Research Output

“Floating sculptures”.

  The composer's compositional research explores the relationship between music and the visual arts, including photography, architecture and sculpture. "Floating sculptures" was composed as a response to the photographic panoramic collage, "Price at the Pump" by Stephen Lawson. In that collage Lawson examines the nature of time by fixing his camera on a scene, taking shots as the camera moves in a cycle, moving incrementally by a minute, hour or even a day at a time.

The relationship between painting and music is long standing, and while many scores serve to recreate the subject matter, mood or narrative of the visuals, the work is intended as a quasi musical accompaniment to the photograph and should be regarded more as a study in the translation of time, a musical reading of the photograph from right to left. "Floating sculptures" presents various soundworlds, which in turn are suggestive of the textures within the Lawson work. Different types of glissandi are used to great effect, complementing the strip technique in which the photograph was assembled. Inherently in this method of collage, the strips of photographs have been placed in strict order. However, in order to create fuller textures in the score, "strips" of glissandi are overlapped. The string writing involves a considerable amount of experimentation with a number of techniques intrinsic to the string family, including vibrato, trills and glissandi resulting in effects such as the combination of trill and glissandi techniques.

The work is not intended as a string quartet in the traditional sense and thus adds to the research undertaken by modern composers in re-evaluating traditional classical forms. Each instrument is treated as soloist with equal displays of virtuousity required from all four players.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    24 January 2006

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    M1 Music


Burton, K. (2006). “Floating sculptures”. Edinburgh, Scotland



Edinburgh String Quartet; Burton, Katrina; String instruments;

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