Wolf Tones and the Art of Silencing a Musician
Is it now, with her new cello, that Karin Nylander will dare to make a comeback as a soloist? But the instrument is a mysterious and unreliable partner. She must ask herself: who is really following whom, who is playing on whom?
The cello came about under peculiar circumstances, and no one remembered its existence anymore, but much suggests that the cello she received in her hands is a previously unknown Öberg, made by Johan Öberg in Stockholm in 1769.
The instrument's characteristics and stubbornness surpass everything she has experienced during her music career. It changes her playing, but also her person – for the relationship between musician and instrument is as complicated, profound, and fragile as that between people. In the wake of the unique instrument's history, strange stories begin to emerge.
A wolf tone is a discord that arises in certain situations when a string's frequency approaches the body's own frequency of vibration. It gives the tone an unpleasant sound that can resemble a wolf's stifled whimpering, or howling. The phenomenon occurs in all string instruments but is particularly prevalent in the cello.