The Resonance project brought together composers, scientists and young people and was funded by a Wellcome Trust Pulse Award and was a partnership between BCMG, Henry Wellcome Building for Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy, the Birmingham Music Service and String Quartets from Scratch. It explored the connections between contemporary music and cutting edge science. Three string quartets for varying levels of ability for young musicians were commissioned as part of the project: Angular Momentum (grades 6-8+) by Tansy Davies, Spinlock (grades 7-8+) by Phil Cashian and Magnetic Moments (grades 5-6) by David Horne. Young people who took part in the project were involved in the evolution of the quartets; from the initial ideas to the completed works and were coached throughout by BCMG musicians. Together with the scores is a CD of the music recorded by a quartet of BCMG musicians, information about the science that inspired the music and introductory activities.

You can obtain each set of score and parts (including CD) for free from BCMG, just paying P&P.

Click here to read an article and listen to a podcast about the Resonance project on The Guardian website.

The three ‘Resonance’ quartets from BCMG are a fascinating addition to the repertoire and provide an excellent model for intermediate and advanced players to extend their skills both as an ensemble and as individual musicians. Each quartet challenges the players at their appropriate levels (each quartet has a clearly labelled grading) without being overwhelming; they also will develop key skills of rhythmic accuracy and listening to each other within an ensemble. However, their main strength is how they require the players to extend their imagination beyond the page, not just to the science project underpinning the compositions. The players are required to think about articulation, melody, and the balancing of important parts. Above all there is a sense of fun and energy created by all three quartets.

Neil Ferris, Chamber Music Coach, RCM Junior Department

Comments about Spinlock by Philip Cashian:

I like the freedom given to the players in the piece and think that it perfectly portrays the scientific ideas. The experimental music style combined with complex science makes this an inspirational and original piece.

Hetty Mulhall, Cellist, Berkshire Maestros

The first piece of experimental music that I felt actually made sense and took the players on a journey. Music portrays the science behind nuclear physics well and we all learned something new! Very enjoyable to play and to listen to.

Vicky Tay, Violinist, Berkshire Maestros

A super introduction to the techniques and sounds of 21st Century music. A great addition to the quartet repertoire.

Alexandra Wood