For vibraphone and piano. Written at SoundMine 2022, a composition internship in collaboration with HERMESensemble and Center Henri Pousseur. In the beautiful surroundings of Grand Commandery Alden Biesen, a group of young composers receives expert coaching for a week to fully develop their compositional qualities.
Refraction is the turning or bending of a light or sound wave when it passes from one medium to another. Most people are familiar with refraction: a common example is putting a straight stick under water, which seems curved when observed. For the source, i.e. the stick, the path is straight, although for the observer, the path is curved. This bending is a result of the changing speed of the wave/particle, which is dependent on the difference in density of the mediums. When the wave hits the medium at an angle, its course changes, thus we speak of refraction.
Refractions I explores a special case of refraction: one where a wave meets the medium at a right angle. Thus the speed of the wave changes, but not the direction. This is modelled musically by setting a fixed and steady pulse, which is manipulated when one of the performers encounters a colourful symmetric chord. An interplay of various polymeters is the result! The Model 1 below.
At the moment, I am also working on Refractions II, an orchestral piece which explores the same concept, but in an entirely different way.