Temple (for zheng and electroacoustic sounds) Kevin Austin, Chih-Lin Chou

Composed in February 2003, and premiered at the Oscar Peterson concert Hall (Montreal, Canada) on March 08, 2003 by Chih-Lin Chou, Temple is the first of three related pieces for zheng (chinese zither) and electroacoustic sounds. The work, whose full title is Temple of Peace and Joy, is a mixed work where all of the ea sounds have been created from a recording of the zheng playing the traditional chinese piece, Xiang Shan Melody.

The temple is a place of peace and joy. It elevates the believer, the faithful nearer to heaven, nearest to god. The supplicant goes to the temple to find peace and joy, the temple provides an environment for this to happen, yet never becomes one with the seeker. This sense of oneness and distance occurs through the ea sounds being ‘from’ the zheng, while the pitch relationships are at once common, and never melding (the ea ‘E’ with the zheng ‘D’ as one example).

The sound materials were assembled in the composer’s home studio, with the main ea techniques used being time-stretching, pitch-shifting, narrow band eq and reverb. Some parts have as many as 14 layers. Software used was SoundMaker and Logic running on a 1gHz dual-processor G4. The ea materials have been assembled as two solo ea works, Three Zheng Études, versions 1 and 2.

The work is somewhat unusual in the ‘mixed’ ea repertoire for it is too adventurous compared to works aimed at a ‘popular’ audience, and too ‘conservative’ for the new music community. It has set out to be what Chih-Lin Chou has wanted it to be, an introduction of traditional chinese musics with the possibilities of modern western ea resources. The ea part is in six sections which play without pause. The zheng part is virtuoso both in terms of traditional zheng technique and in Chih-Lin Chou’s ability to remain within one second of the ea part throughout the 7 minutes with minimal cues. Recorded by Dr Mark Corwin in the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, March 08, 2003.

  • Year of composition: 2003
  • Duration of the submitted work: 7:16

More works by Kevin Austin, Chih-Lin Chou