Home > Trio > 1) Sonic Theatre I (Fragmented Connexions)

1) Sonic Theatre I (Fragmented Connexions)

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
2 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

Fragmented Connexions explores how the Clarinet, Viola, and Piano can be blended in two ways: first, the instruments are made to sound like one another and second, the instruments are made to work together to form a single united timbre or one three-player instrument.�The work is unified by two common pitch rows (derived from the movement Soundscape) and the rhythms presented in Sonic Theatre I.

Fragmented Connexions consists of seven movements:

Sonic Theatre I




Crystal Line


Sonic Theatre II

The piece can be performed in one of three ways.�First it is possible to perform the seven movements as documented above.�Alternatively, the movement order can be re-arrangedso long as the two Sonic Theatres frame position is retained.�The third method requires a creative approach by the players.�Each movement contains one or more � signs.�Each � denotes the end or beginning of a fragment.�For example, movement 3 (Scherzo) consists of four fragments (bb1-6, 7-23, 24-41, 42-55).�This third way allows the players to break the piece into its individual fragments and recompose the structure to form new movements.�It might be decided that a fragment from another movement is inserted at a given � or that the fragments are completely reassembled.�The two Sonic Theatre movements do not contain any � marks.�That said, they could be broken up in any manner the players see fit and could potentially be used as bridging material as well as framing movements.�When mixing or reassembling fragments, players can reuse individual fragments as many times as desired or exclude them completely, so long as the whole piece lasts between 7 & 15 minutes.�When joining some fragments, players will have to be judicious in their approach to linking them; minor changes can be made to the parts at the join points to accommodate such segueing.�Players should also be careful to consider physical limitations to the re-assembling process such as page turning and the use of special effects that require time to prepare (such as in Soundscape).�A possible way of dealing with the former issue is to photocopy the score and cut and paste it in the desired manner.�

Theatrical Production In live performance a number of theatrical devices can be employed to enhance the audiences experience.�In the following notes some suggestions for lighting and other elements are given.�In the case of a true fragmented performance (version three above), the theatrical design should be adapted to fit the fragmented structure in a suitable manner.

Sonic Theatre I This movement charts the journey from unknown timbres to the known.�The three instruments work in a percussive way, interacting with each other and providing rhythmic textures.�Some of the sounds might be almost inaudible in a performing space and so close miking might be employed.�That said, the theatre is derived from the mismatch between the visual physical activities of the players and the resultant sound.�As the piece progresses, pitches are introduced but still lack the clarity of the traditional timbres of the instruments.�In a theatrical performance the players might be placed behind a screen/curtain and back-lit so their silhouettes are cast for the audience to see.�With amplification and exaggerated movements by the performers the theatrical aspect will be accentuated.�The rest of the stage should remain in darkness with the screen/curtain gradually removed in the closing eight bars.

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