A Study on Strings


September 10, 2020

Drawing on the parallel between human physiognomy and musical instrumentation, I could argue, if percussion is the rhythmical backbone of any composition then strings are most resembling the rib cage. The similarities are not only aesthetic, but also sonic, in the way it propagates resonance and vibration around the heart.

Defined by tension and vibration (or more accurately vibration through tension), strings can be plucked, gently brushed, swiftly hit or rubbed with an array of sticks, pick or bows, but in their essence with the human fingers. The resonance is endless and it can be as sombre as it is blissful. Most often than not it offers a direct sonic tunnel into the underworld. If we could ever imagine the unknown, the depth of despair or horror it will come with strings as it's soundtrack.

I'm not trying to document a history of strings as a vital musical component, but much more so to distill genres and styles into a low simmer of endless resonance of strings. Essentially hoping to shine a light on string instrument's primordial purpose regardless of time and place.

*Photo Credits: Calum Storrie, Hundred Years Gallery, September 18, 2016


  • Thurston Moore & Alex Ward

    Live at Cafe OTO (2012)

  • Carlos Nino

    Part 1 (2020)

  • Alice Coltrane With Strings

    Galaxy in Turiya (1972)

  • Johnny Greenwood

    Tree Strings (2018)

  • Philip Glass

    String Quarter No. 2 ‘Company’ (1983)

  • Mica Levi

    Hosting (2019)

  • Jaco Pastorius

    Chromatic Fantasy (1981)

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto

    Solari (Johann Johannsson Rework) (2017)

  • Johnny Greenwood

    Iron Swallow (2003)

  • Normil Hawaiians

    Martin - For Martin who died July 1983 (1984)

  • Jozef Van Wissem & SQÜRL

    The Taste Of Blood (2014)

  • Embryo

    Cello Cello (1979)

  • Uknown

    Live (2012)

Contributed By

Dragoș Munteanu

Romanian music selector based in London. Host of the JAS radio show on Netil Radio, a show exploring the emotional side of music.

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