- Year of composition: 2012
- Duration: 22:22
- Instrumentation: fixed medium
- 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
- 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
Strings and Tropes is a study in string sounds, in particular plucked and scraped strings. It explores: 1) how techniques of time stretching can draw out pitches and textures; 2) how repetition at different durations and speeds can articulate space and time; and 3) the relationship between gesture and texture as they share the same space.
Many of the lengthy time stretch manipulations were used for a performance piece at Wet Sounds, 2011 in Glasgow’s North Woodside Pool. Thanks to Joel Cahen for the invitation. It has taken over a year to reinterpret this material and contextualise it within a semi-pitched framework. Pitch centres are derived from short samples from Zheng master Sun Zhuo. My thanks to her for generously allowing me to use a number of small samples. Her performance was graceful and fluid, yet at times the pace and ferocity of movement reminded me of the intricate links between sound and (body) motion.
Strings and Tropes focuses upon context, aligning sounds and transformations often with reference to the core source material — a melody from Xiang Shan She Gu (The Temple Fair at the Xiang Mountain, 1981) by Qu Yun — and the broader idea of a trope, an interpretation and re-contextualisation of material within an established framework. This work continues my research into theoretical ideas thrown open in my textbook, Sonic Art: an introduction to electroacoustic music, in particular the roles of gesture and texture in determining structure.
Strings and Tropes was realized in August 2012 at the composer’s studio in Sheffield (England, UK) and premiered on February 9, 2013 during the festival Soundings… in the Reid Concert Hall of the Edinburgh University (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK).
- February 9, 2013, Soundings… 2013: Concert 3: John Young, Adrian Moore, Reid Concert Hall — Edinburgh University, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK)