Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho wrote the beautifully evocative “Sept Papillons” for solo cello in 2000.  Throughout the seven movements she uses harmonics combined with timbral devices, such as overpressure and fluctuations of the ponticello/tasto continuum, to create a colorful sonic landscape.

Here at the beginning of “Papillon III” we find a good example of gradual transitions over held notes:

© 2000 Copyright by Chester Music Ltd. Permission of the publishers has been requested.

 
In measures 20-21 of “Papillon IV” the composer asks for a gradual transition to ponticello over a 16th-note passage:

© 2000 Copyright by Chester Music Ltd. Permission of the publishers has been requested.

 


 
Thomas Ades, a British composer and pianist, uses ponticello sounds to texture the tango-style bass line in the fourth movement of his brilliant Opus 12 string quartet entitled “Arcadiana”. Here in measures 9-16 of “Et…(tango mortale)”, the gesture leading into each downbeat begins tasto and progresses to ordinario on the downbeat. The next two notes are marked poco sul pont. and sul pont., respectively, and provide a percussive effect that is both violent and grounding.

© 1995 Copyright by Faber Music Ltd, London, reproduced by permission of the publishers.

 


 
The 3rd “Lesson” in Fausto Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip trilogy provides a great example of a composer using the transition from tasto (“T”) to ponticello (“P”) motivically:
© 2000 Copyright by Casa Ricordi. Permission of the publishers has been requested.

 

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