• Karen Tanaka
  • Wave Mechanics (1994)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by and dedicated to Hiroyuki Iwaki

Digital reverberation effects used on violins and violas

  • 2(2pic)1(ca)2(bcl)1(cbn)22002vibstr([5 string db])
  • 9 min

Programme Note

'Wave Mechanics' is originally a technical term used by physicists. The waves of which they speak are not conceived of as having any real existence; the term is used by analogy to describe the mathematical relations which are being manipulated. In order to visualize these waves concretely, they would have to be imagined in a hyperspace of many dimensions. This piece employs concepts of wave mechanics in a metaphorical way, they are not deployed as an abstract system of mathematical rules.

The pitches E, B-flat and D which appear at the beginning are used as axes throughout the piece. Harmonics and noise generated by those three notes serve as the foundation for the overall structure. The waves in this piece are periodic disturbances of the vibratiosn of sound in space. As the cycles come around agian, they are recognizable but transfigured, never appearing the same way twice.

In 'Wave Mechanics' , I had two major interests: first a constant circulation and transfiguration of the material, which gives rise to coherence, and second, a self-similarity echoing the finest details in the largest structure and vice versa.

© Karen Tanaka