top of page


Altschmerz: a salient scene reflected (String Quartet, No. 2 in 31-TET) is a work for microtonal string quartet, written in 31-tone equal temperament based on the models outlined by Paul Rapoport in his essay available on Huygens-Fokker (1987).

Written in rural Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany in the winter of 2020-21, Altschmerz is an exploration of autistic inertia through xenharmonic frameworks: feelings of overwhelming shame, guilt, and pain that fester in the neurodivergent mind. Alexithymic harmonies and melodies arrive at the forefront - discernable but not analysable - maintaining an obscure presence in the 31-TET scale before disappearing into the aether of uncanny dissonance; until the quartet builds, slowly but overwhelmingly, into a sonic representation of an autistic meltdown.

Altschmerz: n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had — the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.

from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

The above recording of 'Altschmerz: a salient scene reflected' is a workshop performance by Quatuor Bozzini in Montreal, Canada, as part of an initiative run by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in February 2021.

Violin I -
Alissa Cheung
Violin II - Clemens Merkel
Viola - Stéphanie Bozzini
Cello - Isabelle Bozzini

Workshopped by Quatuor Bozzini on 26 February 2021.

Interested in performing this work or perusing a score? Get in touch!

bottom of page