semi no koe

This work was conceived and produced in Tokyo, Japan. I arrived to this country in the month of August 2000, in the heart of summer, a season where the cicadas sing frenetically because after years of being under earth in the form of embryos, they finally come out only for two or three weeks in order to fly and sing without stop before perishing.

This phenomenon truly impressed me, and I therefore decided to write a piece for flute and two digital tracks where the timbre of the flute would emulate the birth of the cicadas. To structure this piece I decided to use the Haiku formula, a small Japanese poetic form invented by Basho in the XVII century. These poems are constructed with 17 syllables, in the order 5, 7, 5. On the other hand, the haikus written by Basho and by other early Japanese poets speak constantly of the sounds made by insects and other animals, and about how they break with silence. This type of poetry is strongly influenced by ZEN philosophy. I discovered a poem written by Basho about cicadas, which I liked because of its images, contrasting rhythm and structure. The poem says:

Shizuakasa ya
Iwa Ni Shimiiru
Semi No Koe
The stillness
Soaking into stones
Cicada's cry

"Semi no Koe" could be thought of as a programmatic work, although the decisions regarding the different formal aspects of the piece were defined starting from the fractal proportions of the ratio 5:7:5. In this way, the work is carefully structured in a fractal way, but it also tries to emulate the abstract complexity of nature through the acoustic and electroacustic sounds of the flute and the cicadas.

Semi No Koe, audio MP3 (4.9 MB)