Selected Score Excerpts of M.O. Abbott


False Heelbone (2016)
for flute, trombone, violin, and contrabass

False Heelbone was composed for a reading session by ensemble mise-en at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in April 2016. The work explores a scheme for musically interpreting the contents of a sudoku. False Heelbone's compositional procedure is very similar to that employed in the composition of Lost Lozenge, and the two can be considered sister pieces. The title is random and meaningless, and the work is completely aprogrammatic.



PSO J318.5-22 (2012-15)
for 12 musicians

PSO J318.5-22 was constructed intermittently over several years for no ensemble in particular, and ended up being premiered to my great delight by Illinois Modern Ensemble in Foellinger Great Hall in April 2015. Systematic procedures were used to develop the pitch and rhythmic material. Considerable manual effort was expended to enhance the results of this algorithm, for example with respect to tempi, orchestration, and dynamics. The title refers to the rogue planet of the same name. In the near future, I plan to revise PSO J318.5-22 for slightly smaller forces.



Palaver (2013)
for 3 musicians

Palaver is a graphically notated score that concerns itself with a systematic presentation of permutations of the set {1, 2, 3}. Any 3 continuous-pitch instruments can perform the piece. Examples of acceptable instruments include violin, voice, theremin, trombone, fretless electric bass, and slide guitar. Each intrument needs to be capable of producing 3 distinct "timbres" or modes of playing, and be capable of switching between them quickly. I encourage performers to use electronic means to assist in creating and managing their timbres.



Transistor (2012)
for voice and piano

Transistor is an art song. The words in the text were drawn unordered from a random word generator and organized into a semi-coherent pseudo-poem that seems like it might mean something, although no precise meaning is intended. The pitch material is manipulated via a quasi-serial scheme employing rotation and additive/subtractive procedures. The setting of that pitch material, and the resultant pseudo-word painting, were conceived intuitively.



Pseudoku Redux (2011)
for piano 4-hands

Pseudoku Redux is a 4-hands expansion of Pseudoku 1, a highly demanding work for solo piano. All of the material from Pseudoku 1 is retained in the expansion. An additional system/layer is imposed to imbue registral variety, which can be treated with considerable flexibility due to the presence of 4 hands. Dynamics and phrasing are added intuitively to highlight the results of the aforementioned processes.



Foretaste (2000)
for solo cello (formerly for solo trombone)

Foretaste is representative of a highly minimalist phase of my early aesthetic development, which occurred while I was an undergraduate studying at Eastman School of Music. The piece was originally intended for solo trombone, but it turns out to work much better on solo cello, as evidenced by Kevin McFarland's memorable impromptu performance of the piece at New Music on the Point in Summer 2015.



For scores, performance materials, or other inquiries,
contact M.O. Abbott via electronic mail:
mo@perspicuity.neomailbox.ch



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