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journey, wander; haziness, fogginess

Commissioned by Phidias Trio

Performance duration
11’ 30"


Phidias Trio vol.8 “Journey, Wander…”
July 1, 2023, Tokyo, KM Art Hall

Maiko Matsuoka, Violin; Ryuta Iwase, Clarinet; Erika Kawamura, Piano

Year of composition


violin, bass clarinet and piano

Commentary (English version)

Each instrument plays a different series of notes. But, the piano plays two kinds of series of notes with different timbres - specifically, a part in the series of muted notes by Blu Tack, and a part in the series of normal notes - two or sometimes three at the same time. These series of notes may be placed within a certain range of tones without any particular order, or they may be placed sequentially as a scale. In some cases, the latter is characterised by a widening or narrowing of the space between notes, but both are plain and without any noticeable rhythmic features. Although they also share the same tempo and time signature (three four), they also use various tuplets and note values to make it seem as if each instrument or part is playing at a different tempo and time signature. Furthermore, even within a single instrument, a series of tones that consists of different tuplets and note values can be inserted, or even parallel to each other. There are of course moments when the notes played by each instrument or part sound at the same time. However, from an aural point of view, these ideas are probably less noticeable in many cases. In addition, because of the technique used, the notes produced by the instruments are not likely to blend together in any 'fine' or 'good' way as a sound. This music itself does not change much, and the same scenery continues from the beginning to the end. But, I consider this music to be music to listen to or experience in such a way that we simply surrender ourself to the transition of the sounds, or discover some kind of relationship between the notes from the audible sounds, or concentrate on listening to each sound as if it were etched in our ears or memory, etc. I myself listen to or experience this music in such a way. 

Now, I would like to turn the topic from the specifics of this piece (part of it) to a different perspective. However, it is not irrelevant to this piece.

Many people have probably seen or heard the expression that life is a journey (probably at least in Japan). There are times when we walk along a journey with a purpose, and there are surely times when we (try to) wander around aimlessly. There are also times when we stop and turn back. There are also times when we stop and turn back. I think that each pace of walking our way / living our life should be different (even if we are in the bad situation of being forced to do something...). In that process of walking / life, we are often exposed to other people. We often meet others with whom we have had no connection to by chance, sometimes a relationship is built and we walk / live together on the same way for a while. Of course, sometimes we just pass each other, sometimes we part ways, and sometimes we meet up again. Occasionally, even seemingly unrelated person(s) may have been walking together for a certain period of time, just not seen, which means that we had some kind of relationship with such he / she / they. The frequency of such events that lead to recognition and involvement with others is unique to each person's case. We have stood on a way like this, and the way we walk on may be foggy or hazy, making it difficult to see the surroundings and the distance. This is because we can predict, but not perfectly foresee, what the future has in store for us.

So far, I have written about long journeys, but I also like to wander around in short or small areas. I think those moments are also important in life.


The title of this piece expresses how my state of mind changes during my journeys to various places of the world, and during my wanders the streets when living in my own country or in a foreign country. And this is related to the reason why this music changes so little. In conclusion, wherever I live and wander, and wherever I journey, there is little change in my state of mind.

Why is there so little change in my state of mind? The reason is that I'm constantly haunted by the sence that I don't belong not only in a foreign country but also in my own country.

In a foreign country I'm of course a minority and I have to communicate in a language that is not my mother tongue. I struggle to understand the small differences in the nuances of the language, which are easy for its locals. Unless, they and I are of similar ethnicity, my external features are also different from theirs. There is also discrimination by some among them and other immigrants. There may be customs and practices in the country that I just can't adapt myself to. Even if I lived in that foreign country for a long time, I would not be able to shake off the sence of alienation.

So what does it mean that I feel alienated even if I live in my own country?

When we see the word 'journey', we think of going to different places and seeing various landscapes, but the journey in the title of this piece means how the state of my mind changes on that journey. This is the reason why there is little change in this music.

I have lived in Japan for many years and I have always felt somewhat alienated. One reason may be that I make my living as a composer of contemporary music, which is the declining (besides small!) in Japan today, but I often felt alienated even before that. Before I became a composer, especially as a junior and senior high school student, I was not good at socialising and had few friends. I may have become a little more sociable since university, perhaps out of necessity, but I feel that the nature of who I am has not changed.

Commentary (Japanese version)



​ この曲のタイトルは、世界の様々な場所への旅の中での、また自分の国や外国に住んでいるときに街をぶらぶら歩く中での、私の心の状態がどのように変化するかを表現したものです。そして、このことはこの音楽の変化が少ない理由にも繋がります。​結論から言うと、私はどこに住んで散歩しても、どこを旅していても、私の心の状態の変化は少ないです。








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Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash

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