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quinto suono

String Quartet



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.


Formalist Quartet
Geiringer Hall
in Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Sample of Score

(contact me for the full score)