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Seven Archetypes

Extract from Brush.

In several recent pieces I have taken words, my own and those of others, as the generative material for composition, most usually in forming the parameter of rhythm. This is quite common and some composers like Hans Werner Henze regularly embedded this approach into their practice. In two particular works, my Quintet for piano and winds (after Mozart's KV 452) and the string quartet Into the Green Inverted Dawn I used the very letters of poetic texts to generate pitches.

This is more unusual and achieved by mapping alphabetic symbols directly onto a chromatic scale of pitches. A word then can produce not only a fragment of melody, but also a chord, a distinct harmonic object. Conjunctions and connectives provide important moments of repetition that act as a kind of glue between nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs. In fact the very grammar of a sentence can be coloured with particular processes a composer can invent - to act upon words.

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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

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