In the early 1980s, Ellen Fullman began developing the “Long String Instrument,” stringing tuned piano wire across her Brooklyn studio…. [C]omparisons, like “standing inside an enormous grand piano,” don’t quite convey the symbiosis between Fullman’s instrument and her way of playing it. It’s true, the audience is sitting in a room with seventy 80-foot, precisely tuned wires strung across it, but the comparison seems to fall apart when you realize you’ve never quite heard a piano that sounds like this. Instead of playing digitally, Fullman’s playing seems to live on the threshold of audibility. The on/off of the piano seems distant — can a light brush on a single string be counted as a “note,” in the same way that pressing a key constitutes a note?

The careful tuning of the strings causes sympathetic resonances among them. The wire is strung between resonator boxes made of Sitka spruce, built by a harp builder, and the sound is entirely acoustic. This setup, which on the surface seems simple, like a giant guitar with no frets or a harp with no pedals, creates infinitely complex resonances and acoustic effects. In a resonant space, the line between the instrument sounding and not sounding could be blurred.

 

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News

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Arts & Life

CBS
May 29, 2015 | NPR · Bob Schieffer, anchor of CBS’ Face the Nation, retires Sunday after 46 years at the network. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says Schieffer is the last among a vanished breed of traditional news anchors.
 

Courtesy of Radius-TWC
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Music

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Courtesy of the artist
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May 29, 2015 | NPR · The Welsh band’s name is a play on that of singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom. Ken Tucker likens the group’s second album to a high-wire act accompanied by “furiously strummed punk-rock guitar chords.”
 

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