“If you play a sound for a very long time, it grows. It becomes so big that you start to hear many more harmonies, and it becomes bigger inside. Its all in this sound, the entire universe is on this one sound.”
Giacinto Scelsi (1905 – 1988)
Dimorphism is defined as the coexistence of two different forms in the same object or the appearance of having two forms. This work for two violins is inspired by an ancient Greek vase, dated as early as 600 BC, on which the heads of two women, one black and one white, are portrayed. The artistic representation of dimorphism intrinsic to this vase proved a powerful source of inspiration that guided my creation of this piece. Upon gazing at the vase, our first impression is of two similar figures, two women; but they are also very different, one black and one white, barbarian and Greek, as they stated in ancient times, and yet they coexist in this piece of art. This idea of two entities that appear similar at times while seeming completely different at others is essential to an understanding of the music. The orchestrational choice of same instruments (two violins) itself facilitates the development of the “dimorphism” by allowing them to appear alternately collective and then individual in tone, expression, and countenance. As a result, the character and relationship of the two is continuously altered in time. Black and white is represented with the quick succession of various levels of bow pressure applied on the string. These either serve as distortions or white noise over the harmonic field. The musical material has its starting point on the observation that when one plays very near the bridge with various levels of bow pressure, there is an amplification of the harmonic overtones, especially when this is executed with a bow that has not recently been rosined. Two pitches and open strings on the violin (G and A) and, subsequently, their harmonic spectrum serve as the main material and remain in one form or another throughout the composition while undergoing a series of very slow developing variations in timbre. Their function is to portray something static, to represent the image of the vase. While the vase and my visual perception of it remained unchanged in a literal sense, on a figurative and artistic level, my perception of this static image gradually began to shift, giving place to meaning and representation. In the same way, one’s perception of these two pitches is always changing as their function within the music is gradually transmogrifying; however, one is also constantly being reminded of their “staticness”.