While 'lyssna' in Swedish simply means 'to listen,' it can more broadly refer to an awareness and fluidity found between dancing partners, between musicians and their instruments, even between harmony and rhythm.
"Lyssna" is an independent thesis research project, supported by Princeton University's department of music, exploring the intersection of harmony and rhythm where melody resides in Swedish traditional dance music. During the summer of 2015, I traveled to festivals throughout central and northern Sweden, learning tunes and dance styles from several traditions.
The final thesis took the form of a composition, research essay, and nonfiction travelogue. The composition, a five-movement string quartet, was premiered at Princeton on April 1st 2015 alongside a performance program montaged field recordings, research footage, solo compositions, traditional works, and a collective final jam, all constructed in conversation with the quartet.
A detailed review of the piece's premiere by The Nassau Weekly can be found here.
In 2017, Lyssna was publicly premiered by the Swedish string quartet MalvaKvartetten at Nyfiket in Rättvik, Sweden, the town where my research began two years prior.