De Musica (2024)

Composed for Kitchen Sink
Premiered at the 2024 West Chester University Jazz Festival

Duration: ~ 10 minutes

Chamber Jazz Ensemble

Flute
B♭ Clarinet
B♭ Soprano Saxophone (doubling on tenor)
Bassoon
B♭ Trumpets 1 & 2
F Horn
Trombone

Synthesizer
Piano
Drums
Bass

“De Musica” is based on my exploration of Platonic views on music. In The Republic, Plato discusses his views of music and how music and the arts would function in his perfect society. Plato advocates for the strict regulation of the arts and music as he feels that music that is improper can be detrimental to the functioning of a well-ordered society.

Another author that this piece takes inspiration from is the fifth century writer St. Augustine. In his music treatise, from which this piece takes its namesake, Augustine discusses his views of music and its role in society. Building on the ideas of Plato, he viewed music as a scientific discipline. He believed that music was meant to be studied by scholars and that the performance of music was inherently lesser than its study.

“De Musica” is built around exploring some of these ideas, particularly the move away from musical perfection. The main choral theme of the piece becomes corrupted as the piece progresses. The piece explores the tritone in various forms. In antiquity, the tritone was considered to be one of the ultimate dissonances. The piece does so both through the use of improvised melodic tritones as well as the bitonal dissonance between F major and B major.

Finally, “De Musica” is meant to serve as a vehicle for improvisation. Every member of the ensemble is given the opportunity to improvise through solo sections and moments of group improvisation and aleatory. This piece has featured solos for the drums, trumpet, synthesizer, and saxophone.

Preview score

Performance at the 2024 NOW Music Society New Music Concert by Kitchen Sink
West Chester University

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