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Published on Apr 24, 2011
PROGRAM NOTES FOR "UMA FACA SÓ LÂMINA" for String Quartet by Arthur Kampela
My String Quartet ("Uma Faca Só Lâmina" translated as "A Knife All Blade") was composed as part of my Columbia University doctorate dissertation. At the time of its conception I was concentrated on the many ways rhythm unfolds and generates new arrays of rhythms of different speed(s). Besides that, I was interested in producing new sounds on traditional instruments, using what's known as extended-techniques. In order to coordinate both of these aspects I structured the piece around two simple mathematical properties: the commutative and associative properties. I developed then, what is now known as "micro-metric modulation" which is a way to coordinate the unfolding of complex rhythmic materials (ratios and sub-ratios), and allow for a seamless transformation of speeds from one point to the next. The quartet is divided in different sections or "propositions." Two main sections function as the pillars of the piece: they are the opening solo viola piece and the cello solo piece near the end. The title "A Knife All Blade," (analogous to a holographic device that shows always the same object at different angles, claustrophobic and inescapable), is borrowed from the Brazilian constructivist poet João Cabral de Mello Neto that illustrates our internal clocks always poking the "insides of man" no matter how we turn.