supergravity (2019)

8’; alto sax, perc.

supergravity started with the physical fact that frequency rises as wavelength decreases. In other words, sound becomes higher pitched as it gets faster. This notion is related to the rhythm/pitch duality that exists inherently with sound — rhythm, as it speeds up, becomes so fast that it becomes perceived as a pitch. I decided I would use 11 sequentially pitched percussion instruments using drums, wooden planks, and woodblocks, with each new section faster than the previous and using a higher-pitched percussive instrument. When I think of dualities and the number 11, my mind jumps to string theory, (specifically M-theory), which contains the notion of 11 dimensions. Part of string theory includes the idea of supergravity, and hence the title of the piece. But, making another jump in inspiration, I composed the piece in a way that reminds me of the abstract expressionist “action paintings” of Jackson Pollock, in which paint splashes and drips onto the canvas in accordance with gravity. When I composed this piece, I moved freely between the 11 sections, (or dimensions if you like), splashing little bits of music into them.

Commissioned by Duoctane.