Tapu'at – orchestra, 8'

New York Youth Symphony, Paul Haas conductor. | | timp.1perc | str
First Music Award. Commissioned and given its premiere by the New York Youth Symphony. Premiered 2/27/07 at Carnegie Hall, Paul Haas conducting.

The Tapu'at (mother-child) symbol of the Hopi is a seven-circuit labyrinth, it is not a maze, but a single circular pathway leading either into the labyrinth's center or out from it. This particular design is identical to those found on ancient Cretan coins, and has been found in ancient culture around the world.

From the Hopi perspective, the Tapu'at labyrinth is a symbol for emergence from one world into the next, and a description of the earth's dimensions. The Hopi believe the earth has seven energy centers (corresponding to the Hindu chakra system) and can be defined within four directions: North, South, East, and West. It follows that the labyrinth has seven circuits that rotate around the center, and the lines (or walls) used to define the labyrinth end in four points, corresponding to the directions.

This piece follows the path one would travel if emerging from the center with each circuit lasting roughly a minute - emerging into the world by the seventh minute. The music describes each energy center as correlated to the chakra system, and has been constructed in the order of pathways taken. Using the image, you may trace the pathway beginning at the center. If ordering each circuit outward from the center, you will notice that you begin on the third circuit, and it follows:

Circuit 3 - Chakra 3 - Solar Plexus - Fire
Circuit 2 - Chakra 2 - Sacral - Water
Circuit 1 - Chakra 1 - Root - Earth
Circuit 4 - Chakra 4 - Heart - Air
Circuit 7 - Chakra 7 - Crown - Spirit
Circuit 6 - Chakra 6 - Third Eye - Light
Circuit 5 - Chakra 5 - Throat - Sound

score excerpt