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Chromatophonic Triptych

Chromatophonic Triptych represents a culmination of a nearly decade-long project; an interdisciplinary, process-driven exploration of color and sound. This iteration is a composition for woodwind quintet which conceptually and physically explores the origins and future of our existence, and how sound and light may have started everything to begin with. It is broken into three movements, each one addressing different points of spacetime in the cosmology and chronology of the universe.


The first takes its name from the “primordial plasma” (Ylem) which theoretically existed shortly after the Big Bang. Out of the Ylem coalesced the first two atoms (hydrogen and helium). The third movement addresses the present state of our planet and climate change. The notes, or pitch sets, used in movements II and III are based purely on the atomic emission spectra (light waves) of hydrogen, helium, carbon, and oxygen. Using my chromatophonic formula, each emission line is converted from light wave into sound wave. Movement III utilizes the chemical substances water and carbon dioxide (H2O and CO2). Data taken from graphs of sea level change and atmospheric carbon dioxide from 1900 to 2020 are sonified into the various compositional parameters.


MAX/MSP patches of my own design were used to create interactive “sound paintings” in real time, harnessing the sound waves produced by each of the five instruments. 

Movement I. Ylem

Movement II. H & He

Movement III. H2O & CO2

Chromatophonic Triptych was premiered by The City of Tomorrow woodwind quintet on August 4, 2021 at VCFA in Montpelier, VT.

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