Panayiotis Kokoras (1974)

Holophony (2002 -2003)

for string quartet

  • General information
    • Composition date: 2002 - 2003
    • Duration: 9 mn 40 s
    • Publisher: Inédit
Detailed formation
  • 1 violin, 1 second violin, 1 viola, 1 cello

Premiere information

  • Date: 13 June 2003

    Russie, Moscou, Conservatoire Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninov hall


    les interprètes du Studio pour la musique nouvelle de Moscou.

Program note

Holophony is a piece with a strictly monothematic character. It combines the symbolism of a concrète sound with an abstract sound object, that of the Doppler Effect. The Doppler Effect is a phenomenon whereby the perception of a moving sound varies according to its position in relation to the listener. As the sound approaches a listener it is perceived at a higher frequency and then, as it moves away, at a lower one. This is the idea, the starting point of the work. However, I have transferred it to the concert hall and applied it to musical instruments.

Holophony is a kind of artistic or aesthetic simulation of that natural phenomenon.
Through spectromorphological processes, spectral content and sound objects constantly undergo transformations varied from ‘sonic boom’ to microscopic phase-shifting. The basic elements for a thorough understanding of the work’s abstract structural relations and behaviours are systematic morphological, timbral and synthesis procedures and models of the sound material and its chronotopological precision. In addition, tempo indications such as Allegro, Presto, etc. are replaced by expressions such as Noisy, Distorted, Squeaky, etc. The significance of the diatonic interval ceases to exist.

Finally, the title Holophony, as an effort to give a term of a likely musical evolution, cf.: Monophony, Polyphony, Homophony… signifies my intention to determine a rather general aesthetical frame for the work. Each independent sound (phonos in Greek), contributes equally into the synthesis of the total (holos). Abstract sound constructions are "collected into a composite image, wherein the 'object' loses its identity but contributes to the quality of the more embracing image". The final musical output becomes perceptible as a single abstract sound with internal components and with focal points.

Panayiotis Kokoras