Performed by Yi-Chieh Lai, Transformation: Contemporary Taiwanese Zheng Music, 2008
In physics, “phase transition” refers to the transformation of matter from one phase to another. In this work, the composer tries to represent the three states of matter (solid, liquid and gas) and their transformations (melting, vaporization, condensation, freezing, and sublimation) by means of timbral and textural manipulations.
The composer chooses 21-stringed Zheng, a Chinese traditional unfretted zither, as the solo instrument, which has been prepared. The player also has to play with different tools——bow, superball, paper, and clips, for example——to make variant sound effects in the performance. Through these performing devices, the composer hopes to create timbral diversity and to seek the new possible sonorities out of the traditional instrument.