STRING QUARTET No. 6 (Rapid Eye)


Print Edition Price: 

not available currently

Year Authored (or revised): 



2 violins, viola, cello + optional playback

Duration (min): 


String Quartet No. 6: Rapid Eye exists in two versions: with or without electronic enhancement.  A soundtrack is included that can be run along with the end of the first
movement.  If the soundtrack is used, then the end of the second movement should be amplified with heavy reverb.

String Quartet No. 6: Rapid Eye is a rumination on the musical, literary and cognitive meanings of fantasy. The first movement – Adrift – is a fantasy on the supernatural journeys of literature, the meandering of dreams, and the intuitive shifts of musical improvisation.  It begins with a flickering gesture -- the “rapid eye” of the title -- announcing the onset of dreams.  The flickering subsides into a trembling figure passed around the ensemble.  From this figure, a widely discursive, episodic movement ensues, as if the figure has become a voyager passing through a series of magical seas. The second movement – Ashore – starts from the same flickering gesture, but takes it in a completely different direction.  Now we are in a familiar, C Major realm, but time – in a pizzicato pulse -- is warped and twisted into irregular shapes, like the  inadvertent distortions of memory. String Quartet No. 6: Rapid Eye is the final work in the Invisible Cities String Quartet Cycle, a set of six quartets exploring traditional  musical forms through a contemporary lens.  For more information,


Ensemble Type: 

string quartet (alone or + inst or voc)

In life, when we encounter a fork in the road, we must choose one direction, and we can only wonder what might have happened if we had chosen another.  In art, we are allowed to experience alternatives. Each of the two movements of String Quartet No. 6: Rapid Eye has two optional endings.  For the first movement, the first optional ending is scored for the live quartet, but a soundtrack is available from the publisher that should be played with the second optional ending.   The soundtrack (tuned to A-441) is
approximately 50 seconds long, and should begin in measure 277, as indicated in the score.  The playback should be balanced so that both the soundtrack and the string quartet are clearly audible, though mostly pianissimo. If the soundtrack is used in the first movement, the penultimate passage of the second movement should incorporate electronic amplification and reverberation, as indicated on page 24.  Otherwise, the second movement may be played as a purely acoustic composition.

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