Migrating Souls

For: Large mixed ensemble
page one of Migrating Souls

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Migrating Souls


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Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
5 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

This piece was inspired by phase compositions by Steve Reich.

It begins with just the cello playing on the off beats throughout. This is obvious when looking at the score but in a concert setting the aim is to have the audience believe that it is playing on the beat.

Then the viola enters playing a rhythmic phrase lasting for 2 1/2 bars. The difficulty begins when the violin enters. The violin is playing a rhythmic phrase one semiquaver shorter than the viola. This makes the composition constantly change.

When the bass enters it opens up more possibilities. By now the listener believes that the cello is playing on the beat and has some idea of where beat one of the bar is… well this all changes now. The bass begins on beat one (for the performers sake I found it easier to read by inserting one bar of 2/4 time (bar 24) so when the bass come in that’s officially beat one) and continues to play on the beat throughout and the realization that the cello was always playing off the beat kicks in. The bass part, to me, really grounds this piece. It plays a four bar phrase creating another element of constant change when juxtaposed with the viola and violin. At bar 41 flute, bassoon, and clarinet enter with a sparse, soothing yet haunting sound.

All instruments continue in this out of phase setting, constantly evolving, until one by one the strings stop their journey, leaving the wind instruments to end this piece with a quasi Amen closure.

  • Please note that the tempo should be 185. Not 85 as printed in the score.
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