Touching with Sound
|6'30" - 10'30"
|Commissioned by the ProtoStar Group
Touching with Sound was inspired by a moment when I listened to the recordings of sonar signals with oceanographers John Hildebrand and Joshua Jones in one of our zoom meetings during the pandemic.
As I transposed the high-frequency signal downward to create a spiral sweeping across the registers, enhanced the reverberance and slowed down the pulse, their eyes lit up and they marveled, “listen to the echoes!”
Echolocation is both seeing and touching with sound. It gives the animals magical eyes and hands to illuminate and touch their surroundings.
Dr. Joshua Jones wrote the following when he received my dedication of the piece, returning from a research trip to the Arctic:
“This was such a special treat to come home to. The signal at first simply reflects off the composer. It almost bounces directly off the piano. As the piece progresses, the same source signal interacts with and is changed by deeper layers of thought and feeling, becoming a more complex return that illuminates for the listener the internal landscape of the composer and his relationships with sound, the natural world, and the two oceanographers to whom the piece is dedicated. I am touched. Truly. Thank you for sharing this with us and for allowing us to be a part of your work and life.”
Touching with Sound was commissioned by the ProtoStar Group, and was premiered by a consortium of pianists around the world in 2024.
– Lei Liang