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searching for home

shi-an costello 世安

Instrumentation: violin, cello and percussion (14 custom-made flower pots)

Duration: app. 7 minutes

Year: 2023

commissioned by Missing Piece and the Earth/Land Project

Audio Recording:


Program Note:

Searching for home is about several abstract and literal expressions of the idea of home. In a musical sense, the piece is about searching for a tonal pitch center among a sea of complex timbres, resonances and overtones. With an established pitch center, our ears can create a home, allowing us to experience the opposing sensations of tension and relief. This piece is not necessarily about the creation of a home for our ears, but about the process of searching for one.

In a literal sense, pots provide a home for houseplants. I imagine the houseplant searching for home within the pot by growing inward and establishing its roots in the soil, or similarly, the houseplant may be searching  elsewhere for home by growing outward, away from the pot and out into the room. In a sense, I like to imagine that plant growth represents a constant state of searching, for either a current or new home, for its roots and leaves. 

And in a self-reflective sense, I myself as the composer of the piece, had to search for a home. The pots, a unique series of pitched pots made with love and care by Dan Galat for the Earth/Land project, and from which I selected a subset of 14, offered me a unique opportunity to find my own musical home among the unique instrumentation. -sc


About the Cover Image: The cover image is a spectral analysis image of flower pots 6, 10, and 9, respectively. The highlighted pitch that runs through all three pots is a pitch that wavers around Bb3.

Performance History:

November 5th, 2023, Elastic Arts: Missing Piece Premieres Earth/Land Project

pots 6, 10, 9 w Bb3 HL spektral_EDIT_CROP.png
00:00 / 02:24
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