music for four resonators, 2016

commissioned for the kronos quartet
for string quartet
duration: 15 min aprox.

premiere: “Kronos Quartet Concert”, Teatro Colón, Bogota, Colombia, 2016

The piece explores the fundamental notion that all physical bodies vibrate. Using a variety of electronic devices and transducers, a ‘playing’ technique was developed to extract the natural resonance modes inside the string quartet instruments (resonators). Instead of stimulating the strings with bows and pizzicatos, the instruments are ‘played’ by microphones, most of the time without even being touched. This way, the pureness of the resonators intrinsic vibrations is captured and made the central sonic material of the work.

The composition reveals that the instruments possess a ‘singing quality,’ as their most predominant resonance modes (tones) can be arranged into melodic structures, evoking scales extensively used by different cultural traditions. When the instruments get highly excited, dense textures characterized by beatings, multiphonics and spectral sonorities, akin the ones in contemporary western music, can be heard. These sonic responses demonstrate that the traits and behaviors of those natural vibrations are linked to the development of music, and have greatly determined how music has been composed throughout all geographies and historical periods..


Special thanks: Maria Elisa Ayerbe, technical assistance.