Shadow and Self

By: Matthew Scott Phillips
For: Piano trio
page one of Shadow and Self

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Matthew Scott Phillips
Difficult (Grades 7+)
10 minutes
Modern classical music
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Program Notes: Among the most recognizable of psychological archetypes is the Self; the totality of all the characteristics, perspectives, and personal natures we can introspectively recognize as our own, and the Shadow; the collection of repressed traits, tendencies, and instincts with which we do not identify but nevertheless posses.

While the Shadow is always present, hidden within the details of our awareness, it is rarely observable to the conscious mind. However in times of stress or personal growth the antithesis of our self image can come boiling to the surface. And although it may seem sinister to us, exposure often reveals it as a source of creativity, inspiration, and the keeper of all the honestly simple emotions and drives that we had forgotten.

This composition is a programmatic telling of the emergence and (inevitable?) return to the unconscious of the Shadow Archetype. It is also an exploration of the archetype concept itself: having both a conscious texture, and a subconscious harmonic direction. Its key structure consists of a tonal center, and two “subcenters” which are complete tonal areas in themselves, but are nevertheless part of the greater whole. As the conflict between Shadow and Self progresses, the intervallic distance separating these keys is altered to produce greater dissonance or consonance as necessary to reflect the greater or lesser concord between the divergent aspects of personality.

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