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quinto suono

String Quartet

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About

300 years ago, Giuseppe Tartini described a phenomenon he termed terzo suono: a faint third sound produced when he played two notes on his violin under certain conditions. In quinto suono I exploit this phenomenon to algorithmically derive the harmonic vocabulary and form of the piece. The four drifting tones of the quartet are precisely aligned to emphasize a lower, whispered fifth sound with its own trajectory that proceeds in counterpoint to the strings. The result, aside from the elusive fifth sound, is a harmony that flows in and out of harmonic series, interpolating seamlessly between simple and complex spectra.