Alvin Lucier


  • Alvin Lucier
  • Year of composition: 1994
  • Instrumentation: string quartet

In Disappearances four string players make minute adjustments in intonation, causing overtones to appear and disappear. Starting at unison, the players sustain a long unison tone. As they do so, they become aware of the higher partials produced by each other’s reinforcement of the unison tone. At any time any player decides to imperceptibly raise or lower her pitch causing audible beats to appear. She is followed by another player(s) doing likewise. When the unison is de-tuned enough the higher partials disappear. The players then imperceptibly move to another unison on another pitch, causing a new set of partials to sound. This procedure is repeated any number of times. This work was composed especially for the students in the Wesleyan University String Quartet and was first performed by them in Crowell Hall, Wesleyan University, on October 20, 1994, as part of the Alvin Lucier: Collaborations Festival.

Bozzini QuartetAlvin Lucier: Disappearances; October 2015