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for bass clarinet, gentle percussion and soundscape

Year:  2005   ·  Duration:  13m
Instrumentation:  Percussion - for any number of players with free choice of instruments. 'Pitches' are suggestive only.

Year:  2005
Duration:  13m
Instrumentation  Percussion - for any number...

John Elmsly

Composer:   John Elmsly

Films, Audio & Samples

John Elmsly: Nocturne - AUDIO

Embedded audio
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Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1-3 of Nocturne

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For several years I had been promising Andrew a new piece for bass clarinet, and previously worked in Vancouver with Barry Truax's POD system to produce some intriguing granulation files derived from notes played by Andrew. These languished unused until 2003 when I heard some wonderful frogs singing in the middle of the night at Chulalongkorn University of Bangkok, and managed to get some recordings. These two sources, plus some transformed temple bell recordings and a mad chorus of police whistles in evening traffic, provided the source material for the soundscape. I began writing the music for bass clarinet around this soundscape. Much of the bass clarinet part is composed using a synthetic scale which is different in each octave. Although the end result is an arbitrary invention which pleased me, the original inspiration came from exploring the relationship between the Thai seven note scale and pentatonic scales. I had originally been thinking that Thai percussion instruments might be appropriate for the percussion part, but have since decided that the any available instruments may be used. The first performance used a mixture of 'junk' percussion (e.g. bowls, cans and flower pots) and bongo drums, but any experiments are welcome.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Andrew Uren

Andrew Uren

Performance history

08 Oct 2005: Performed by Karlheinz Company; Music Theatre, School of Music, Auckland University

22 Oct 2007: Performed by Yasmin Flores (clarinet) and Megan Aube (percussion) at Concert III of the University of Iowa Camerata and CNM Ensemble

Performed by Andrew Uren, Samuel Holloway and John Elmsly

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