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Hybrid

Overview

This piece, written in the final year of my undergrad, was a response to the first few months of the Covid pandemic. It was one of the last pieces that I wrote in Sibelius before becoming a DAW composer. I recall the feedback from my teacher was to be cautious about writing "pandemic music" as there would surely be a huge amount created during this period. It has been on my list to get performed or recorded, however, I feel that my writing has developed significantly since this work, and the resources needed to achieve a performance could be channeled towards more recent works. A revision is certainly on the cards!

Hybrid

Bubbles

Bubbles (2020)

for ensemble

Programme Note

Bubbles began as a piece that was my response to the 2020 Covid Lockdown. However, it quickly started to represent my thoughts and reflections throughout this period of time. Whilst many of the initial ideas were influenced by various concepts such as bubbles and clusters, how I employed and interpreted them was largely down to my response and reflection of my time studying music at the NZSM during the period of lockdown. Bubbles is the first of a larger collection of work that will effectively conclude and bookend my time as an instrumental vocal composer as I make the switch to composing Film Music and Sonic Arts as my primary genre. Being the opening of a larger work, it was important to set a steady pace and not throw all of my ideas at it at once. As a result, Bubbles has quite a slow arch to the piece, building and losing intensity with the intention to introduce the ensemble and the style of the larger work. As I started to compose, I wanted to incorporate elements of the various pieces that I have written in the past three years of study.


A key concept of the work is repetition and slow evolution – an aspect of music that has fascinated my mind since studying Javanese Gamelan in late 2019. Repeating a single motif to the extreme whilst ensuring that it remains fresh to the listener is a key part of this work that I have explored. Similarly, the way in which various lines fall in and out of sync with each other, whilst remaining locked to the Gedang is an element that I have introduced to this piece. The drums typically hold the grove and in Bubbles especially, the Semiquavers on the ride cymbal, along with the click is what locks together the constant hemeola patterns within the ensemble.


Another aspect of gamelan that I incorporated into Bubbles is the harmonic and melodic restrictions with regarding the notes available. The initial pitches that I composed with were C, E, and B, exploring a semitone relationship between the C and B. Slowly a counter melody is introduced and the remaining pitches of D, F#, G, and A, are introduced. Once these pitches are introduced, they stay relatively constant, with the way in which the various melodies are framed and contextualized being the primary method to explore different colours. The chords begin moving by semitone, then to a tone, then to a major third, and a perfect fourth. This underlying progression takes several minutes to emerge through to the surface of the work. This gives the work quite a step-wise feel harmonically, and in order to counteract this, the melodic material is primarily quite “leapy”. The guitar lends well to these kinds of melodies, as it allows the pitches to sit under the players fingers, yet have a large range between notes.



Instrumentation

Guitar

Electronics

Alto Sax

F Horn

Bb Trumpet

Trombone

Drum Set

Vibraphone

Bass

Guitar

Keyboard

Violin I

Violin II

Viola

Violoncello



Performance Notes

Bubbles is a hybrid piece and is reliant on amplification of the ensemble in order to achieve the best dynamic balance between each element of the ensemble. This will also aid in the cohesion between the electronic and acoustic elements.


Performers require in-ear monitors.


Kit Elements and size: Kick 1 (20’) Kick 2 (20’) Snare (12’x7’) Tom1 (10’) Tom2 (13’) Tom3 (16’) Cymbals and size/quality Hats (10’ medium) Crash 1 (17’ bright) Crash 2 (16’ sizzle) Bell (7’ piercing) Splash (10’) Ride 1 (21’ dry) Ride 2 (18’ sustain) China (19’ standard)


The Guitarist should set up a section with their Nylon Acoustic, and Electric with two tone settings: clean with a reverb and short slapback delay, overdriven with a fuzz pedal.


The Keyboard needs three patches – Recommended to use the Tal Noise Maker -  Vibe-like patch with a long reverb tail (Bongo-room) -  Electric Piano Patch with a short delay a -  Sawtooth Wave

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