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diminishing 5ths

for untuning violin and cello

Shi-an Costello (世 安)


Purchase diminishing 5ths full score HERE.

Year: 2022

Length: 20 minutes to 60 minutes

Instrumentation: violin and cello

Audio sample:


i. retaining the ritual

ii. filling the space with familiar sounds

iii. finding new points of rest

iv. deepening the descent

v. remembering how to increase

vi. letting the ghosts float

vii. collecting and reporting

viii. moving on

viii.a moving around

viii.b dipping the toe

viii.c awakening innocence

viii.d building small waves

viii.e aligning the voice

viii.f modest resonance

viii.g exaltation

Program Notes:

diminishing 5ths is based upon a fantasized musicological scenario in which all wooden instruments would reach permanent decay within a few hours of being played. In this scenario, the standardized notion of tuning would be left behind, and each musician would be free to play their instrument in the most natural way the wood of the instrument allows. The goal of music making would be less centered around easy access to specific pitches by means of uniformity, but rather, to listen closely and react in ways that support the unique capabilities of the instruments. My deepest, most heartfelt thanks goes to two wonderful people and intrepid music interpreters, Dan Galat and Kelly Quesada, for whom the piece is written, and from whom the musical, poetic and political inspiration took form. -SC

Shi-An is a BMI composer. All Rights Reserved. 

Purchase Score Here:

Performance History:

June 10th, 2022: Mu Gallery, Chicago, Dan Galat - violin, Kelly Quesada - cello

March 19th, 2024: Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, (Dan & Kelly)

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