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ní nán | 呢喃wei yang
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ní nán

The title spells the Chinese word 呢喃, which means speaking in a low voice, and can be roughly translated to murmur, whisper, or mutter. Hidden behind the simple description of the sonic property, the word itself is often associated with a constellation of sentiments - nostalgia, intimacy, tenderness, to name a few. The piece itself is based on a studio recording of bowing the viola near the bridge with the strings damped. The composition draws from its rich expression, resulting from the physical effort implied in producing the sound, as well as the sonic oscillation between noise, tone, and silence, which in the piece are sometimes kept distinct, but other times transform from one to another, generating ambiguity echoing the title.

The source material was generously provided by Melia Watras (

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