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L'Effet de Coriolis

L'Effet de Coriolis - Simon Diricq.png

Due to Earth’s rotation, any object in motion naturally deviates from its trajectory, to the right in the northern hemisphere, and to the left in the southern hemisphere. This effect is often called the Coriolis Force. The mathematical expression for this force first appeared in a paper by the French scientist, Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis. The force can most easily be recognised in meteorology and oceanography. It affects the movement of winds, ocean currents, and cyclones. Legend has it that the Coriolis Effect is also observable in bathtubs, but of course the force is negligible at this scale.


The piece begins with a B, the third line of the staff symbolically representing the equator. The musician is then set in motion by a crescendo before being carried into a storm. The idea of deviation is omnipresent in this tormented work with fictitious lines getting closer together or further apart all the time. The lull in the eye of the cyclone is represented by the pitch of the notes and is fixed on a simple scale that begins with a semitone, then a tone, and progresses in widening intervals. The saxophone crosses the path of two cyclones that meet in this piece. The instrument's volubility is particularly adept at portraying this turmoil.


'L’Effet de Coriolis' is a piece dedicated to the Polish saxophonist Jakub Jarosz, a former student of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, who was writing an article about Belgian music at the same time that I was composing this work.


I premiered it at the Royal College of Music in London on 26 January, 2018.

"L'Effet de Coriolis" is now available !

You can get the score for alto saxophone solo for 15 €.

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