seven microworlds
for flute, guitar and live electronics

Stephen Andrew Taylor, 2000

"untitled" by Hua Nian

1. collision focus (flute, guitar)
2. cloud chamber (guitar solo)
3. path integral (piccolo fugue)
4. verticality (flute, guitar)
5. quantum frenzy (flute solo)
6. quantum shadow (guitar solo)
7. flatland (alto flute, guitar)

SevenMicroworlds.mp3 (Kim Risinger, flute; Angelo Favis, guitar) 11:17

Read the Technical Requirements for the piece, where you can download performance materials.

Program Note

I was inspired to compose seven microworlds by learning about string theory, a recent branch of physics in which fundamental particles--quarks, photons, etc.--are thought to consist of unimaginably small, vibrating strings. By vibrating in different ways these strings account for all currently known particles, just as you can play many different notes on a single guitar string.

But nobody knows whether or not the theory is true, and in some ways it is quite bizarre. In addition to our three familiar spatial dimensions, strings inhabit several other ultra-microscopic dimensions curled into complex knots. We don't notice these micro-dimensions, even though the theory says we move through them constantly.

In my piece the electronics are intended to act as a bridge between the "real world" of the flute and guitar and these hidden microworlds that permeate us all. Of the seven movements (played without pause), the first, fourth, and seventh for both flute and guitar loosely represent the three macro-dimensions. The others are solo movements inspired by various twisting micro-dimensions. "Collision focus," the first movement, zooms into microscopic chaos; the fourth, "Verticality" (the only movement without electronics), plays with ascents and wide leaps; "Flatland" is a meditation on a plane curving into itself, just as the flat surface of the Earth wraps into a sphere.

Seven microworlds is dedicated to Kim Risinger and Angelo Favis, who gave the premiere performance in Toronto in November 2000.

Last updated May 20, 2009 by Stephen Taylor.