Date of Award

Spring 4-24-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Suzanne Farrin

Second Advisor

David Fulmer

Academic Program Adviser

Philip Ewell


Chiral Reflection was written for flutist Emi Fergusson and is inspired both by nature and chemistry. The melodic core of the work is derived from the wailing of loons. Loons are birds inhabiting Northern American forests. They are often found on large lakes, usually in pairs. Their wail is believed to be a contact call. In this piece, the loon asks: “where are you”, without an answer back from its partner.

This image of the lonely bird call on a lake at twilight piqued my curiosity regarding the natural phenomena of reflections. I was made aware of the physics of "chiral molecules" which describe molecules who are non-superimposable on their mirror images. Just like our two hands are mirror images of each other when positioned one against the other, palms in, they are also non-superimposable when put one on top of the other. This piece is attempting to create a reflection of the melody over an invisible "X/Y axis" by using electronics (reverb, delay, and echo). The electronics and the flute melody are two offshoots (or result) of the same original body, the physical instrument and the performer’s body. They both spread in different directions, the harmony going up and down as a verticality versus the melody being an horizontal arrow-like shot. The melody informs the harmony and they both cannot exist without the other.

Included in

Composition Commons



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