By Catherine Lamb


Catherine Lamb’s work open-scape is an early example of a kind of “unfurling” process in her work — a small interval, usually a “detuned unison,” begins as a beating dissonance and gradually expands to be defined through some specific rational relationship. In open-scape, Lamb starts with the interval 36:35, roughly a melodic quarter-tone consisting of two commas (syntonic and septimal) stacked atop one another. The specificity of the intervals are possible through a scordatura tuning in which the open strings are in unconventional harmonic series relationships with one another. But the experience of listening to Lamb’s work always includes not just the analytical mind, but also the actual, physical space; the beating relationships and interferences create unpredictable patterns in the acoustics of the specific room. The work is a gradual unfurling, and an exploration. (—ACS)