Critical Strip

for string quartet

Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

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for string quartet

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Composer Gustavo Díaz-Jerez

Year of Composition


, ,


ca. 18'


Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-gdj1cs1


The musical material in Critical Strip is generated from the first 500 zeros of Riemann’s Zeta function, which is possibly the most important yet unsolved mathematical mystery: the Riemann Hypothesis. From this initial raw material the musical discourse is modeled. The conception of the quartet is not presented here as the interaction between four independent instruments but as a single 16-string instrument. The musical discourse is woven through continuous metamorphoses, in a sort of musical equivalent of the Metamorphosen by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher. This constantly evolving linear continuum is also a sound metaphor for the “critical band” (hence the name Critical Strip) that characterizes the Zeta function. This underlying mathematical structure brings unity to the work, but is nevertheless transparent to the listener’s conscious experience.

First performed 25 November 2017, Xornadas de Música Contemporánea de Santiago de Compostela.