El Afilador (2013)

Creation place and date:
“Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM); Espace de projection”
April the 6th, 2013.

Performers: Cello – Marie Ythier
Running time: ca. 9′
Instrumentation: Cello and electro-acoustic sounds.
9-channel diffusion system

In Mexico, like other Latin American countries, there are people still working the household knife sharpening trade. They are known as the afiladores. They go around towns and cities on bicycle, announcing themselves with a short tune they play on a small pan flute. The homespun feature of their musical instrument and their patience while working their trade used calm me, as if time stopped for an instant just by listening to their tune.

One of these brief three-note melodies worked as inspiration for this piece. The melody isn’t heard until the end in a reminiscence. The piece appears as a harmonic progression from the bass register to the treble; alternating between stable “pillar” passages and transition sections. The cello part features several techniques such as percussion, pizzicato fluido, harmonics, and multiphonics. The electronic material serves several purposes, such as providing an harmonic background, introducing different textures, and overlapping the solo instrument, reacting to its pulses.

Studio recording

El afilador
  1. 1. El afilador

Live recording, audio and video