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Square Pegs
Four Solo Pieces for various instruments, 7min

Four little experiments in an unusual but hopefully transparent and easily-heard form.  Each piece is in two halves.  The first contrasts two kinds of material, the second half presents the same material contrasted in a different way.  Each one is about comparing two comparisons.

I. for Piano or Marimba. 1m30s

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 .m4a (3.6MB)   .flac (3.4MB)
Bora Im, Piano

     In this one, the contrasts are done harmonically. In the first half, harmonies based mostly on major and minor thirds are contrasted with those of perfect fourths and major seconds; in the second, the two harmonic styles are swapped.

II. for Trombone. 1m30s

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 .m4a (3.1MB)   .flac (2.9MB) 
Lauren Husting, Trombone

     In the first half, slow, lyrical material is contrasted with faster, fluttertongued bursts.  In the second half, the same melodies are presented at constant tempo and dynamic but with light, straight eighths vs. heavy dotted rhythms.

III. for Flute or other wind. 1m

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 .m4a (3.2MB)   .flac (3.0MB) 
John Chow Seymour, Flute

     I created two register-sensitive synthetic scales - scales that don't repeat at the octave - and alternated between them in the first half.  In the second half, the rhythms and melodic shapes remain exactly the same, but the scales are swapped: material played with the first scale is now played with the second, and vice versa.

IV. for Marimba. 2m14s

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 .m4a (6.6MB)   .flac (6.2MB) 
John Chow Seymour, Marimba

     In the first half, fluid sixteenths contrast with a style made of halting rolled chords.  In the second half, the melody from the sixteenths is treated to thick quasi-tonal harmonies, while the material from the halting chords is spread out arrhythmically using spatial notation.

Download full recordings of all four (free): .zip (14.4MB)

The pieces can be performed individually, but when considered as a set, comparisons between the pieces can be made as well.  Two accomplish their contrasts via stylistic/textural means (II and IV), and two via harmonic differences (I and III). Differnt pairings separate polyphonic (I and IV) from monophonic (II and III).

Instrumentation

I: Piano recommended
II: Trombone recommended
III: Flute recommended
IV: Marimba (Four Mallet, low-A) recommended

The pieces can be performed as a set or individually.  The two keyboard pieces can work on both Marimba or Piano, although I is more comfortable on Piano and IV more on Marimba.  II for trombone could work on any instrument that can fluttertongue, if transposed (transposed scores will be available soon).  III for flute may prove difficult on other wind instruments, even if transposed, but attempts are welcome.