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High Tide, Low Tide. For String Orchestra and Percussions (2022)

I live in Southern California. Most tides here occur in mixed semidiurnal----two high tides and two low tides, in a 24-hour period. I love sitting on the rocks for hours and watch the trillions of water droplets breathe in a cosmic mass. The moon guides their purpose, as the seascape and the wind sculpt the millions of ephemeral ridges and valleys on their surface. It is in between each high and low the horseshoe crabs learned when to prey; turtles knew where to breed; surfers mastered the art of waves.

Tides are breaths of the ocean. They are periodic, yet always happen with subtle variance. I think about it as the ultimate form of elegance: a controlled deviation; a surprising ordain. If the first organism really come from the body of water, the periodicity of tides must be the shared ancient memory of all the living beings. Thus, I adopted the periodicity of tides as the overall form of my piece. The time pose of each high and low in the music corresponds proportionally to the tide tables of one summer day in 2022, Los Angeles.

I used two units of sound as the main materials for this piece: timbre/pitch fluctuation on a sustained single pitch and fast arpeggio on four strings. They each resembles the somber and liveliness of the tides. The graphic notation of the piece is inspired by my favorite Chinese Artist, Ma Yuan, 马远. 马远 is an artist lived in the Song dynasty. He is known for his painting of water.

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