Three Pieces for String Can Koto (2014)
Approx. 11 minutes
When Liz Barton asked me to write a piece for her newly invented instrument, I was at first a bit daunted by the idea of composing for something for which there were literally no established techniques or standard way of playing. However, after spending some quality time with the koto in my house, I became very inspired by the wide variety of different sounds I discovered were possible. Free from the baggage that sometimes burdens older instruments, writing for the koto was one of the most liberating experiences I've had. About her instrument, Liz aptly writes:
"The String Can Koto did not become a Koto until after the instrument was built. The first sounds that emerged were so reminiscent of a Japanese Koto that I began calling this strange new musical instrument “String Can Koto.” The String Can Koto is created from re-purposed found objects: cardboard coffee cans, mason string, wood from an old piano, salvaged tuning pegs, and pieces of hardware. The potential musical applications of the instrument are many. The flexibility of tuning and the necessity of inventing a technique for playing the instrument gives it characteristics of exploration and playfulness."
The three pieces here are explorations into probably just a few of the sound-worlds and techniques available to the koto.