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How to play the saw


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interviews with musical illustrations

. Two-handed saw - a tool for the cross

cutting of round wood, boards and thick boards

(article from the encyclopedia)

Once, while walking along the underpass, I heard truly unearthly sounds. She stopped, listened. Insanely beautiful. Something reminiscent of theremin, but perhaps even better. Flawless belcanto of Italian arias. Light rustle of music of spheres. For these thoughts, I somehow did not immediately notice that the performer was playing with a bow ... on a saw (!!).

Soon I met him - it turned out that his name was Sergey Vyatkin. The phone immediately lost. I had to catch Sergei on the transitions of Moscow. Finally, we made an appointment in the passage under Manezhnaya Square. A few days later I stood there with a voice recorder, and Sergey with a saw, and we talked.

Saw technique

- Sergey. How did you get the idea to play the saw. Honestly, I haven’t seen this before!

- Well, how - I have long known from films that they play on a saw, and for a long time I wanted to learn. Actually, I’m a double bass player by training, and I began to master the saw five or six years ago, I developed a repertoire ... I had different saws. This one was presented by one German. They, too, turn out to play on the saws.

“Rarely, of course.” And in Moscow, too, I know, they play on different saws. And everyone has their own way of playing. I have a double bass.

- What saws, in this case, sound better?

- Two-handed - you know, those who saw the forest ... My two-handed saw is optimal for me - I improved something in it, finished it by hand and polished it, so it sounds good and completely suits me.

- Please tell us about the repertoire! I once passed near Mokhovaya and heard you - you played Tchaikovsky ...

- Yes, I play something from Tchaikovsky. I play classics, which everyone is hearing, pop (The Beatles, for example), Russian folk songs. In general, you can play anything on the saw. Although, of course, it’s not something that can be played on the violin - nevertheless, each instrument has its own limitations and capabilities, you cannot replace one instrument with another. But the saw has quite a lot of opportunities.

-What is the most difficult thing for a saw?

-This is a difficult question, a lot depends on the pace.

-Well, let's say this - if you take virtuoso music: what is masterly for a saw?

-Some quick passages.

- Do you even play quick passages on a saw.

- Well, something. In a limited, of course, quantity.

A small digression: Sergey plays standing, holds the saw lovingly, like double bass. Plays a double bass bow. The pitch of the notes changes by changing the bend of the saw.

This “staging” is unique in its own way - as Sergey says, most of the performers play while sitting and on small saws. In general, he plays the saw, in his own words, "in his own way."

But back to the conversation.

-What is the uniqueness of your game? Any secrets?

- There are no secrets. There are technical nuances that are difficult to convey. What they are, it’s hard to say. These are small nuances - including a bow ...

-I think you rosin bow?

-Well, of course! For double bass hair is always rubbed with double bass rosin.

-This is understandable, but it’s one thing when the hair of the bow is in contact with the string, and here the iron is still amazing!

- Well, and the strings on any string instrument - they are also metal. A saw is the same string, only flat.

-How much do you practice at home so as not to get out of shape?

“Well, now I'm doing it here in the transition.” And so, when how - I try to find time in the mornings, in the evenings .... For example, when I learn something new or when something arises in my head and I start picking it up.

- I see that you have a special case for a saw - it’s very convenient, it resembles a violin in some way, you can put a saw, bow, rosin in it ...

- It is specially made, by order, manually - and I took part in this.

- The master who did this was not surprised?

- And the master just came up with such a design.

- So he knows that people play on saws?

and Scythian harp

Sergey plays in the group "Uncle Go" - www. goh. ru.

The name of the group, as he says, is connected with a fairy tale - someone named Uncle Guo created a lively picture and he takes away all the people that he liked or didn’t find in this life, that he takes to the picture. The group is from Barnaul, it has five members, and several more musicians and artists are often involved in concerts - there are eight or more in all. Sergei himself graduated from the Barnaul School as a double bass player, studied at the Novosibirsk Conservatory. He was actively interested in physics and acoustics.

The group participated in several festivals - for example, the Kurekhin festival, the Rock on the Fast River festival in the Altai mountains, and the recent Moscow Ethnolife. At one electronic music festival, Sergei played the theremin.

-Sergei, and you know, in general, the sound of your saw is very much like theremin!

-Yes, many people tell me this ... - (I think the musician is flattered ...) - By the way, I was very interested in theremin, soldered microcircuits ... I created my own version of theremin ...

-Can you compare these two tools?

- Theremin, on the one hand, has more possibilities - it has a range of eight octaves. The saw also has the so-called Untertones - low tones, and high tones too. But she has a working, melodic range of about two and a half — three octaves (approximately from “to” the small octave and somewhere to “to” the second, maybe even the third octave). But you can periodically climb up. And the possibilities of effects on the saw are endless.

- What other unusual tools do you use?

-There is one tool that we ourselves have made. Our group leader Chikishev in Germany watched him from a musical psychotherapist, and then we ordered him from a master in Russia. This is such a large one and a half meter box - you can sit on it and knock on it with special clappers. Very interesting sounds are produced, and there is a very interesting vibration, so it is both a musical and a therapeutic instrument. We tested him a lot, and in all cases he gave a positive result ...

- What is it called?

-We called it “Pandora's Box”.

- You, I see, mythology is very involved! Surely you play on ethnic instruments ...

