Reincarnation (finished in Oct. 2016)
Most people in the Eastern world talk about reincarnation as a linear event; a person begins a new life immediately after their death. While I believe in reincarnation, I also believe in quantum physics and string theory, including its 11 dimensions beyond our space-time system.
If we try to imagine the universe in dimensions beyond our current time-space understanding, we might see all events (and parallel universes) happen simultaneously, and therefore each incarnational life would occur simultaneously, too. Each incarnational being might even be able to transfer his own feelings to another incarnational being, which therefore might have an effect on others' important life decisions, such as marriage, illness, etc. If all incarnational lives, together, helped one other to improve their spiritual lives and thus developed into a higher-dimensional creature, we'd have narratives similar to “2001 Space Odyssey” and “Interstellar.” Through this interpretation, the concept of “karma” makes more sense to me.
This work, which mimics the reincarnation concept aforementioned, contains two main parts: a Japanese Shamisen trio and nature sounds, such as rain, wind, birdcalls, and wind chimes.
The three parts of Japanese Shamisen trio represent three different incarnational lives—past, present, and future—are played in different tempi but simultaneously: "past life" occurs at a lower BPM: quarter equals 40; "present life" is in quarter equals 60; "future life" is fastest: quarter equals 100. By utilizing tempo shifts in these three tempi, I can mimic different incarnational life influences at different intensities.
What's more, because Chinese culture traditionally describes life's difficulties as elements of storm, I have chosen rain, wind, and birdcalls to symbolize struggles or tumultuous feelings about life events. The final sound—wind chimes—represents spiritual improvement or development and the completeness all of three incarnational lives.
Panning is also another important feature for this piece. I purposely paned the "present life" in the middle while the future and past Shamisen parts move around. This symbolizes the cooperation between lives, and how past and future lives assist in shaping the present. Also, the different timbre of different Shamisen parts allows the audience to easily recognize the interactions of these three Shamisen parts.
In musical history, is very unusual to have different tempi assigned to different parts in a piece; it's especially different for these tempi to not be doubles of one another, such as 60 and 120. Therefore, it is quite challenging to compose this music. Although, its melodic lines and music development make it sound like contemporary classical chamber music, in order to complete this piece, one must rely on the modern technology of Digital Audio Workstation.