6 May 2011


Ok, much more than a week since I uploaded İstanbul, but anyway, here's ZOOM IN. It's the second of the two quartets I sent to Trinity College for my LTCL exam, so basically they are my "graduation pieces".

This string quartet is very different from İstanbul, where İstanbul is intuitive, this is sort of intellectual and technical. But that doesn't mean it's cold music at all, the challenge of composing this was to write beautiful music without even as much as 'bending' the rules of my arbitrary system. Beautiful to my ears and taste at least, the only ones with which I can experiment and know for sure what effect is produced.

Now to 'the system'. ZOOM IN is a ritardando that lasts for 6 minutes, and a static coda. The idea of the piece is to repeat something, which will then be force-stretched to many times its duration by the ritardando, and then to fill up the stretched version with more notes in smaller subdivisions. Rinse and repeat.

The form was subconsciously inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mantra. I had read Jonathan Cott's book 'Conversations with the Composer' some time before. Stockhausen's ideas had lingered in the back of my mind and became an undetected driving force in the structuring of this quartet. There are four ideas, each of which dominates one of the four sections. In a way, the beginning is a miniature version of the whole piece (which is as fractalish as it gets, despite my using of a Mandelbrot set image as cover!).

My favourite part is when the slowing down stops and a walking rhythm sets in. I think something as simple as a regular pulse can become very meaningful if the listener is deprived of it for a big while.

I'm working on a Coloured Score for this, the technical process is really hard to explain in words, but it's really very simple. A few arrows and colours and it should be pretty clear. I’m also saving up to produce a real recording of this, the MIDI sounds are just terrible :(

The score and the parts can be downloaded at Scribd, IMSLP or the Internet Archive.

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