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for flute, guitar, percussion, cello and piano

Year:  2001

Year:  2001

Composer:   Chris Watson

Films, Audio & Samples

Chris Gendall: On Rhythmic ...

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Chris Watson: Derailleurs -...

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Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1-8

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The derailleur is that piece of bicycle componentry which crudely knocks the chain from one sprocket or chain-ring to another, resulting in a higher or lower gear. The sensation experienced on a rider's first encounter with the derailleur is strange: one finds oneself pedalling more or less to cover the same distance, but, once one is aware of the derailleur's benefits, the feeling is one of control over gradient, surface and the elements. The derailleur is directly analogous in music to the phenomenon of metric modulation, a device pioneered in complex forms by Elliott Carter. In derailleurs, metric modulation is used in tutti passages to express ritardando and accelerando with a jumpy, cog-changing precision. Solo sections stand in contrast by allowing individual players the freedom to impose their own subjectivity on the concepts of slowing down and speeding up.

derailleurs was premiered at the Nelson Composers Workshop in 2001. It was awarded First Prize in the Young Composers Competition at 2002 Asian Composers League in Seoul, Korea and received a concert performance by Stroma in Auckland in 2003.

Performance history

07 May 2002: Derailleurs was the Composers Association of New Zealand's entry to the 2002 Asian Composers League Young Composers Competition in Seoul, Korea. The work was awarded first prize by a jury which included Theo Loevendie and Unsuk Chin.

31 Mar 2003: Performance of Derailleurs by Stroma (cond/ Hamish McKeich) in the "Stroma in Auckland" concert at the University of Auckland School of Music.

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