# ENRICO CHAPELA BARBA

COMPOSER

# CRUCIGRaMA

## String Quartet and Guitar Quartet

Work commissioned by Cuarteto Latinoamericano and Entrequatre, 2007.

When I received the commission to compose this work for the Cuarteto Latinoamericano and Entrequatre, I looked for a theme that represented the intertwining that a piece for double quartet implies. Each quartet has very particular characteristics, some coinciding and others diverging, but together they multiply the possibilities of the strings by combining the resources of the bows with the fingers, the horsehair with the fingernails, the rubbing with the pulsation. I thought that a piece for double quartet was like a quartet enhanced by itself, a quartet geometrically enlarged, a quartet squared.

So, I came up with the idea of a crossword puzzle, of a game board where two dimensions would create an area of interaction of words, where the letters would be bolts between two axes, where two perpendicular realities strongly interconnected with each other would coexist.

Then, I pulled out of the chest of oblivion the old scrabble game I used to practice English with in childhood and played a game against myself.

First, I searched for a set of words containing all the letters of the English alphabet, for which I decided to use the NATO phonetic alphabet. Then, I arranged the 26 words scrupulously respecting the rules of the game, and at the end, I finished the game by inserting short Spanish words in the few spaces that were left free. With these words I made a riddle in the form of a haiku and elaborated the enigma of the crossword puzzle, with the sole purpose of being solved by those enthusiasts interested in delving into the intimate recesses of a score.

It is up to you, gentle reader, to discover the hidden enigma of the crossword puzzle, and if this does not arouse your enthusiasm, you may choose to try to decipher the enigmatic technical explanation offered below...

This work is dedicated to the Cuarteto Latinoamericano and Entrequatre in gratitude for their talent and generosity.

Technical Explanation

Any word in any language can be interpreted as a number if the letters of the alphabet are considered as digits. For example, in English A would be 1, B-2, C-3, and so on, so counting from 1 to 26 would be counting from A to Z. Thus, the English language can be considered as a positional counting system with base 27, since it has 26 letters (digits) plus the space between words, which can be considered as zero.

To start composing I took the NATO phonetic alphabet, originally designed to spell any letter clearly among speakers of different languages. To find the numerical equivalents of these words, I worked out conversion tables from base 27 to their corresponding numbers in base 10, and from there to all other bases between 2 and 16.

Then, aided by a scrabble board, I organized these words in the form of a crossword puzzle, which I used as a master plan to structure the piece. Each square on the board corresponds to a bar, so the musical material in each one arose from the letters contained therein. As the crossword is a matrix of 16 squares per side, there are 2 possible readings of the board: horizontal and vertical, each of 256 (162) measures. It is from these readings that the two movements of the piece emerged, using the conversion tables to assign the notes, reading the digits as ascending semitones.

The work begins using only base 2, but each time a new column or row is reached the base grows by one digit, so that at the end of each movement the base is 16. These base changes occur every half minute and are marked by pedal note changes. To determine the notes used to count the semitones I enlisted all the strings in the air organizing them in pairs, so that every half minute they are modified, exploring all the possible intervals formed by the strings in the air. The first movement corresponds to the horizontal reading of the crossword puzzle, which gave rise to a rather contrapuntal reading of the numbers, while the vertical reading suggested a harmonic treatment.

###### horizontal

###### vertical

## DISCOGRAPHY

## AWARDS

April 15, 2008

Selected Work at the Mexican Music Tribune, held at Mexico City.

## PERFORMANCES

Auditorio Príncipe Felipe, Oviedo, Spain. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Auditorio Municipal, Orense, Spain. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Zamora, Spain. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Auditorio Nacional de Música, Sala de Cámara, Madrid, Spain. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Ottawa Chamber Music Society, Ottawa, Canada. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, USA. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

Instituto Cervantes, Albuquerque, USA. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

World Premiere at the Blas Galindo Concert Hall, CNA, Mexico City. Cuarteto Latinoamericano & Entrequatre.

February 26, 2008

February 27, 2008

February 28, 2008

March 1, 2008

March 2, 2008

December 11, 2007

December 10, 2007

December 8, 2007

December 6, 2007