damped (2019)

6’; vln, vc.

This piece began with the notion of a damped harmonic oscillator. At the very beginning, it was truly the visual representation of a damped harmonic oscillator that got my attention: a sine wave that continues to compress until it’s nothing at all. This became musically abstracted with the interplay of the violin and cello pitch contours in the first section of the piece. However, I began to think about what damping could really mean, musically speaking. The idea that most consumed me while composing was the application of bow overpressure, which threads the piece together. The last section of the piece mimics the cycling and crunching effect of a damped harmonic oscillator. The material builds until at the very end it becomes so high in frequency that it essentially calls for the musician’s fingers to “push” their bows off the strings and onto the bridge, such that sound becomes so high that it is, metaphorically speaking, “no longer heard.”

[SCORE]

Kevin Kay · damped, for violin and cello

Written for the ManiFeste Academy at IRCAM, 2018/2019.
Premiere: June 28, 2019 by soloists of Ensemble Intercontemporain (Jeanne-Marie Conquer and Pierre Strauch) at Le Centquatre (Paris).

Honors
NODUS Ensemble Fall Concert Series 2019 Call for Scores winner.