Many other resources on contemporary music and extended techniques exist in print and on the web.  Below are my recommendations.   If you know of any others that should be added to this list, please leave a comment below.


Print Sources

  • by Arthur Weisberg. (Amazon)
  • by Ronald Herder. (WorldCat)
  • by Michael Friedmann. (Amazon)
  • by Gardner Read (Amazon)
  • by Patricia and Allen Strange (Amazon)
  • by Ellen Fallowfield. (Link)
  • by Siegfried Palm. (Link)
  • by Brenda van der Mewre. (Access through ProQuest database.)
  • by Paul Zukofsky. (JSTOR link)


Internet Sources

  • Wikipedia: Microtonal Music  If you’re interested in microtonal music, start here. The entry is quite well developed and contains a number of links for further reading.
  • If the section on harmonics has piqued your interest I recommend these Wikipedia pages on Just Intonation and the Harmonic Series.
  • Mari Kimura is a violinist and new-music specialist who has done more than anyone to explore the difficult technique of subharmonics.
  • Sequenza21 is one of the best blogs for news and articles on contemporary music.  Here you’ll find reviews of concerts and recordings, interviews with composers and performers, and other feature articles reflecting the interests of the contemporary classical music scene.


This masterfully written book addresses the complex rhythms found in contemporary music with theoretical discussion and practical advice, with sections on mixed meters, irregular groupings, odd subdivisions, cross-rhythms, and metric modulations.

I recommend this book if you’d like to improve your sense of pitch for atonal music. It is harder to find, but many academic libraries have it.

Another good ear-training book for contemporary music.

An exhaustive catalog of techniques and notation found in modern scores. It contains chapters on general techniques used by all instruments as well as techniques specific to the string family. It’s an expensive book, but perhaps you’ll find it in your local library.

This book works methodically through all sorts of bowing and left-hand techniques, and even covers issues arising from performing with electronics and computers. You’ll find great explanations of techniques and examples of notation, along with excerpts from the violin repertoire. Even though this book is addressed to violinists, most of the information is applicable to the cello as well.

This is a very interesting doctoral thesis on cello technique in which the author approaches cello technique in a more scientific manner, defining all possible sound-modifying ‘inputs’ into the cello ‘system’ on continuous scales and then describing the ‘outputs’ of sound.

In 1985 Breitkopf & Hartel published this book of etudes edited by cellist Siegfried Palm. Palm commissioned 12 composers to write new etudes and compiled them with excellent practice advice for each.

A wonderful 2005 doctoral dissertation that examines extended techniques as they are found in a few well-known contemporary violin pieces. The author works through many techniques giving historical background and practical advice. The final chapter includes 10 caprices written by the author.

This is an often-cited journal article on violin harmonics. It includes a very useful chart showing all possible fingerings for every harmonic pitch.

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