A Vuza Canon for tenor recorder and shakuhachi (2017)


tenor recorder and shakuhachi
Commissioned by:
Tosiya Suzuki

Performance Score available for purchase


Gz is an abbreviation of Gestaltzerfall, or “shape decomposition,” a psychological phenomenon where one experiences a temporary loss of the ability to recognize certain letters, particularly often experienced in Japanese Kanjis. The elements of loss, uncertainty, and doubt are the underlying motivations for composing this work.

Named after Rumanian mathematician Dan Tudor Vuza who researched it extensively, a Vuza canon is a rhythmic, tiling canon with some peculiar musical properties. Even at the maximal density of the canon where all the voices are playing, the overall perception a continuous flow at the basic pulse unit (in this piece, it is an eighth-note). Furthermore, at that moment, each “pulsation” is enunciated by only one voice. In other words, when one voice is enunciating, the other voice is absent. The end result is something similar to a hocket.

While this piece does start as a 12-part Vuza canon compressed into two voices, its canonic structure becomes distorted little by little, and by the end the work dissolves into layers of breath sounds.

Commissioned by Tosiya Suzuki, Gz is dedicated to Tosiya Suzuki, Tadashi Tajima who premiered this work, and to Fabien Lévy, who introduced me to the fascinating world of the Vuza canons.


Performance History

03/25/2017 WP
Tosiya Suzuki, recorder; Tadashi Tajima, shakuhachi
Yodobashi Church, Tokyo
Tosiya Suzuki Recorder Recital

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