Gauge symmetries

Archbold, Paul [Composer] (2002) Gauge symmetries. (violin solo). Score. (Unpublished)


Gauge Symmetries was written in response to a commission for a solo violin work that was related to contemporary particle physics. The resultant virtuoso piece makes extensive use of complex performing skills including the accurate realisation of quarter-tone temperament, passages of extreme tessitura and the execution of high natural harmonics. The scales in high harmonics are an extension of a technique devised by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, whereas the realisation of high partials by depressing two nodes on the same string is believed to be an innovation of the composer. The four movements of Gauge Symmetries are organised in pairs: one employing harmonics (representing particles with mass) and one employing ‘normale’ pitches (representing particles without mass). Fermions is a musical metaphor for the Pauli exclusion principle, where two identical particles cannot remain in the same state. In Bosons there are four (massless) particles which travel at the same speed and can share the same state. The movement is constructed as a four-part canon where the time between entries is shortened, allowing the voices to cohere then decohere. Photinos is a companion to Bosons, where each melody progresses at a different tempo so no pair of melodies can ever cohere. Baryons and Mesons are observed particles composed of three and two quarks respectively: here the harmonics cohere into quivering or unstable sonorities. Squarks are hypothetical supersymmetric partners of quarks, the components of fermions. In this movement, the two melodic lines cohere in very high and wide double stops.

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