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Tchaikovsky: Can’t go that low

Tchaikovsky: Can’t go that low, Encaustic & 3D-printed ABS, 24″x18″

Combining layered image transfers with 3D-printed ABS, Tchaikovsky: Can’t go that low pulls my violin-playing days together with my oil sector career.

The musical score is the violins’ first bars of the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. The bottom portion of the piece is highly-textured encaustic, and the center tree and the colored strata are 3D-printed ABS.

Probably the greatest memory playing the violin came during a particular rehearsal with the Iowa State University Symphony. We were rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. I was no virtuoso by any means – in fact I was way in the back of the second violin section – but this particular rehearsal, on this particular piece, I experienced a period of nirvana: I could not play a wrong note! This never happened again on the violin. And I can’t remember a sensation like that ever happening on the piano.

The inspiration for this piece came from the grand opening motif of the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th. It struck me as odd that all of the violins – half of the strings – dropped out on the critical 8th note of the opening. The note was too low for the violins to play. So everybody else had to punch it. Why didn’t Tchaikovsky just raise the key a few notes?