- Yes, we play African jamba, didgerida (this is such a big trumpet, it is played in the East), various Turkish drums, Indian instruments. I still play on the Altai horn, on the comus, on the Latin American "stick of rain." We have a big African drum, wooden, in the shape of a glass, then something else, many different instruments ... There is a restored Scythian harp, I play it, and we have a Scythian project ...

-Tell us more about the Scythians, please!

-This began when the so-called Scythian harp was dug up in the mounds of Altai, - now it is stored in the Hermitage. Our master Gnezdilov from Barnaul recreated this instrument to make it sound, it turned out a concert version. In fact, he made several versions of the instruments - he thought up something, looked at something in the Hermitage. In general, it turned out an instrument that sounds pretty good. We performed in various places - at festivals and concerts - sometimes separately, sometimes together with other instruments. It turns out interesting, spontaneous improvisational music - of course, the name “Scythian” is conditional, because the Scythians and their music are no longer ... In such “Scythian” improvisations we use ethnic instruments too, and we improvise them too - these are Gorno-Altai blinders, comus, topshur ... different tools ...

... I don’t remember what exactly our conversation ended with. It seems that we exchanged links to sites. I did not dare to distract the wonderful musician from his saw any longer. She said goodbye and left, although in reality then she stood around the corner for a long time and eavesdropped.

At first Sergey began to play with relief, lovingly, kindly - O Sole Mio!

Then he suddenly became sad - and the music changed.

People walked past, talked about something rather boring, and from somewhere above, like the music of the spheres, it rushed ... .. - “Cherbourg umbrellas” .... The melody sounded sad .... Maybe I have ever heard something prettier, but I hardly remember it.


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Sharp music

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Concert for a saw and a monument to Zhukov

Photo: Mark Boyarsky

I searched for him for three days. I wandered around the Tretyakov Gallery, and looked at the crowd on Red Square, and listened to the sounds in the passage near the Manege. I asked the sellers of scarves and earflaps and the police whether they had seen Sergei Vyatkin, a man with a saw. All to no avail.

Only on the third day of the search I finally heard these incomparable heartbreaking sounds right next to the equestrian statue of Marshal Zhukov. A man in a red bandana and a warm sweater was sitting on a small canvas chair and, with a wandering smile, was bowing through a radiant summer cottage. The saw obediently bent and wept in strong male hands. I also almost sobbed - with relief that Vyatkin was found.

Sergey is the Russian record holder for playing the musical saw, has been playing it for ten years. At the same time, he has behind him the Barnaul Conservatory in the class of double bass, and the philological faculty of Barnaul University, and design classes, and participation in the Minute of Fame program, and even the family with which he does not currently live.

- I first saw how they play on the saw in the movie "Delicatessen", and there I spied on the technique of the game. Interested in. In general, I like unusual instruments, various percussions and other objects to use, in the sense of applying. Saw is the most versatile tool in every sense. He is close to me.

Although it’s universal and universal, the one Vyatkin plays is special, musical. Her shape is more comfortable, and steel is better. Such saws are not sold in hardware stores, but are made only to order. He bought his musician in Germany. The average cost of a musical instrument is 200 euros. Sergey began on ordinary two-handed saws, and now he plays on one-handed saws, conducting a cello bow across the body. By the way, the size of the bow is of great importance. The longer it is, the higher the saw sounds. For example, Sergey’s saw can cover almost the entire range of the piano — eight octaves — because the bow is very long.

Important for the musician sawyer and the acoustics of the environment. And this is not only the walls or the number of people. Even clothes affect the sound of a saw.

“There are points in Moscow where I go constantly,” says Sergey, adjusting his khaki cap, “the acoustics are good there.” Most of all I like the sound near the Teatralnaya metro station. Even on Tverskaya, but there they often overlap. Sometimes near the Tretyakov Gallery.

Watching Sergey playing a saw can be one of the most powerful aesthetic shocks in your life. Here he is sitting on a chair, holding a vibrating saw between his legs, with which rosin is showered with white snow on the musician’s lap. Saw is naughty. She frantically protests against interference in her personal space. But the elastic bow indifferently moves across the saw, forcing the construction tool to obey the laws of harmony.

- What do you think when you play? I ask in a half-whisper so as not to interfere with the saw and the bow to sort things out.

- When I did not have experience, I only thought about the melody. Now, one can say, it has become freer, I can compare what I play with passers-by, the street, Moscow. I communicate with people through music. Feedback is very important. I don’t want to say or explain anything to people with music; she herself will say everything.

Learning to play the saw is easy. According to Sergey, not so much musical skills are important for this, as patience and knowledge of basic safety techniques. The tool is still sharp. You can extract the first sounds on the fly, but it takes several months to master the technique of the game and play a whole melody. But you will immediately see how your life has changed. Vyatkin assures that his own existence, thanks to the saw, has changed radically.

“As soon as I learned to play it, I immediately went abroad and saw almost all of Europe,” Sergey explained. “And something has changed in me too.” The vision of life has expanded.

- You began to feel freer?

- Of course. I choose only the music that I like myself, but I can also play a custom melody.

Absolute truth is hidden in these words. It seems to me that the future lies precisely with people like Vyatkin. If everyone buys a saw for himself and learns how to handle it correctly, freedom is just around the corner.