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Poetics for Viola and Double Bass

for Viola and Double Bass

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
14 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts

Poetics was composed during 2012 for Heidi von Bernewitz and Rob Nairn and recorded by them on the Emeritus Recordings CD "The Matrimonial Duos". During 2011, the composer took a short form poetry class with Ann Metlay through the Osher Lifelong Learning Center at Yavapai College. Both the forms and the resulting poems, created by the composer, became the inspiration for the composition. It is suggested that the poems be read before each movement.

I. Pleiades - A pleiades has seven lines with six syllables per line. Each line starts with the same letter. This was translated into a music form by having seven phrases, each with six notes and all starting on the note "A". II. Shadorma - A shadorma has 6 line stanzas where the lines have a syllable count of 3,5,3,3,7,5 respectively. The syllable count was translated into meter therefore creating 3/8, 5/8, two measures of 3/8, 7/8, and 5/8 resulting in 6 measure phrases. III. Triolet – A triolet is a rhyming poem with 8 lines in this pattern; A, B, rhyme with A, A, rhyme with A, rhyme with B, A, B. IV. Bantu - The bantu originated from Swahili speakers therefore incorporating the idea of call and response. The stanzas are couplets where the first line is more metaphorical and the second line more concrete. Call and response between each instrument permeates this movement with alternations of which instrument is the leading voice. V. Cinquain - A cinquain is an American Poem invented by Adelaide Crapsey. It is five lines long and uses a syllable count of 2,4,6,8,2 to determine the line breaks. Three possible variants are mirror 2,4,6,8,2,4,6,8,2; butterfly 2,3,6,8,2,2,4,6,8,2; and reversal 2,8,6,4,2. Mirror and reversal are combined in this poem therefore creating a syllable count of 2,4,6,8,2,8,6,4,2. The syllable count is reflected in the number of notes in each phrase. VI. Gogyohku – A gogyohku is a Japanese poem that does not have a restricted syllable count and is used to record a fleeting moment. The music reflects the two parts of the poem, first the tragedy and second, the prayer.

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