Self-Perpetuum (And other human afflictions) For wind ensemble, string quartet and piano Ian Percy (2014/15)

Percy, Ian Self-Perpetuum (And other human afflictions) For wind ensemble, string quartet and piano Ian Percy (2014/15). [Composition] (Unpublished)

Text (Original Music Score)
Self Perpetuum A4 Reference Score & Preface DrIPercy.pdf

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This is a single-movement work, composed over a stuttering period of 24 months, that passed through a variety of shapes and identities before settling into this concise form for small chamber ensemble: flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon, horn, trombone, piano and string quartet.

The initial structural idea emerged from previous compositional research using the Fibonacci sequence and Golden ratio to shape pacing, form and proportion. In this piece, individual strands of material are introduced within a progressive cycle-form, working towards a logical conclusion in a crescendo of texture, density and intensity. This crescendo happens one third of the way through the movement, and, from this point on, the material dissolves vertically (and dynamically) across the timbres of the ensemble.

The first third of the piece highlights individual instruments and heterogeneous timbres, through repeating extended linear musical units of melody and counter-melody, set against a ‘pulse in trio’ to create a collective 12-tone language. The latter parts of the score explore the vertical (harmonic) properties and shared (homogeneous) sonorities of the ensemble, within a modal language predominantly featuring shorter musical units of phrase and motif.

Drifting between Gb and natural within a static 8-tone soundworld creates false modulations between Db and Ab Major (Bb and F minor), blurs the tonal centre and accentuates passing modal gestures.

In conclusion, this music is an energetic exploration of the opening material, within virtuosic, but legible rhythms, working through an initial progressive cycle-form, before morphing out of cacophonous crescendo into synchronised polyphonic rhythms, syncopation, canonic gestures, lyrical interludes and a collective soundworld of timbre, harmony, modality and tonality.

The quasi-tonal approach to 8, 9 and 12-tone pitch organisation featured in this work produces a soundworld comparative to that explored through the extended pitch-language of composers such as Debussy, Schoenberg, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky and Copland during the early part of the twentieth century, but the character (and composition) of the music is an obvious product of the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Composition
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Music (up to 30th April 2018)
Depositing User: Ian Percy
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2017 16:23
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2017 16:23

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