Piping Down the Valley Wild


Piping Down the Valley Wild


Piping Down the Valley Wild (2007)

Female Vocal Quartet 

Premiered by “Soprano Quartet Tongue Stuff”, March, 28, 2009 at Rossylin Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London

Tongue Stuff are: Sara Underwood, Morag Galloway, Merit Stephanos and Jen Ord

Duration: 2’

This work was commissioned and premiered by British-based female vocal quartet “Tongue Stuff”. The piece is constructed in tetrameter trochee, according to Blake’s original poetry used here. The main theme is heard in all voices in different ratios of speed. The compositional procedure makes use of “mensuration canon” – a medieval compositional technique revisited by several composers in the past years.

A “mensuration canon” can be described as a mathematical dilation, where each “voice” carries the same melodic line but at a different speed. In some of the early examples of mensuration canons from the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, the melody line is denoted once, along with several time signatures and each musician is expected to perform the line at one of the time signatures. The faster performers might be instructed to repeat their line several times or else the piece might stop short of the slower performers completing the entire melody line.

In “Piping down the valleys wild”, what is expected is four different ‘tempos’ heard at the same time. In this conception, the voice # 4 is the slowest, voice # 1 is the fastest. The overall result is amazing.

Structure:

4……………………………2………………………3…………………………1

very slow            slow                    fast                very fast

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.