New Orleans Counterpoint

For: Large mixed ensemble
page one of New Orleans Counterpoint

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New Orleans Counterpoint


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 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 composition is a combination of modern classical and jazz music i.e. minimalist and aleatory music, in a jazz medium.

The idea is simple. Each musician has three phrases that he/she plays. They can repeat a phrase as long as they want, start a phrase on any beat, as well as stop and start playing at any point. Each part has a different time signature. Therefore, when two or more musicians are playing a chosen phrase it will be constantly evolving. This is the same idea that I used for my composition Migrating Souls only this time there is more freedom. Freedom is the crux of this piece. Because, personally speaking, jazz is all about freedom. Improvisation. Extemporaneous composition. By having the performing musicians decide what phrase to play and when to play it makes the piece more exciting because one performance will never be like another.

The audio clip that I have provided is eight minutes in duration. However, this piece will never be the same duration, as stated earlier, but I do want to point out that it cannot be too short. Performers need to allow each phrase to grow. This composition needs room to breathe. Allow the audience to experience the constantly changing rhythms, cross rhythms, dissonances, tension and release, colour and texture of the music before changing to a new phrase.

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