overtone trill from ppp, and sul tasto. The tempo is so slow, and I need to create a very slow and gradual crescendo to forte. I have to force myself not to cut the time short, but to stay in the slow build up. I just concentrate on being inside the tone, feeling the contact of the bow. The room is growing more and more quiet while I play.

From bar 15 I whistle the overtones I can hear in the ponticellotones there, while I keep playing.


Then starts the chordsection where I sing from bar 22, in a “simple and straight-forward manner” on an F:

I concentrate on the lines not getting too percussive. To take care of the bottom note, and then also the top notes, and the ones in-between . And when there is a change I try to make it clear. When the chords change, I can also use timing to create the shapes.

It is very difficult to keep singing only F, especially when it creates dissonance with the chords played. I suppose it will get easier the more my voice knows where the note should physically be placed. In the second round when the theme starts over again it is interrupted with small harmonic gestures:

At bar 76 the music suddenly goes into only “air” chords. The audience is so still, I can only sense a contained energy coming from them.

When the ordinary chords come back it’s like a sigh of relief. This idea is also used similarly in bar 81, and the whole work ends with these two gestures: