- 11' 30"
- I. Skornk; II. Soh; III. Stup
|Score (77k)||Pages 4, 7, and 11-12||© Robbie Ellis|
In phonetics, a sibilant is a type of fricative consonant, or a consonant you can hold by constant airflow. Sibilants are made by placing the tongue towards the sharp end of the teeth and passing air through the small gap – in English, the sibilants we know are ‘s’, ‘z’, ‘sh’ and ‘zh’.
I’ve always felt that the gestures involved in enunciating a word are little different to the gestures involved in sounding a note or playing a phrase on a musical instrument, so why separate them in performance? I came up with three nonsense words starting with the letter ‘s’: “skornk” (pronouncing the ‘r’ quite strongly); “soh” (with the same vowel as in ‘sock’); and “stup” (with the same short vowel as in ‘took’).
The three short pieces are derived from these nonsense words. Skornk is quite brash and boisterous, bringing out a driving, zany quality in the Eb clarinet. Soh is restful, with long and slow-developing phrases that make for a gentle arc in the piece. Stup draws on the rhythms of funk, hip hop and rap, requiring the performer to multi-task as a clarinettist, vocalist and multi-limbed percussionist all at once.
Acknowledgement goes to everyone at the Nelson Composers Workshop, particularly Ross Harris and – of course – the ever willing and ever wonderful Anna McGregor.