Heliography

guzheng and percussion
(2013) 8′

Program Note

"Heliography" is a word with multiple meanings. It refers to the process of communicating via "sun signals," by using mirrors to reflect the sun towards another person. By turning the mirror, the sunlight is reflected in a sort of visual Morse code, and these long and short bursts of light can be translated by the receiver. The word also refers to the study of the sun itself. I incorporated both these meanings into this work.

The piece opens with quick, short "dots" and "dashes" in the guzheng, which are then punctuated in the marimba. These long and short note values permeate the piece, and are filtered through a variety of tempos. The structure of the piece relates to the sun as well. After the quick opening, the tempo relaxes and the two performers play a series of melodic and rhythmic patterns which loop like the orbit of a planet. As the piece goes, the sections gradually get faster and the cycles loop more quickly until they dissolve in a wash of energy.

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