Mosquito Opus No. 8

Raul Rodriguez Copyright© 8 October 2017
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page one of Mosquito Opus No. 8

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Full details

I first thought of doing this after listening to Bartok’s String Quartet No. 3. The thing about the mosquito sound is that it is usually very short in duration as the little beast whizzes past our ears. First, the physics of what is taking place. The mosquito’s average frequency (from the beating of wings) is around 600 Hz. We know that moving objects produce a frequency Doppler shift. The base frequency of a moving object (in this case the mosquito) is compressed to a higher frequency due to the relative motion to the observer, but continues to decompress (gradually reducing its frequency) as it approaches the closest point of approach (CPA) at which time the observer experiences the moving object’s base frequency. As the object moves past the observer the sound continues to decompress below the base frequency. How much time this frequency transition takes depends on the distance at closest point of approach. The other thing to consider is the loudness of the sound being directly proportional to its closeness to the observer. To mimic this very unique but bothersome sound I turn to the violin. The frequency of the mosquito is 600 Hz which is between the frequency of D5 at 587.3 Hz and Eb5 at 622.3 Hz. I selected D5 as the base frequency for the effect, and D Major for the key signature of the piece. The passage should be played glissando with increasing dynamic as it approaches the base D5 note and decreasing dynamic as it passes it. The passage should be played sul ponticello which provides a raspier eerie sound. And, there it is. A mosquito!

Score ID
Raul Rodriguez Copyright© 8 October 2017
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Classical music

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Cover art for Mosquito Opus No. 8

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