As a listener and student of classical music, I’m obsessed with new sounds on acoustic instruments. To me, instructing a performer to do something radically different with their instrument, if effective, illustrates both a high level of creativity and a deep understanding of not only the mechanics of the instrument, but the actual physics at play behind production of sound. Be it the ghostly breath of a multiphonic on a tenor saxophone, the metallic screech of a bowed cymbal, or the haunted shriek of a cello bowed behind the bridge, these sounds can bring a new life and depth to a composition, effectively employed.
I will admit in my own work, I have used extended techniques sparingly, and then almost exclusively in woodwind parts or bowed percussion. As a woodwind player (and spending a few years in a percussion ensemble), I’m more aware of what is and what is not possible on those instruments than I am on others. However, as I find myself at times struggling with the limitations of sounds available in my bag of tricks I have begun a fair amount of research into what sounds composers have elicited from instruments and how they were used in their compositions.